All the great flavours of stuffed peppers, but easier than ever! These Instant Pot unstuffed peppers, AKA stuffed pepper casserole is hearty, comforting and completely and utterly delicious. Perfect for a busy weeknight, or lazy dinner.
This recipe was originally published in February 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
If you love stuffed peppers, but not so much the stuffing part, this is a winning dish!
But with less work! Woo hoo!
Perfect for those lazy days!
What’s an unstuffed pepper?
Exactly what it sounds like. All the ingredients you might typically use for stuffed peppers, but not stuffed. The perfect solution for stuffed peppers without an oven!
Stuffed peppers are often filled with a grain, a protein, some kind of sauce and of course, seasoning.
I’m using brown rice, walnuts for a plant based protein, a combo of broth and tomato sauce for flavour and moisture, plus a few spices for the perfect flavour balance.
That makes this dish, not only vegetarian, but vegan, gluten free and oil free, too.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather your ingredients.
Then slice your mushrooms, peppers and onion, and mince your garlic. (photo 1)
Transfer the cut veggies, your walnuts and the seasoning to your pot. (photo 2)
NOTE: Do not slice your veggies too thin or they will get very soft during cooking.
Gently sauté the veggies until lightly softened, without over cooking. (photo 3)
Then add the brown rice, tomato sauce and broth to the pot and mix well. (photos 4-5)
Pressure cook for 22 minutes with a 10 minute natural release before quick releasing the remaining pressure. (photo 6)
Then serve your Instant Pot unstuffed peppers with some fresh parsley, and enjoy.
What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?
You may easily adapt these unstuffed peppers to a stove top version in a couple of different ways.
Option 1: Sauté your veggies, walnuts and seasoning in a deep skillet. Then add the brown rice, tomato sauce, and 2 cups of broth and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until the liquids are mostly absorbed and rice is tender.
Option 2: Alternatively, if you have a rice cooker, you may cook your rice as usual in your rice cooker. (I recommend using broth to cook the rice.)
Meanwhile, sauté your veggies with the seasoning and walnuts in a separate pan. Then simmer with the tomato sauce for 5-10 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, mix everything together and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. You may make these unstuffed peppers with brown rice, or white rice. However, keep in mind your pressure time. Brown rice takes much longer to cook, so reduce cook time to 4-5 minutes with a 10 minute natural release.
Yes, for wild rice, add 5 additional minutes to the cook time.
Store leftovers in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. You may reheat on stove top, or in your pressure cooker on sauté mode.
You may freeze this dish in an air tight, freezer safe container. However, the veggies will further soften, so it’s best when freshly made.
- Do not slice your veggies too thin. They will cook for a while in the pot, so they’ll withstand cooking best, if they are thick cuts.
- Alternatively, if you prefer your veggies crisp, remove from the pot once sautéed, pressure cook your rice in the broth and tomato sauce, then add the veggies back in and mix well.
- Make sure to push down any loose grains of rice on the sides of your pot before pressure cooking. Everything should be covered in the liquid for even cooking.
- If you already released pressure and forgot to do a 10 minute natural release, just hit sauté and stirring often, continue cooking for 3-5 minutes to absorb excess liquid. Or, set aside for about 10 minutes or so. The rice will continue absorbing the liquid as it rests and cools.
More delicious Instant Pot recipes
- Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles
- Vegan Sloppy Joes (Soup or Sandwich!)
- Vegetable Soup with Quinoa
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes No Drain!
- Mushroom Risotto
- Split Pea + Lentil Soup
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- 1 yellow onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 bell peppers sliced (any colours)
- 8 ounce (227 grams) cremini or white mushrooms sliced (approx. 6-8 mushrooms)
- ¾ cup walnut pieces
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 ¼ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce or tomato purée of choice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1.5 teaspoon chili powder
- 1.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- Turn your Instant Pot to the sauté function and add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to the pot. Place the onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, walnuts and all the seasoning inside. Then sauté for 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Add the remaining ingredients (broth, tomato sauce and rice), mix well and close the lid. Set the valve to the sealing position pressure cook for 22 minutes. (It will take about 8 minutes to build pressure before the pot begins counting down.) Once the timer is complete, let it naturally release for 10 minutes. Then quick release the remaining pressure and remove the lid when safe to do so. Enjoy.