Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa & Beef

These Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Beef make a hearty, healthy meal that’s amazingly delicious and quick and easy to prepare. The whole family will love them!

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One of my key strategies to easy weeknight dinners is making just one dish that has the veggies, grains and protein all in one. A complete meal in one dish.

I seldom make side dishes.

These beef and quinoa stuffed peppers are just that type of dish. Plus, they’re a super healthy dinner recipe. With that quinoa stuffing, you get a boost of protein, iron and amino acids. 

Sliced pepper halves on cutting board.

If you’ve got any quinoa haters in your family, I promise, they’ll barely even notice it in this dish. What they will notice is how cute these little stuffed peppers are with their tasty spices and all that melty cheese. 

Who doesn’t love melty cheese?


These quinoa stuffed peppers are just as good leftover the next day.

Kind of like a great chili recipe, the flavors just mellow out together and they get even better the second time around. I like to make extras to have on hand for lunches throughout the week. These stuffed peppers are perfect for meal prep!

Baked pepper halves on baking sheet.

Ingredients needed

  • Quinoa – try out my method of cooking quinoa in the instant pot
  • Ground Beef – You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Bell Peppers – I prefer to use yellow + red peppers, but green, orange, even poblano peppers work
  • Vegetable Broth – or Bone Broth or Chicken Broth
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion
  • Green Onions
  • Garlic – or garlic powder
  • Canned Black Beans – or kidney beans, pinto beans, or frozen corn
  • Spices – I love to add in smoky spices: chili powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes – I prefer to use petite diced tomatoes. You can also use fresh chopped tomato.
  • Shredded Cheese – I like Monterey jack or substitute your favorite cheese blend, or swap in some vegan cheese shreds to make this meal vegan

How to make them

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Bring vegetable stock (or bone broth) and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, add dry quinoa. Cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can make instant pot quinoa
  • Cook bell pepper halves on a baking tray until softened, about 15 minutes. You can line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  • Meanwhile, saute onions, green onions and garlic. Add the ground beef, spices, and tomatoes. Let cook, breaking the meat apart with a spoon, until browned and cooked through. Add the tomatoes and black beans and warm through.
  • Stir in cooked quinoa, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Fill peppers with quinoa mixture and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
Stuffed peppers in baking dish before cooking and topping with cheese.

Tips to make perfect quinoa

  1. Rinse your quinoa – It gets rid of any bitterness.
  2. Spray your pot (or Instant Pot) with oil – It cuts down on foaming and prevents sticking.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to flavor your quinoa right from the get go.

Recipe FAQs

Do you have to precook peppers for stuffed peppers?

I like to prebake the peppers for about 15-minutes while the quinoa is cooking. This ensures that the peppers aren’t too crunchy and removes any excess liquids from the peppers before stuffing them.

Should stuffed peppers be covered when baking?

With these quinoa filled peppers, I prefer to not cover the baking dish. This ensures that your peppers aren’t soggy, and the quinoa gets deliciously crispy.

How do you make stuffed peppers less watery?

By pre-baking the peppers (cut side down) before stuffing them, you will remove excess liquids from the peppers. Also, by baking the stuffed peppers uncovered, you will ensure that the peppers bake and become crispy, rather than steaming them if they were covered.

Can you premake stuffed peppers?

Yes! They make a great make ahead meal. You can pre-bake and stuff the peppers then cover them and store them in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Cook them in a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until heated through.

Can you freeze stuffed peppers?

Definitely. These stuffed peppers will last in the freezer for up to three months. Simply stuff the peppers and wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them in a baking dish in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until heated through.

Baked stuffed peppers in dish with lime wedges.


  • Vegetarian – You can leave out the meat in this recipe for a vegetarian version.
  • Vegan – Swap in some vegan cheese shreds.
  • Rice – Swap in white rice or brown rice for the quinoa.
  • Corn – Add in some frozen corn kernels for an extra pop of flavor. 
  • Poblano Peppers – Similar to these, you can use poblano peppers instead of bell peppers for a little extra heat. 
  • Toppings – Try topping your peppers with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, hot sauce, greek yogurt, cilantro lime crema, or regular or vegan sour cream. Or, try one of these 10+ sauces for stuffed peppers.

Also, be sure to give my Easy Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Lime Crema a try!

Wine pairings

  • Zinfandel, Malbec and Merlot – Red wines with a hint of sweetness to them tend to pair well with this hearty, spice-forward dish.
Close up of quinoa stuffed peppers with fork digging in.

More quinoa recipes

More ways to cook peppers

What to serve with them

Be sure to check out these 10+ sauces for stuffed peppers too.

Did you try these Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Beef? 

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Southwest Beef & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers make a hearty, healthy, protein packed meal that's amazingly delicious and quick and easy to prepare.

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa & Beef

These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Beef make a hearty, healthy, protein packed meal that's amazingly delicious and quick and easy to prepare.
4.98 from 38 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring vegetable stock (or broth) and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, add quinoa. Cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook it in the Instant Pot (see notes). 
  • Arrange the pepper halves on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until softened , about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, green onions and garlic, cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked.
  • Add in beans and tomatoes and let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Fill peppers with quinoa mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 minutes. Serve with lime wedges on the side.


Have an Instant Pot? Try cooking your quinoa in there! It’s my favorite way to cook quinoa now. Find the simple instructions here
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 226mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2748IU | Vitamin C: 200mg | Calcium: 276mg | Iron: 3mg

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51 thoughts on “Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa & Beef”

  1. These look divine! I’ve been wanting to try stuffed peppers for so long & have yet to. So I finally put these on my dinner list for the week! I do have a question tho, can I skip the tomatoes or do they give great flavor? My husband hates tomatoes (I know, he’s cray!). Or can you barely notice they’re in there in case I do sneak em in?

    • I barely notice the tomatoes Amy – Does he not like tomato sauce either? If he does, you could just sneak in a bit of tomato sauce instead of the tomatoes. Otherwise, go ahead and leave them out entirely. They should be fine without the tomatoes, but they may be a bit more dry.

      • Thank you for the reply! He likes tomato sauce, juice, soup, etc. He just doesn’t like the texture of tomatoes. So I’ll put them in, I’ll just put them in my chopper first 🙂 Can’t wait to make them this week!!

  2. 5 stars
    Do you think these would hold up well as a freezer meal? Would you prepare as described then freeze before you bake the last 10 mins?

    • Hi Kristin – You can make and freeze the peppers in advance. Freeze the unbaked peppers (without cheese), then thaw them in fridge for 24 hours. Bake the peppers once thawed. Add 5 minutes to the cooking time, then add the cheese as above.

  3. 5 stars
    these were amazing-I used Pepper jack rather than Monterey Jack. Also added black beans to the meat mixture which was good also. I had enough filling for 7 peppers halved. What a great recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh, my goodness! I made these peppers for dinner tonight and they were delicious! I didn’t have all of the exact ingredients, so I made substitutions. My husband and I are vegetarians, so I used Morning Star Farms veggie crumbles instead of hamburger; a leek instead of green onions; mild cheddar for the Monterey Jack; and turmeric instead of cumin. So darned yummy and filling! I have enough leftovers for another meal. This was our complete, well-rounded meal tonight, along with a kosher dill pickle, lol. Fiber; a complete protein, healthy veggies; calcium; lots of vitamins and minerals; and healthy fat in the olive oil. Buon cibo!!

  5. 5 stars
    Made these for the first time tonight. My husband (and I) are raving about the flavor! Looser and tastier than my traditional stuffed peppers. They were easy to make too. Next time I’ll add corn and maybe black beans. Thanks so much!

      • 5 stars
        I never really reply to these threads but I always use black beans and corn. I’ll make a giant batch for a party and do 2 sheet pans. I bake them right together so it’s almost like a casserole.

        To add to the quinoa cooking tips. I was taught by my Philippino grandmother to put a clean kitchen towel over the pot after the boil and put the lid back on. Then turn off the heat. In twenty minutes with no peeking you have perfect quinoa rice or any other long grain. The towel absorbs the extra condensation so things don’t get soggy.

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious! The quinoa added an earthy goodness that was tasty and filling. I’m so glad that it made so much that I’ll have portions to take for lunches! My husband ate the leftover filling out of the container! Thank you for this recipe, we will use this for beef tacos!

  7. Erin — if substituting black beans for beef in this recipe, do you need to cook or heat the beans at all before stuffing the peppers? Thanks! Anne

  8. 5 stars
    Made these for dinner tonight. Meat version for my husband and just substituted the ground beef for black beans. Was sooo delicious!!!

  9. 5 stars
    Really great and easy! Loved the flavor combination. I have a kiddo who can’t eat the peppers so I kept some filling aside and she had it in lettuce wraps! Worked like a dream! Thanks so very much!!

  10. Hi Erin, I made these tonight. Your recipe calls for 3/4 cup of quinoa, but you don’t mention whether you mean cooked quinoa or not. 3.4 cup of dry quinoa would be 2 1/4 cup of dry quinoa. I used 3/4 cup of cooked, which after watching your video, I’m thinking I could have used more. Would you kindly specify so I’ll know when making them again. I’m sure I will. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Robin – Thanks for pointing this out! The quinoa is uncooked (and cooked in step 1). I’ve updated the ingredients list to make that more clear! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. 5 stars
    This is definitely a delicious meal – so east to make! First time last night, next time will be within a week! I made it exactly the way suggested, I always do the first time ….. love the kick it has and the only thing I will try adding is some jalapeños! I also made some using sweet baby peppers and will do this for appetizers for our next party!

  12. 5 stars
    I’ve never left a review on any recipe page before… But gurrrllll you deserve 5 starts for this one. I love Sam’s Clubs stuffed peppers and I have made about 6 varieties trying different recipes. Yours hit it out of the park. BONUS…. MY HUSBAND LOVED THEM TOO. He’s a picky eater! He likes to add a dab of sour cream on top.
    Thank you for this recipe!!!!

  13. 5 stars
    These taste so yummy! Making these for dinner tonight and looking forward to see what my son’s reaction is as he thinks that a meal without meat is not a meal. I had some leftover filling and I’m eating it out of the bowl! This was so easy to put together and I will definitely be making it again.


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