As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
These easy vegan stuffed peppers have a Southwest-inspired filling with spicy tomato rice and beans for a hearty, healthy, and super satisfying meatless meal!
Hearty Vegan Southwest Stuffed Peppers with Rice and Beans
Vegan stuffed peppers are an extremely budget-friendly meal you can enjoy any time of the year – like quinoa stuffed peppers, pesto rice stuffed sweet peppers, or these Southwest stuffed peppers. Combining simple pantry ingredients like rice, beans, and taco seasoning, these Mexican stuffed peppers are loaded with flavor, fiber, and protein to keep you full for hours while remaining 100% meat-free.
They’re really simple to make, too. Just cook the filling, par-cook the peppers, assemble, and bake. They’re ready in under an hour, packed with flavor, wonderfully filling and satisfying, and perfect for serving as a side or main at a weeknight dinner or on special occasions. Even better, we’ve included several ways to cook the peppers (including baked and air-fried) and several optional add-ins to experiment with in this versatile recipe.
These vegan stuffed peppers with rice are also perfect for weekly meal prep, ready to reheat, and top with all your favorite taco toppings when needed for a low-fuss lunch or dinner. You might enjoy these stuffed tomatoes or mushrooms, too.
The Ingredients and Substitutes
This vegan stuffed peppers recipe relies on simple and inexpensive pantry staples and common produce.
- Bell peppers: Use any colored bell pepper: red, orange, yellow, or green (listed from sweetest to most bitter). It’s best if they’re a similar size and are able to stand upright.
- Rice: We used uncooked brown rice for this version. Using other rice or quinoa is possible. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Onion: We usually use white or yellow onions, but red onion also works.
- Tomatoes: For the best flavor, use a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, though regular canned chopped tomatoes will work, too.
- Water: For more flavor, use vegetable stock (regular or reduced sodium).
- Beans: Use any two cans of beans (regular or reduced sodium). We used black beans and kidney beans.
- Seasoning: To make this taco stuffed peppers recipe as simple as possible, we use a packet of pre-made taco seasoning with additional chili powder.
What Else To Add to Stuffed Peppers?
- Parsley or cilantro: (optional) to garnish the Tex-Mex stuffed peppers. Green onions will work, too.
- Garlic: Add 1-2 garlic cloves to cook with the onion.
- Vegan cheese: Mix some into the rice filling or sprinkle it over the top when baking. For a subtle ‘cheesy’ flavor, use nutritional yeast.
- Corn: We love pairing these Southwestern flavors with corn (¼ – ½ cup).
- Other vegetables: Boost the nutrients in this vegetarian stuffed peppers recipe with peas, sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, shredded broccoli, or spinach.
- Soy mince: To boost the protein in these vegan stuffed peppers further, add to or replace about a cup of the rice with soy mince sauteed with the seasoning and beans.
- Nuts/seeds: To add crunch, protein, and heart-healthy fats to the vegan stuffed bell peppers. I.e., pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
If you add to the filling with veggies/soy, you will end up with some leftover filling.
How to Make Vegan Stuffed Peppers
- 1) First, peel and dice the onion and heat a large non-stick pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and brown rice and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions soften and become translucent.
- 2) Add the canned tomatoes, 2 cups of water (or stock), and chili powder, then cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the rice is slightly al dente.
- 3) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/175C and cut the top off of each of the bell peppers, removing the seeds.
- 4) Place the peppers in a large pot of boiling water and boil for 3-4 minutes or until they’re beginning to become tender.
Alternatively, transfer the peppers cut-side-down to the oven, spray them with a little oil, and bake for 10-15 minutes to soften them. Adjust the amount based on your desired final texture (i.e., crisper vs. more tender).
- 5) Transfer the beans to a non-stick pan with the taco seasoning and 3 tbsp of water. Mix well, then add the cooked rice mixture, stirring, and cook until the beans are warmed.
- 6) Finally, divide the Mexican rice and bean mixture between the bell peppers and bake them, with their tops, in the oven for 10-15 minutes before leaving them to cool for a few minutes and serving with your favorite toppings.
Taco stuffed peppers will, unsurprisingly, pair with all your usual favorite taco toppings, like:
While it’s not necessary, the peppers can remain overly crisp without doing so. The amount you pre-cook them will determine how tender they become. Note overbaking can cause them to become soggy/collapse.
Slice the peppers in half before par-cooking and stuffing them, and you’ll have delicious half portions.
Follow the recipe as written, doing the final ‘baking’ in an air fryer at 350F/175C for about 6-8 minutes. Add vegan cheese in the last 2-3 minutes if you’re using it. You could also par-cook the peppers in the air fryer first (rather than boiling them) for 5 minutes.
What To Serve With Stuffed Peppers?
We’ve been known for enjoying one of these vegan stuffed bell peppers alone. But when you want an even heartier meal, why not pair it with:
How To Make Ahead and Store?
We love how make-ahead-friendly these meatless stuffed peppers are. You can prepare just the rice and bean filling 3-4 days in advance OR assemble the peppers up to baking. Then refrigerate them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
Once fully baked, allow any leftovers to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for a further 3-4 days.
You can reheat an individual portion in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or bake multiple peppers at 350F/175C for 15-20 minutes. You can also cook them from frozen for between 50-60 minutes.
More Southwest Vegan Recipes
- Sweet Potato Burritos
- Vegan Black Bean Tacos [2 Ways]
- Plant Based Street Tacos with Lentils
- Vegan Bean Quesadilla
- Vegan Chilaquiles [Rojos or Verdes]
- Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Photos by Alfonso Revilla
Southwest Vegan Stuffed Peppers
- 1 cup of uncooked brown rice
- 1 cup of diced onion
- 1 (14-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 cups of water + 3 tablespoons of water divided
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 (1.25-ounce) packet of your favorite taco seasoning
- 4 large green bell peppers
- In a large non-stick pot over medium-high heat, add brown rice and onion. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften and become translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, 2 cups of water, and chili powder to rice. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and let cook until water is absorbed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).
- While rice is cooking, cut tops off of bell peppers and remove seeds. Place the peppers in a large pot of boiling water. Let boil until the peppers become light green, and soft. Remove from water and place the peppers in a small pan.
- Place beans in a non-stick pan, add taco seasoning, and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix well, and add cooked rice mixture. Continue to cook until beans are warm.
- Scoop rice and bean mixture into bell peppers. Place them in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with your favorite taco sauce or salsa.
Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.