Dinner, Gluten Free, Healthy, Stove Top, Vegan

Vegan Italian Stuffed Peppers with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Sunflower Basil Pesto

I think these vegan Italian stuffed bell peppers are my new favorite dinner… Sweet blistered bell peppers stuffed with a flavorful risotto style sun dried tomato rice, chickpeas and topped with the easiest toasted sunflower basil pesto. They’re easy to make, packed with veggies and so delicious!

vegan Italian stuffed peppers with sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower basil pesto

In the past, I’ve stayed away from stuffed peppers because in my experience, the peppers end up kind of watery which makes the filling soggy. Overall, not too much texture or flavor. These stuffed peppers, however completely changed the game. Instead of baking everything together in the oven, the sun dried tomato rice comes together on the stove with chickpeas and herbs while the peppers cook in the oven. This way, the peppers are perfectly soft with just the right amount of char when it comes time to fill them.

Probably my favorite part about these vegan Italian stuffed peppers: the sunflower pesto. Instead of pine nuts, I like to use toasted sunflower seeds. They’re always my go to for delicious nutty pestos and add such an interesting flavor. This one is super easy, everything comes together in a blender or food processor. Also a bonus—like the rest of the dish, it’s vegan!

vegan Italian stuffed peppers with sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower basil pesto

How to Make Vegan Italian Stuffed Peppers

  • The first thing you want to do is get the bell peppers in the oven so they can cook while you make the rice. Just use a sharp knife to cut the peppers in half and remove any seeds. Place them in a baking dish and toss with some olive oil, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. These go in the oven until they’re tender and lightly charred— about half an hour. My peppers were extra big and beefy so they took almost 40 minutes.
  • For the rice, start by sautéing the shallot until caramelized. Add in the rest of the aromatics, sun dried tomatoes and herbs along with the rice. I like to toast the rice for a few minutes before deglazing the pan with a little white wine. Make sure you stock is warm, I measured it out before hand and popped it in the microwave for a few minutes before adding it to the pot. Bring everything to a boil and cover. Cook the rice for about 20 minutes. Stir at 15 minutes and if it seems like the rice isn’t cooking, it probably needs more warmed stock.
  • While the rice cooks, make the pesto. Simply combine everything in a high speed blender until smooth. I like to use toasted sunflower seeds to add that extra nutty flavor, you can do this by dumping the seeds in a skillet over medium low heat and toasting until fragrant and golden brown. They burn easily so keep an eye on them!
  • Once everything is cooked, pour out any water that has accumulated at the bottom of the pepper then fill with rice. Spoon over the sunflower basil pesto and serve fresh with vegan feta. Enjoy!
vegan Italian stuffed peppers with sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower basil pesto

Other Recipes To Try

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Yield: 6 servings

Italian Stuffed Peppers with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Sunflower Basil Pesto

Italian stuffed peppers with sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower basil pesto

These Italian inspired stuffed peppers are loaded with a risotto style sundried tomato rice, chickpeas and topped off with the best sunflower basil pesto. Vegan, nut free and easy to make!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 3 large red bell peppers, halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups warm vegetable stock
  • 1 28 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp salt

For the sunflower basil pesto

  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 5 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt + more to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Place the peppers in a large baking dish with the rounded side facing down and rub with 2 tbsp olive oil plus a pinch of salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until tender and beggining to char.
  3. Meanwhile, make the rice. Heat a large lidded pot over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. When shimmering, add the shallot and sauté for about 10 minutes, until just begining to caramelize.
  4. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, sundried tomatoes and rice. Cook for 5 more minutes before adding the wine to deglaze the pan. Allow the wine to absorb for a few minutes, then add the stock, chickpeas and salt.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring ocassionally. If the rice seems dry, add another 1/2 cup of warm stock.
  6. To make the pesto, add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. If the pesto seems to thick, add another tbsp of olive oil. Taste for salt and add more as needed.
  7. To assemble the peppers, spoon about a cup of rice into each and top with the sunflower basil pesto. Serve fresh.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 stuffed pepper

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 560Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2388mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 14gSugar: 14gProtein: 19g

All nutritional information is an estimation

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