This Mediterranean Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Beef skillet dinner is so easy to make, doesn’t involve baking and makes for a great family meal. Taste is very similar to my Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers recipe, just this one is a little bit of a shortcut for busy nights:).
While my preference on recipes is on family hand me down recipes, I have to admit that some of my best creations are sometimes on refrigerator clean up days. Those days I pretty much throw together what’s left in order to prepare for next grocery shopping trip.
Seeing as I always buy tomatoes, peppers, onions and herbs this was not a difficult dish to put together.
What are the best peppers to use for this dish?
The best peppers are the ones you have on hand. Usually I use bell peppers in a variety of colors. This last time, I had one green bell pepper and half a bag of mini peppers. You need about three cups of roughly chopped peppers.
When it comes to spicy peppers, you can definitely add them to this dish but keep in mind than maybe not everyone can eat spicy. Or you’ll have to do some taste testing to figure out the proper level of spiciness as it will vary greatly based on peppers used.
This is a very customizable dish. You can actually tweak something each time you make it based on ingredients you have on hand. This is just a guide to get you started:).
- variety of peppers
- ground beef
- red onion
- crushed tomatoes – I prefer to blend soft tomatoes, but if you don’t have any tomatoes on hand a can of crushed tomatoes will do as well.
- tomato paste
- flat leaf parsley
- rice – usually white rice, traditionally medium grain but long grain would work too.
- crushed red pepper – alternatives paprika, cayenne or aleppo pepper!
Pro-Tip: You can make the dish vegan by not including ground beef and increasing slightly the quantities of rice, parsley, tomatoes and onions.
Step by Step Process
Skillet dinners are meant to be fast. When I was a teenager and had to help cook dinner when my parents were working late, I remember doing all the prep ahead of time then cooking. However, as I gained confidence in the kitchen, I prep as I go. This really does save time when cooking this dish.
Here’s how you can visualize the process to make this dish.
- Saute onions and garlic in olive oil.
- Add thawed ground beef and brown while mixing.
- Add chopped peppers and cook with beef.
- Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Add all the herbs and seasonings.
- Add rice and mix well together. Add water or broth, cover when it’s bubbling and let cook on low for 10 minutes or so.
Here are some of my additional tips for cooking this unstuffed peppers with ground beef.
- Feel free to adjust water or stock quantity you add to this dish. Adjust a little bit depending on how much juice the tomatoes had or the peppers themselves. Usually I eyeball added water quantity.
- You can add more flavors to this dish for example taco seasoning to give it a Mexican spin or cheese on top and broil it for a Southern flavor.
- You can use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Use a deep skillet to accommodate all the ingredients.
- Refrigerate leftovers for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Heat up the leftovers in a skillet or microwave.
How do you serve this recipe?
Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Beef
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1.25 lbs ground beef
- 3 cups chopped peppers use variety of colors
- 14 oz crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 bunch Italian parsley chopped, divide 2-3 tbsps for garnish at the end
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ cup medium grain rice
- 1.5 cups water or beef stock
- Chop onion and mince garlic. Place skillet in medium heat on the stovetop. Add olive oil and once it is shimmering, add chopped onion and minced garlic. Saute until translucent.
- Add ground beef and use a wooden spoon to separate it and brown while mixing it so onion doesn't burn as you are browning the beef.
- Once beef is browned, add chopped peppers. You can roughly chop them. Continue cooking until peppers are soft, stir often so nothing sticks at the bottom.
- Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. If you'd like the dish to be redder in color increase the quantity of tomato paste by an extra tablespoon. Mix well.
- Add oregano, salt, pepper and chopped Italian parsley (reserve some parsley for garnish at the end). Stir to incorporate.
- Add rice and beef stock. If the dish looks dry, increase the quantity of the stock a little bit. Adjust for taste and consistency. Lower heat to simmer and cover the deep skillet. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Turn heat off and let dish cool for a little bit. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy:).
- This dish usually yields 6 servings for my family, but I have 2 kids so if you’re planning to feed all grown ups, this is more like 4 adult servings.
- If you use beef stock instead of water, you’ll get a more pronounced flavor. However, water will work if you don’t have any stock. It just helps to cook the rice!
This is a custom I have from growing up in the Mediterranean. We saute the onion first then brown the meat. I have realized since living in US that most people brown the beef then add the vegetables. So I hope this is something you can adapt the recipe to your liking!!
You don’t have to cook them separately. Just follow the order in the recipe card and the peppers will cook to perfection.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please save the below image to your boards in Pinterest so you can easily retrieve the recipe later. Let me know in comments if you have any questions or just to let me know how the recipe turned out. I would really appreciate a rating since it usually helps to get the recipe seen by more people.
Feel free to check out these additional recipes from my blog:).