Rice And Vegetable Enchilada-Stuffed Peppers Recipe

If you're looking for a delicious and nutrient-packed twist on traditional enchiladas, try these vegetarian rice and vegetable enchilada-stuffed peppers. In this colorful dish, recipe developer Annabelle Randles combines rice, roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, and bell peppers, all smothered in a spiced, tangy, homemade enchilada sauce and topped with melted cheese and fresh cilantro. If you prefer a vegan option, you can simply swap the cheese for a plant-based alternative, as everything else in this recipe is vegan.

Fun to make and even more enjoyable to eat, the peppers can be served as individual portions, either whole sliced or in half. To make this dish even more visually appealing and entice picky eaters to try it out, Randles recommends using a variety of bell peppers in different colors such as red, yellow, orange, or even green. Whether you're in need of meat-free inspiration or simply want to spruce up your meal rotation, this is an ideal family-friendly recipe. Served with a simple green salad, these enchilada-stuffed peppers make a tasty and hearty meal bound to please adults and children alike.

Gather the ingredients for rice and vegetable enchilada-stuffed peppers

To make these rice and vegetable enchilada-stuffed peppers, you will need 6 medium bell peppers for stuffing, as well as sweet potatoes, cooked rice, black beans, corn, fresh tomato, onion, garlic, and sharp cheddar cheese to put inside. The enchilada sauce comes together with tomato paste, vegetable stock, vegetable oil, all-purpose flour, hot chile powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Finally, grab some fresh cilantro for garnish.

Step 1: Turn on the oven

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Step 2: Prepare the bell peppers

Prepare the bell peppers: Cut off the caps and discard the internal seeds and membranes.

Step 3: Chop up the pepper caps

Discarding the stems, dice what's left of the bell pepper caps and set aside for later use.

Step 4: Prep the sweet potatoes for roasting

Add cubed sweet potatoes and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a sheet pan, toss to combine, and spread out in an even layer.

Step 5: Roast them until golden

Roast sweet potato in the oven until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.

Step 6: Start making the enchilada sauce

Meanwhile, make the enchilada sauce: Add 1 tablespoon oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat.

Step 7: Whisk in the flour

When the oil is shimmering, reduce heat to medium and whisk in the flour until browned, about 30 seconds.

Step 8: Add the herbs and spices

Whisk in the chile powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Step 9: Stir in vegetable stock and tomato paste

Stir in the vegetable stock and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking from time to time, until reduced to just over 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Step 10: Reduce the oven temperature

Remove sweet potato from the oven and reduce temperature to 400 F.

Step 11: Start making the enchilada filling

Make the enchilada filling: Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and onion to a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook until onion is soft, about 6 minutes.

Step 12: Add the chopped bell pepper, tomato, and cumin

Add reserved diced bell pepper caps, diced tomato, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin. Cook until peppers start to soften, about 3 minutes.

Step 13: Stir in the remaining filling ingredients

Stir in the rice, roasted sweet potato, black beans, corn, grated garlic, cilantro, and 1 cup grated cheese.

Step 14: Stir in the enchilada sauce

Add enchilada sauce and stir until everything is well combined.

Step 15: Season to taste

Remove from the heat and season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Step 16: Arrange the peppers in a baking dish

Place bell peppers cut side-up in an 8x8-inch baking dish.

Step 17: Stuff the peppers

Fill peppers with rice mixture.

Step 18: Cover and bake

Cover baking dish with foil and place into the oven to bake until peppers are soft, 40-45 minutes.

Step 19: Sprinkle on the cheese

Remove foil and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top of each bell pepper.

Step 20: Finish baking the peppers

Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Step 21: Garnish and serve

Sprinkle peppers with extra chopped cilantro and serve right away.

Can I make stuffed peppers ahead of time?

Yes, these enchilada-stuffed peppers can be made ahead. Simply prepare the peppers, rice filling, and enchilada sauce, then let the rice mixture cool down before stuffing the peppers as directed in step 17. Place the stuffed peppers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you're ready to eat, simply bake them according to step 18. Since the stuffed peppers will be going into the oven from a colder temperature, remember to add a few extra minutes to the baking time.

This recipe is also freezer-friendly. Once stuffed, wrap each pepper individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Just remember to thaw the peppers completely before baking them.

If you're looking to save more time with this recipe, you could use store-bought enchilada sauce, but Randles recommends making your own per the recipe instructions because it's cheaper, delicious, and allows you to customize the flavor. The sauce can be prepared up to 4 days ahead and kept refrigerated in an airtight container. 

Can kids help make stuffed peppers?

Absolutely! As a mom and former after-school cooking instructor, Randles says this is one of many great recipes to make with kids. "Cooking is an essential life skill that children can benefit from learning at a young age," she shares. "It helps develop positive eating habits, boosts their creativity and confidence, and, with hectic family schedules, provides an opportunity for quality bonding time."

In this recipe, younger kids can help out by tossing the sweet potatoes in oil (either with their hands or using spoons), arranging the peppers in the baking dish, spooning the filling into each pepper, and sprinkling the cheese and fresh cilantro on top. Older kids can assist with washing and prepping the vegetables, such as peeling the sweet potatoes and scooping out the seeds and membranes from the peppers, while adults handle the knifework.

Rice and Vegetable Enchilada-Stuffed Peppers Recipe
No Ratings
Rice, beans, and veggies make these peppers nutritious and filling, while a spiced, tangy sauce and cheesy topping adds comforting, enchilada-inspired flavor.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
1.42
hours
Servings
6
servings
enchilada-stuffed peppers in baking dish
Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 6 medium bell peppers
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tomato, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup canned corn, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Black pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Prepare the bell peppers: Cut off the caps and discard the internal seeds and membranes.
  3. Discarding the stems, slice what's left of the bell pepper caps and set aside for later use.
  4. Add cubed sweet potatoes and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a sheet pan, toss to combine, and spread out in an even layer.
  5. Roast sweet potato in the oven until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the enchilada sauce: Add 1 tablespoon oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat.
  7. When the oil is shimmering, reduce heat to medium and whisk in the flour until browned, about 30 seconds.
  8. Whisk in the chile powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  9. Stir in the vegetable stock and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking from time to time, until reduced to just over 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  10. Remove sweet potato from the oven and reduce temperature to 400 F.
  11. Make the enchilada filling: Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and onion to a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook until onion is soft, about 6 minutes.
  12. Add reserved diced bell pepper caps, diced tomato, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin. Cook until peppers start to soften, about 3 minutes.
  13. Stir in the rice, roasted sweet potato, black beans, corn, grated garlic, cilantro, and 1 cup grated cheese.
  14. Add enchilada sauce and stir until everything is well combined.
  15. Remove from the heat and season to taste with more salt and pepper.
  16. Place bell peppers cut side-up in an 8x8-inch baking dish.
  17. Fill peppers with rice mixture.
  18. Cover baking dish with foil and place into the oven to bake until peppers are soft, 40-45 minutes.
  19. Remove foil and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top of each bell pepper.
  20. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
  21. Sprinkle peppers with extra chopped cilantro and serve right away.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 466
Total Fat 22.8 g
Saturated Fat 9.0 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 43.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 51.1 g
Dietary Fiber 9.6 g
Total Sugars 11.5 g
Sodium 578.9 mg
Protein 17.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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