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This brightly colored and flavorful stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef and spinach is such a well-rounded meal and easy to make ahead. You can make a couple days ahead for the week or freeze for another day. Stuffed Peppers Recipe with Beef

Growing up my mom made stuffed peppers as a special meal. It always seemed like so much work to end up with mushy green bell peppers stuffed with deliciousness. I enjoy crisp fresh bell peppers, but cooked like that, not a fan. My kid mind thought we could have made them without pepper and I’d have been happy plus my mom would save time. Win-win, right?

But here’s the thing with stuffed peppers (and life), you grow up and learn you need that exterior to make the rest of it the best it can be. Just like that stuffing won’t develop full flavor without being cooked inside the pepper, you can’t know the beauty of slowing down and taking time to enjoy the process of life if you haven’t experienced the hurry.

It’s easy to get lost in the hurry of life. When I start feeling scattered and like everything is imploding around me, I know it’s time to take a step back and just be. To create instead of check off lists. I’m not very crafty but preparing food is my creative outlet. It grounds me. Centers me. Helps me focus on the here and now.

Taking time to make stuffed peppers also gives me time to think. I can really start to hate cooking when it’s just by rote “hurry up and slap food on the table.” Somewhere in life we lost the value of slowing down and savoring life – a hug, silence, sitting down around the family table to enjoy a meal.

Stuffed peppers with ground beef and spinach is a great dish to take time to create a meal without taking too much time. It allows us to enjoy the bright colors and flavors of life (and food). Creating wholesome delicious meals doesn’t need to be a guilty pleasure or rushed checklist. To carve space out to enjoy life. 

Stuffed Peppers Hamburger and Onion

What kind of meat should you use?

You can use whatever type of ground meat you prefer. I like to use 90-95% fat free ground beef in this recipe. If you’d like to use ground meat with a higher percentage of fat, feel free to. Just remember if you drain off the fat you are also draining off some of the meat’s flavor.

Stuffed Peppers Hamburger Mixture with Fresh Spinach Leaves

Can you use frozen spinach?

Feel free to use frozen spinach if you like. However, frozen chopped spinach tends to have a stronger flavor so keep that in mind if you’re trying to introduce this “green stuff” into your family’s diet. If you can find whole spinach leaves frozen that can also work well, but will also be a little stronger.

You can also skip the spinach if you like but this recipe is a great way to  ease it into your family’s diet. If that’s the case, I would use fresh spinach if possible.

Stuffed Peppers Beef with spinach sauce and rice

What kind of rice should you use? 

You can use your favorite kind of rice. Brown rice will have a slightly heartier texture and flavor but this is a great recipe to introduce it to your family’s diet -either by swapping out white rice or using half white/half brown. 

Can you skip the rice?

You can totally skip the rice if you’d like. Just keep in mind that rice bulks up the dish so the mixture will not go as far without it. Rice also makes it more filling. 

If you’d like, you can swap it out for riced cauliflower or cooked quinoa.

Stuffed Peppers

What kind of peppers can you use?

The most common peppers to use are bell peppers. You can use green bell peppers if you’d like a heartier bite to your pepper. However, if you want to go with a slightly sweeter pepper, use a red bell pepper. If you want to go a little outside the box with a somewhat spicier pepper, you can use a poblano pepper. 

Stuffed peppers with Cheese

Can you skip the cheese?

You can totally skip the cheese if you want to make this dairy-free. You can also use a cheese substitute or use whatever cheese you have on hand. Mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Colby work great. 


Spinach and Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers

This brightly colored and flavorful stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef and spinach is such a well-rounded meal and easy to make ahead. You can make a couple days ahead for the week or freeze for another day.

  • Author: Heather L McCurdy
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Entree


  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 2 lb. ground meat
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 (24-25 oz.) jar pasta sauce*
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella


  • Cook rice per instructions on package. I usually make 2 cups dry rice so there is leftover rice.
  • While rice is cooking, fill a large pot 2/3 full with water and set over high heat to boil.
  • Wash peppers and half lengthwise. Carefully remove stem and seeds.
  • Heat a large frying pan or wide bottomed pan with higher sides on medium/high heat.
  • Chop onion and mix ground meat, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley and add to heated pan.
  • Fry until meat is almost cooked through.
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Meanwhile, when water comes to a boil in large pot, put pepper halves in it and blanch for 3 minutes.
  • Fill a bowl with ice and water.
  • Put blanched peppers in it to cool for 3 minutes.
  • When meat is almost done cooking, roughly tear up spinach leaves and add to meat mixture, cooking a few more minutes until the spinach is wilted.
  • Add 2 cups cooked rice and sauce to meat mixture and mix in well.
  • Stuff peppers and place in 9 x 13 baking dish or 2 smaller dishes.
  • Spread mozzarella over top.
  • Cover dish and bake 30 minutes.
  • Take cover off and bake another 10 minutes to crisp tops a bit.


  • Use low sodium and/or no sugar added pasta sauce or cook crushed tomatoes down a bit to remove some extra liquid to lower sugar and sodium.
  • Serves 6 adults at 2 halves each.

Another favorite stuffed pepper recipe with fresh crispy bell peppers.

Stuffed Peppers Recipe with Beef & Spinach

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  1. I made it, the recipe says cook time is 40 minutes. However in the directions it says bake 30 minutes covered plus 30 minutes uncovered…. that totals 60 minutes baking. Something is amiss.

    1. You would be right that something is amiss. That would be a typo!I am sorry for the confusion. Thank you for taking the time to point it out. It should say “Bake an addditional 10 minutes.”

  2. Oh can’t wait to try red peppers. I also went to your link on making your own chili powder. I must say that I am completely in awe. I have never thought about it and the sieve is perfect. Thanks for the ideas and keep it up! Love it and thanks again:

    1. Thank you. The sieve was my troubleshooting because I got so tired of feeling like I was getting nowhere. I love to enjoy the experience not mess around with frustration. Homemade chili powder has such a fresh flavor. I can’t even buy it pre-made now and I bought a smaller mortar and pestle just to make pepper products, haha! I stalked Home Goods until I got a killer deal.

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