MEDITERRANEAN TURKEY STUFFED PEPPERS
These Mediterranean Turkey Stuffed Peppers are high on the flavor charts but relatively low calories and carbs. These peppers will not only satisfy your tastebuds, but your hunger, too! I love the combination of seasoned ground turkey, lemon parsley quinoa, and goat cheese. It’s one of those things I can eat all week and not get sick of (perfect for meal prep). The kids gobbled these too, believe it or not! Make these vegan using spiced chickpeas and vegan mozzarella 😉 You might also like my Italian Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers!
Did you know? One medium-sized red bell pepper provides a whopping 169% of your daily Vitamin C, making it one of the richest food sources for this essential nutrient! (source)
For the peppers, try to grab the largest you can find! You can slice them in half either horizontally or vertically, and I’ve gone back and forth, but I think slicing them vertically makes the halves more even. Just be sure to set each pepper on it’s side first to find it’s natural “base” that doesn’t tip. Next, carefully cut out the white center plus seeds and discard. Rinse each pepper half to get out any remaining seeds. This process can feel a little tedious, but just think of how tasty these are going to be!
I do suggest pre-roasting the peppers while you’re preparing the turkey and quinoa (15 minutes or so at 400 degrees F). This prevents the filling from getting overly cooked in pursuit of a tender pepper.
For the ground turkey (or ground chicken), I recommend buying “naturally raised,” “organic,” or at the very least “free of antibiotics.” “Naturally raised” means that the birds were not administered hormones or antibiotics, and were fed a vegetarian diet (i.e, not other chicken parts). The labels “natural” or “all natural” only mean the end product is minimally processed and doesn’t contain artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives. “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.
If you can’t find or afford naturally-raised or organic poultry, still avoid poultry (and other meats) raised with antibiotics. Animals raised with antibiotics either were sick themselves, or in crammed, unsanitary quarters with other sick animals. Traces of antibiotics may also be present in the end product, interfering with our own immune function!
To prepare the turkey, brown it with the onion and season with garlic powder, sweet paprika, rosemary, dill, cumin (optional), and cinnamon (optional). A little salt and pepper add so much to any savory dish. Feel free to swap dried spices for three times as much fresh chopped, or the two teaspoons of garlic powder for four minced cloves! After adding your spices, dump in a can of diced tomatoes and let everything simmer about 5-10 minutes. Fresh diced tomatoes with half a cup of chicken or vegetable broth will also work!
For the quinoa, simply prepare according to the package directions, combine with the turkey mixture in a large bowl, and add some fresh parsley and lemon juice. You can also use couscous or rice if you don’t like quinoa!
Finally, it’s time to get to working stuffing your pepper halves! The best way to do this is to spoon the turkey quinoa mixture into each pepper half while holding it over the bowl. Really pack it in there! Last but not least, top each pepper half with one tablespoon of crumbled goat cheese. You can also use crumbled feta, Parmesan, or vegan mozzarella! Or, omit the cheese if you don’t care for it – they will still taste awesome.
This recipe is full of flavor, boasts a full serving of veggies, and is balanced in protein, carbs, and fat. In short, it’s a keeper!
Here’s the printable recipe for these Mediterranean Turkey Stuffed Peppers! I’d love for you to rate and comment below if you try them 😉
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Mediterranean Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- 6 large bell peppers
- 24 oz. 93% lean ground turkey* or ground chicken or beef
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 2 tsp. garlic powder* or four minced garlic cloves
- 2 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary* or dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt optional
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin optional
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon optional
- 1 3/4 cup (15-oz. can) diced tomatoes*
- 2 cups cooked quinoa* or rice, couscous
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 3/4 cup goat cheese crumbles* optional
*See above for substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash peppers and cut in half (if slicing vertically, first set each pepper on its side to determine its natural “base”). After cutting in half, carefully cut out seedy white center, rinsing to remove any remaining seeds.
- Arrange peppers cut-side-up on a baking sheet lined with parchment or lightly coated with cooking spray.
- Roast peppers in preheated oven for 15 minutes (you will cook them more once stuffed), then remove from oven to cool.
- Meanwhile, brown ground turkey with onion in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add spices and diced tomateos; sauté over medium-low heat 5-10 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
- In a small saucepan, prepare quinoa without butter or oil according to package directions.
- Combine ground turkey mixture, prepared quinoa, lemon juice, and parsley in large mixing bowl.
- Spoon ground turkey mixture into each pre-roasted pepper half, pressing down and filling to the brim, then place each stuffed pepper on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake stuffed peppers in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes more, until peppers are quite tender.
- Top each stuffed pepper half with one tablespoon of cheese if desired, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container up to one week.
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