Chickpea and Cauliflower Vegan Stuffed Peppers
These vegan stuffed peppers with chickpeas and cauliflower are perfect for a vibrant and wholesome weeknight dinner that’s bursting with fresh, wholesome ingredients. Serve them with a 5-ingredient vegan cheese sauce as a main course or a side dish!
There’s a range of dishes that remind me of summer and warm days. Stuffed peppers is for sure one of them. They’re super vibrant and, despite their warming and comforting qualities, taste super refreshing. If you love eating plenty of produce, stuffed peppers are pretty much the perfect option for you. But even if you think you’re not the biggest fan of vegetables, these may change your mind!
Right, I won’t ramble on for much longer because it’s time to discuss these stuffed peppers that I hope you will love as much as I do! They’re also a great meal prep option for work or school.
Vegan stuffed peppers with chickpeas and cauliflower
As I said, these stuffed peppers are a great way to eat more vegetables, even if you’re not a fan of eating salad. They’re packed full of whole food ingredients and you will be surprised at to just how simple they are – but after all, oftentimes it’s the simple recipes that are the tastiest.
Let’s discuss the chickpea and cauliflower filling. It’s definitely tasty enough to eat by itself, so sometimes I make a little bit extra to use in other recipes or just eat as it is with a side salad and a sauce such as chunky guacamole. The veggies included in the recipe are onion, zucchini, carrot, and cauliflower. You can, however, add any other vegetables of your choice to switch things up a little bit.
The chickpeas make the dish filling and add some plant based protein. Everything is cooked in a simple tomato sauce that is infused with spices to create an amazing flavor profile. Add the filling to bell peppers, bake, and you’re good to go!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Rice of your choice. I typically use Basmati or Jasmine rice, but you can also use a wholegrain rice variety.
- Olive oil for cooking the vegetables.
- Vegetables: celery, zucchini, red onion and cauliflower. Feel free to add other veggies of your choice depending on what you have in the fridge.
- Bell peppers. Choose quite large bell peppers just so that it’s easier for them to hold the filling.
- Canned chopped tomatoes. You can also use fresh tomatoes if you wish.
- Spices: cumin, paprika, and garlic powder.
- Tomato paste.
- Chickpeas. You can either use canned, or cook your own from scratch.
- Dried oregano.
- Soy sauce or tamari. For a soy-free version, you can use coconut aminos.
- Garlic paste. You can also use fresh chopped garlic.
How to make the yummiest vegan stuffed peppers
First, cook the rice according to packaging instructions. This usually takes around 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse when done.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and add the celery, zucchini, red onion and cauliflower. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Next, add the chopped tomatoes, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, tomato paste, chickpeas, dried oregano, soy sauce and garlic paste. Cook for another 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Use this time to prepare the peppers by cutting off the tops and removing the seeds and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Also, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Add the cooked rice to the filling and stir together well. Now divide it evenly between the peppers and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the filling is golden.
When the peppers are almost done, you can start making the vegan cheese sauce as described below.
Vegan cheese sauce
I also made a delicious vegan cheese sauce to go along with the stuffed peppers. It requires just 5 ingredients to make, and you can quickly prepare it when the peppers are almost done cooking. The ingredients you need are:
- Coconut milk from a can. Use full fat for this recipe, as reduced fat coconut milk doesn’t thicken as well.
- Vegan cheese. Use a variety that melts well.
- Cornstarch. This is for thickening the sauce. You can also use tapioca flour.
- Turmeric. This is optional, but great for adding color.
Simply add all the ingredients to a saucepan and whisk continuously until the sauce thickens. Serve it with the stuffed peppers, or with other recipes of your choice, such as vegan sheet pan potatoes and tofu.
Serve these with the vegan cheese sauce, or any other sauce of your choice. It can be as simple as a drizzle of tahini with lemon juice, ketchup, tahini, or mashed avocado. You can also try them with vegan sour cream, or spicy cashew cream. Eat them by themselves (this option works the best as a starter or side dish) or add a side such as a quick salad.
Storing and freezing vegan stuffed peppers
Stuffed peppers keep very well in the fridge and can taste even better the next day! Store them in an airtight container for 4-5 days and reheat as needed. I actually love eating them cold, too.
They are also freezer-friendly. After freezing, let them thaw for 8 hours/overnight and then reheat in the oven at 180 degrees C (350 F) for around 10 minutes, or in the microwave.
Tips and substitutions
- Make sure to leaven them in the oven for long enough! I know that it’s easy to get impatient, but 35-40 minutes will allow them to soften properly.
- To make this dish gluten-free, simply use tamari rather than soy sauce, or a pinch of salt.
- Make the cheesy sauce right as you’re about to serve the peppers, because leaving it aside for too long will interfere with the cheesy texture.
- Quinoa or cooked lentils work as a good substitute for the rice.
- Add any other spices of your choice, and adjust the amounts depending on your preference.
Other vegan dinner ideas you’ll love
- Try out sesame peanut tofu for a quick and flavorful dinner.
- My lentil burgers are great for a summertime dish!
- Stuffed cabbage rolls are easy to make with accessible ingredients.
- Make gnocchi soup with kale in around 20 minutes!
- Vegan mushroom risotto is great for a cosy weeknight dish.
Let me know in the comments: what’s your favourite stuffed pepper filling? If you give these chickpea and cauliflower vegan stuffed pepper a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below together with a star rating!
Get the Recipe: Chickpea and cauliflower vegan stuffed peppers
For the stuffed peppers
- 1 cup rice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1 cup zucchini
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 4 cups cauliflower, florets
- 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 10 large bell peppers
For the vegan cheese sauce
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup vegan cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Non-stick frying pan
- Baking tray
- Conventional oven
- Cook the rice according to packaging instructions. This usually takes around 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse when done.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and add the celery, zucchini, red onion and cauliflower. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, tomato paste, chickpeas, dried oregano, soy sauce and garlic paste. Cook for another 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Use this time to prepare the peppers by cutting off the tops and removing the seeds and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Also, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add the cooked rice to the filling and stir together well. Divide it evenly between the peppers and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the filling is golden.
- When the peppers are almost done, make the vegan cheese sauce. In order to do this, add the coconut milk, vegan cheese, cornstarch, salt and turmeric to a saucepan over a medium heat and stir continuously for around 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens.