Looking for a quick and easy dinner? These Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers are just the thing! These Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers are filled with cheesy brown rice and lentils which means they're a perfect healthy dinner recipe. Just 10 minutes in the Instant Pot, and dinner is done.
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There's something about a self-contained meal that I find so adorable.
Like soup served in a "bowl" of crusty sourdough bread, or, I don't know, a salad stuffed into a pita, where the "container" gets eaten up along with the rest of the meal. These Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers fit the bill perfectly!
An easy and delicious vegetarian main dish that's packed with healthy whole grains and plant-based protein is something of a dinner time holy grail in my books. But add in an adorable edible package in the form of a sweet bell pepper, and my word we have achieved dinner time nirvana.
I nearly jumped with joy when I realized you could make stuffed peppers in the Instant Pot. That's right, folks, just ten minutes at high pressure and these Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers are perfectly tender.
All you need to do is sprinkle the tops with cheese, transfer to a serving dish, and voila! Dinner is done.
No Instant Pot? No problem. There are oven-baking instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
What's in these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers?
This recipe is made with simple, wholesome ingredients that you very likely already have on hand. Here's what you need for your stuffed peppers:
- Bell Peppers --> Choose any colour you like. I went with red and yellow.
- Brown rice --> I make this as part of my weekly batch cooking.
- Lentils --> I used black beluga lentils, but any firm, brown lentil will do.
- Grated cheese --> Go for a nice, sharp cheddar.
- Tomato paste --> This adds so much flavour.
- Yellow onion --> A nice little guy.
- Celery --> For a little bit of crunch.
In order to make Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers, you're gonna need an Instant Pot or other brand of electric pressure cooker. I have this 6-Quart Instant Pot (<-- affiliate link) and it is a work horse in my kitchen.
How to make stuffed peppers
You will find detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but for now let's walk through it step by step.
Step 1: (above) Using a sharp knife, slice the tops off of your peppers. Remove the seeds from the inside, and carefully cut out the ribs.
Step 2: (below) In a large bowl combine the brown rice, lentils, 1 cup of the cheese, tomato paste, onions, and celery. Stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper.
Note: I did not cook the onions or celery prior to adding them to the stuffing mixture. They do steam and soften as the peppers cook, but if you prefer a more mellow oniony flavour, feel free to sauté the onions and celery prior to adding them to the stuffing mix.
Step 3: (below) Place the trivet into your Instant Pot, and add one cup of water.
Step 4: (below) Add the four bell peppers into your Instant Pot, standing cut side up on the trivet.
Step 5: (below) Fill your peppers with the stuffing mixture. I find the easiest way to do this is to remove one pepper at a time, pack it full of stuffing, and return it to the Instant Pot.
Step 6: (below) Place the lid on your Instant Pot and set for Manual / High Pressure for 10 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
When the cooking cycle is complete, flip the valve to "venting" and quick-release the pressure.
Step 7: (not pictured) Sprinkle the tops of the peppers with the remaining cheese. Place the lid back on the Instant Pot (you don't need to seal it) for about 2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
Step 8: Carefully remove the stuffed peppers from the Instant Pot. You can either gently lift them out with tongs, or carefully remove the entire trivet.
Transfer the stuffed peppers to a serving dish, and dig in!
*You may find that the peppers slump over (see below) and / or split open a little bit. They are still perfectly delicious in this state.
Pro tips / recipe notes:
This is a very quick and easy recipe to pull together if you have pre-cooked the lentils and brown rice ahead of time. I like to cook whole grains and legumes in bulk as part of my weekly batch cooking (related: Batch Cooking for Beginners).
I cooked the brown rice in the Instant Pot using these instructions for Instant Pot Brown Rice, and it worked out perfectly.
I prefer to cook my lentils on the stovetop, and I find they turn out best in a pot of gently simmering water with the lid slightly ajar. For this recipe I aim to have them perfectly tender, not mushy, but honestly, it doesn't matter much once the peppers are cooked.
You can also use canned lentils (drained and rinsed well) to save time if you prefer.
I have only tested this recipe with brown rice and lentils, but I think it would work out perfectly fine if you subbed in another whole grain or legume. For example, I can see quinoa and black beans being delicious here as well.
Want to make Vegan Stuffed Peppers? You've got two options. 1) Simply remove the cheese from the recipe. In this case I would double the tomato paste to add a bit of extra moisture. 2) Replace the cheese with a vegan cheese substitute of your liking.
Can I make these in advance?
You sure can. You can either make the filling and stuff the peppers and then refrigerate until you are ready to cook them in the Instant Pot, or cook the peppers as directed and then re-heat when you're ready to eat. I have found the microwave to be the best tool for re-heating these stuffed peppers.
I don't have an instant pot
No problem - just snuggle the stuffed peppers into a casserole dish, carefully pour the water into the bottom, cover tightly with foil, and bake at 350°F for one hour, or until the peppers are tender.
Looking for more inspiration? Be sure to check out these 20 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
- 4 large bell peppers
- 2 cups cooked brown rice From 1 cup uncooked
- 1 cup cooked lentils From ½ cup uncooked
- 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese divided
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 medium celery stalks diced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by slicing the tops off of the peppers. Using a sharp knife, remove the ribs and seeds from the inside.
- In a large bowl mix 2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 cup cooked black lentils, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup tomato paste, the diced onion, and diced celery.
- Mix well, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the trivet into the Instant Pot insert, and add one cup of cold water.
- Place the peppers into the Instant Pot, resting on the trivet.
- Remove one pepper from the Instant Pot, and fill with the rice stuffing. Really pack it in there.
- Once filled, return the pepper to the Instant Pot, and repeat with remaining peppers.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and seal. Ensure the valve is set to "sealing".
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual / High Pressure for 10 minutes.
- Once the cooking cycle has completed, flip the vent to "venting" and quick release the pressure.
- Remove the lid, and sprinkle the peppers with the remaining half cup of cheese. Replace the lid onto the Instant Pot for 2-3 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
- Carefully remove the peppers from the Instant Pot using tongs, or lift the trivet out carefully.
- Transfer to a dish, and serve immediately.
Oven Baking Instructions
- Place the stuffed peppers into a casserole dish.
- Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the dish, and then tightly cover with foil.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes at 350°F, or until the peppers are tender and the filling is hot.
- Uncover, add the remaining cheese to the tops, and allow it to melt in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
- Note: I did not cook the onions or celery prior to adding them to the stuffing mixture. They do steam and soften as the peppers cook, but if you prefer a more mellow oniony flavour, feel free to sauté the onions and celery prior to adding them to the stuffing mix.
- You may find that the peppers slump over (see below) and / or split open a little bit. They are still perfectly delicious in this state.
- Want to make Vegan Stuffed Peppers? You've got two options. 1) Simply remove the cheese from the recipe. In this case I would double the tomato paste to add a bit of extra moisture. 2) Replace the cheese with a vegan cheese substitute of your liking.
- To make the stuffed peppers in advance, you can either make the filling and stuff the peppers and then refrigerate until you are ready to cook them in the Instant Pot, or cook the peppers as directed and then re-heat when you're ready to eat. I have found the microwave to be the best tool for re-heating these stuffed peppers.