ITALIAN GROUND TURKEY STUFFED PEPPERS
This recipe for Italian Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers is my favorite stuffed pepper recipe! It has bold Italian flavors, melty cheese, a full serving of veggies, and plenty of protein to keep you full for hours. I just love stuffed peppers – I’ve made a Mediterranean version and a Taco version too! These recipes can easily be made keto by doubling the amount of meat, or vegan by swapping out the ground turkey for crumbled tempeh or vegan sausage and using dairy-free mozzarella. The possibilities are endless!
Did you know? More and more studies indicate that a higher protein diet (0.5-0.7 grams per pound bodyweight) is superior for maintaining a healthy body weight (source). Obesity carries numerous risks: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancers, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, gallbladder disease, fertility issues and pregnancy complications, just to name a few. In light of the nation’s obesity epidemic, anything that helps one maintain a healthy weight is worth noting!
What kind of meat to use?
If making these peppers using ground turkey, choose lean ground turkey (or chicken) that’s “organic,” or at least “free of antibiotics.” Organic poultry must be both naturally raised and free range (having access to pasture). Their feed also has to be certified organic – free of GMOs, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers.
Animals raised with antibiotics either were sick themselves, or in crammed, unsanitary quarters with other sick animals. Not to mention, the use of antibiotics may have implications for our own immune function.
The labels “natural” or “all natural” only mean the end product is minimally processed and doesn’t contain artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives.
Preparing the bell peppers
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the recipe! Start by washing peppers and slicing in half lengthwise. Carefully cut out the white seedy core with sharp knife (see below), then wash out any remaining seeds. Arrange pepper halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Pre-roast my peppers at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes to prevent the stuffing from getting over-cooked.
Cooking the rice (and substitutes)
While peppers are roasting, cook your rice according to package directions (or use double meat for keto). You can also use farro, couscous, or quinoa! You’ll want to cook enough to yield one and a half cups.
Preparing the turkey
Now, brown ground turkey with onion and garlic until no pink remains. Add your tomato sauce and spices, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Any of the dried spices can be swapped for three times as much fresh and vice versa.
Baking the stuffed peppers
Once cooked, combine the rice with the ground turkey mixture in a large mixing bowl and divide between pre-roasted bell pepper halves with a spoon. Really pack the mixture into those peppers as they will be quite full! Bake stuffed peppers for another 15-20 minutes until peppers are tender. Finally, top with cheese and bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted and golden brown. Mmm!
If you’re dairy-free, these can be made without the cheese or with vegan mozzarella shreds. These keep up to a week in the fridge so they made a scrumptious meal prep option!
Here’s the printable recipe for these Italian Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers! I hope you’ll rate and or comment below if you try it 😉
Italian Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- 6 large assorted bell peppers
- 1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice* or quinoa, buckwheat or farro
- 2 lbs. 93% lean ground turkey*
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1-15 oz. can organic tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley* chopped
- 2 tsp. dried basil*
- 2 tsp. dried oregano*
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt optional
- 3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese* optional, can use dairy-free
*See above for substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise, then cut out core (carefully) and scoop out seeds, rinsing if needed.
- Arrange cut-side-up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (optional) and pre-roast for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring 3/4 cup rice and 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then cover and simmer until grains are tender. Drain excess water and set aside.
- Cook ground turkey with onion and garlic until browned and no pink remains.
- Add tomato sauce and spices to turkey, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Combine cooked rice and ground turkey mixture in a large mixing bowl, then divide between pre-roasted bell pepper halves.
- Bake stuffed peppers for 15-20 minutes until tender.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese on top and bake a final 5-10 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy!
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container up to one week (I have not tried freezing them).
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