Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers Recipe

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Hands down the best Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers recipe ever, easy, hearty and healthy made with wild mushrooms and arborio risotto rice. Meatless, cooked in a San Marzano tomato sauce, can be finished on the stove top, in the oven or even your crock pot.

Best Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

You guys, I’m just here to talk about what is the best meatless stuffed bell peppers recipe of all time! I swear on my saffron, they are irresistibly delicious finished with a drizzle of dairy-free sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Super easy to make, can be prepared a couple of days in advance on the stove top or oven and the leftovers individually frozen for a chili day. Is there anything out there that even comes close to a hearty home cooked meal like this? Me thinks not!

Best Stuffed Peppers in Tomato Sauce, Vegetarian Italian Style

Ingredient Notes

  • The Peppers – the different color bell peppers are loaded with sweet flavors and nutrition and their shape makes them quick and easy to stuff.
  • Arborio Rice – Because i had some leftover from a lemon risotto i made; also it’s so creamy and comforting and really makes a great pepper filling. For a healthier option you can swap the risotto rice for quick cook brown rice without sacrificing any flavor, the texture is still light and fluffy.
  • Meatless + healthy – this recipe is 100% plant based, stuffed with rice and flavorful wild mushrooms. You could also use chopped up rehydrated soy curls, smoky tempeh, crumbled tofu or beyond Italian sausage instead of ground up animals like chicken, beef or pork sausage filling. Quinoa, couscous, barley, farro, beans and even lentils could be used in the filling.
  • The Broth – it’s made with San Marzano tomatoes and vegetable stock. The best way to cook stuffed bell peppers truly is in all that flavorful tomato sauce, because nobody likes a dry stuffed pepper. If you like lots of broth / sauce in your bowl make sure to add some extra water to the pot and cook this recipe more like a stuffed pepper soup.

Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers


  • Dutch Oven – depending on the size of your biggest dutch oven pot you can fit 7-8 bell peppers, enough to feed at least 4 hungry people.

Can you freeze Italian vegetarian stuffed peppers?

Yes you can definitely freeze them in individual freezer proof lidded containers surrounded by the broth. Remember to thaw them out in the refrigerator the night before reheating.

Best Stuffed Peppers Recipe

What to serve with stuffed peppers?

Best Italian Stuffed Peppers Recipe made with Wild Mushrooms and Arborio Risotto Rice

Best Stuffed Peppers Recipe
4.91 from 11 votes

Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Hands down the best meatless stuffed bell peppers recipe. Pure vegetarian, easy and healthy made with mushrooms and risotto rice instead of ground chicken or meat, cooked Italian style in a San Marzano tomato sauce. Bring out your biggest dutch oven for this one!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 20 minutes


  • 7-8 medium size bell peppers mixed colors
  • 1 cup risotto rice (or quick cook brown rice)
  • 1 lb mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion -diced
  • 3 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs thyme -leaves only
  • 8 sprigs thyme -whole
  • 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 28 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes -whole in tomato puree
  • 1/2 qt vegetable stock -seasoned to taste
  • 3 leaves bay
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt (optional for serving)
  • 1 tsp sea salt + more to taste
  • black pepper -to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 375" F or just cook them all the way on the stovetop.
  • Rinse the peppers and cut the tops, empty the seeds and membrane. Reserve the clean tops as you’ll need to place them back on top after you fill the peppers.
    7-8 medium size bell peppers
  • Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add a layer with juices to the bottom of a large enameled cast iron pan.
    28 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes

Make the Filling

  • In a large saute pan heat up the olive oil and saute the onion with a pinch of sea salt until softened and translucent. Add the fennel seeds + a pinch of chili flakes for heat if desired.
    1 medium onion, 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 3 tsp fennel seeds
  • Stir in the mushrooms and cook until wilted and almost all moisture has evaporated. Stir in risotto rice and let cook together for about 5 minutes stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme leaves, parsley, 1 teaspoon sea salt, pepper and paprika and mix well together. Remove from heat.
    1 cup risotto rice, 1 lb mushrooms, 8 sprigs thyme, 1 tsp sweet paprika, 1 tsp sea salt, black pepper, 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Stuff each pepper with the rice mixture ¾ of the way up (very important not to over stuff them). Put the tops back on, just to make sure the stuffing will stay inside..
  • Arrange the peppers in the pot on top of the tomato layer. Pour in the vegetable stock and the remaining crushed tomatoes making sure it comes all the way up the sides of the peppers and slightly covers them. (Add some water if need be to barely cover the peppers)
    7-8 medium size bell peppers, 1/2 qt vegetable stock
  • Add the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with its lid and either finish cooking on the stove top or transfer the pot to a preheated 375"F degrees oven for 1 hour.
    8 sprigs thyme, 3 leaves bay
  • Remove the pot of stuffed peppers from the oven very carefully and allow it to sit covered for 10 min before serving.
  • Serve with a drizzle of sour cream and garnished with fresh parsley and thyme.
    1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt

Crock Pot / Slow Cooker Method

  • Follow the recipe above and add the peppers to a large slow cooker making sure they are covered in broth. Cook on low for 6 -8 hours or until tender and the rice is cooked through.


  • Serve the stuffed peppers warm surrounded by the broth they were cooked in and drizzled with dairy-free sour cream or greek yogurt.
  •  If you happen to have any rice mixture leftover after stuffing the peppers, just spoon it in the pot around the peppers to cook together.
  • storage - the cooked bell peppers can be frozen in individual freezer proof lidded containers surrounded by the broth. Remember to thaw them out in the refrigerator the night before reheating. 


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 771mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 4158IU | Vitamin C: 152mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: stuffed peppers, vegetarian
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 229kcal
Author: Florentina

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  1. 5 stars
    My absolute favorite stuffed peppers recipe, this reminded me of my childhood as soon as they started cooking and the aromas flowing throughout my home. Made great use of some risotto rice I had in a jar and now I will make it this way from now on. You’ll definitely need some bread to clean up the sauce, so so so delicious, thank you for sharing tour recipe with us!

  2. 4 stars
    Made these tonight! I added cannellini beans and spinach to the rice mushroom mixture to add protein. I had to put it back in because the peppers were still crunchy. Overall great flavor!

  3. It needs more cooking time and/or higher heat. The peppers weren’t quite cooked enough and the risotto was definitely not cooked enough. The flavors were good. I used dried seasonings instead of fresh and added garlic powder.

    1. Try using higher heat Amanda. What is to my stove medium heat could mean low heat on other stoves. Same goes for ovens, I have made recipes in different ovens and I had to adjust timing almost every time. But once you got it down you’ll be a pro every time. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Hi! I made these tonight for dinner and the flavour was incredible. However, I live in a very small town that doesn’t sell risotto rice. I used basmati rice instead. In your directions it didn’t state to cook it first, and mine came out crunchy. Do you think that’s because I used a different rice?

    1. Hi Jenny, all rice cooks a little bit different so It might be that It needed to cook a little longer. Also, make sure you start timing it only after it reaches a nice simmer and not before. Hope that helps for the future 🙂 ~Florentina

  5. We made these stuffed peppers and they truly are the best. I combined chicken and wild mushrooms in the filing and the favors were amazing. A keeper for sure.

  6. 5 stars
    every Italian cell in my old body expands when I read a recipe such as you just shared with us. we buy our organic fruits, vegies and chickens, from our Mennonite family friends, all colored sweet peppers included, and we have our own gigantic herb garden, crowded with lovely herbs. we use herbs in most of what we eat, including oatmeal in the morning. will definitely have stuffed CF peppers in the coming days.


    1. Hi Ricco, I just pictured everything you just described and it sounds like heaven! That is living right. Please report back on the peppers, hope everyone loves them as much as we do!

  7. 5 stars
    Totally love stuffed peppers. They are such a great one dish meal, and you can stuff them so many ways. They make awesome leftovers too. I love to make lots and freeze them. Perfect to take out on busy days and still have a great meal.

  8. 5 stars
    Love everything about this recipe, but my heart skipped a beat at risotto rice cooked in San Marzano tomato broth. Sounds wonderful!

    1. I know what you mean, I used to not like the green peppers, so I’d always beg to get a red one at the dinner table or I wouldn’t eat. I know, I was trouble hehe

    1. Thanks Neli, hope you try them. I’m about to make a vegetarian batch of peppers just stuffed with wild mushrooms and rice. i’m so excited! ~ Florentina