First of all, how beautiful is this casserole? So often casseroles end up looking kind of bland, even though they taste incredible. There’s a reason we do so many casserole recipes here on 12 Tomatoes, after all. But this Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole is both delicious and colorful. Plus, it couldn’t be easier to throw together for a quick weeknight meal.
If you’ve ever had stuffed bell peppers, then you know how flavorful the dish is. Plus, it has an amazing crunchy texture to it that I just love. And let’s not forget about the cheese. The one downside to traditional stuffed peppers is that they can be kind of tricky to eat. That’s where the casserole version comes into play.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey – or ground chicken or lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 cloves garlic – minced (about 1 tablespoon)
12 ounces frozen chopped spinach – thawed with as much water squeezed out as possible
1 red bell pepper – cored and diced
1 green bell peppers – cored and diced
2 cups water
1 can 15-ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
1 8-ounce can no salt added tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked brown rice – rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese – use Monterey jack or mozzarella for a more mild flavor; or swap in additional cheddar
For serving: chopped fresh cilantro or parsley; Greek yogurt
In a Dutch oven or similar deep, sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium high. Add the turkey and onion. With a wooden spoon or spatula, break the meat into small pieces. Cook and stir until it is browned and fully cooked through and the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.
Add the Italian seasoning, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach. With a fork (or very carefully with your fingers) break apart the clumps so it’s fairly evenly distributed with the meat. Add red and green bell peppers, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and rice. Stir to evenly combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let cook 30 minutes. Uncover and stir, scraping up any rice that is beginning to stick. Recover and continue to simmer until the rice is tender, about 10 to 15 additional minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Don’t worry if it’s still a little liquidy. It will continue to thicken and the liquid will further absorb as it sits. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then recover.
Let sit off the heat 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the rice is tender (it will still have a little bit of chew, which is normal for brown rice, but it should not be crunchy). If you’d like the top golden, place the dish, uncovered, under the broiler for a minute or two (watch carefully to ensure the top does not burn). Serve warm, sprinkled with fresh cilantro or parsley.