Ground turkey stuffed peppers are a great twist on a traditional stuffed pepper recipe. This easy stuffed peppers recipe features ground lean turkey, nutrition-packed quinoa, tomatoes, and warm spices, plus a little feta cheese for some tang. Make the stuffing ahead to save time, then stuff and bake for a colorful family pleasing weeknight dinner everyone will enjoy.
Along with baked turkey meatballs, here is one of my favorite ground turkey recipes. This savory stuffed peppers recipe makes a great dinner with just a leafy green salad dressed with an easy lemon vinaigrette. Make the turkey mixture ahead of time, then stuff and bake the peppers when you want to eat.
Why You'll Like This Recipe
- Make the turkey filling ahead 2-3 days ahead of time if desired or make and freeze.
- Great if you meal prep.
- Choose whatever color bell pepper you like, or use them all.
Ground turkey stuffed peppers shopping list:
- Ground turkey: Buy the 93% fat/protein level for more flavor and moisture. If all you can get is the 99%, you might want to add a little fat, such as olive oil.
- Quinoa: A good whole grain choice for stuffed peppers. Use either white quinoa or tricolor quinoa.
- Fresh bell peppers: Stuffed green bell peppers might be traditional but red, orange, and yellow colored peppers are fun. Choose peppers that are smooth-skinned, richly colored, and heavy for their size. Brighter colored peppers have more nutrition and a sweeter taste. For how to choose peppers see note below. Red bell peppers have the sweetest flavor.
- Olive oil: A little healthy, flavorful fat for sautéing your aromatics.
- Onion: For flavor and moisture, choose brown, yellow, or white onion.
- Garlic: Fresh is preferred but garlic powder works too.
- Ground cumin: Adds aromatic warm flavor.
- Ginger: I use the jarred ginger puree but you can use dry ground ginger. Also a warming spice.
- Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes are easy to have on hand. If using fresh diced tomatoes, add broth or tomato sauce to make up for the canned juices.
- Fresh herbs: Chopped parsley adds garden flavor and nice color.
- Cheese: I prefer real Greek feta (sheep and goat milk) for the flavor and tang but a a cow's milk feta works too, or crumbled goat cheese. For no-dairy, omit the cheese.
Please see the recipe card for measurements and details.
Substitutions and Variations
- Meat options: In place of ground turkey, try ground bison, lean ground beef, or ground chicken for chicken stuffed peppers.
- For a vegan version or vegetarian version, use cubed and browned tempeh or extra firm tofu that you can crumble and try this vegan cheesy sauce recipe to top the peppers. Omit the cheese if desired.
- Don't like quinoa? Use cooked rice instead. Here is the best way to cook brown rice.
- Want a no-grain version? Use cauliflower rice.
- For Italian stuffed peppers use grated mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese, swap the spices for dried Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.
- For Mexican stuffed peppers, swap feta for cheddar cheese or Monterey jack cheese, use fresh or dried oregano, add a little coriander and ancho chili powder. Top with sour cream and chopped cilantro. For heat, add chopped jalapeno pepper.
- Swap turkey for ground beef or ground bison.
First decide whether the stuff the peppers are the shape for stuffing standing or cutting in half and stuffing laying on their sides. The photos show standing stuffed pepper with the tops sliced off. If the quinoa is not cooked, do that while you are prepping the vegetables.
Chef's tip: Make ahead ground turkey stuffed peppers. To save time, prepare the turkey filling ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze it. Stuffed pepper filling is good for 3 days stored in an airtight container when refrigerated. If you freeze it, thaw the stuffing overnight in the refrigerator then warm it up in the microwave so it is not so cold. Then fill peppers and bake to an internal temperature of 165°F.
How to Choose the Right Peppers for Stuffing
When shopping, look for peppers with even, level bottom ends so they sit flat. If they don't sit level, help them site flat in the casserole dish by cutting a thin slice off of the bottom without going through the pepper.
If the peppers are short and squat in shape: either trim off the tops and fill them standing, OR do not cut off the tops, slice through them top to bottom for open halves that you will lay on their sides.
If the peppers are long and thin: Do not cut off the top. Cut them in half stem to end all of the way through for filling. See photos for visual help.
If bell peppers are on the smaller side, buy an extra one to fill. That's what I did for the lead photo as the bell peppers were on the smaller side.
To serve, complete the ground turkey stuffed peppers with a nice leafy green salad with a tasty orange vinaigrette dressing. If desired drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil over the top.
Leftover stuffed peppers make a great lunch the next day and will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days although the peppers will soften. They are best served within 2 days.
If you want to freeze ground turkey stuffed peppers, I recommend you freeze the filling by itself and fill fresh peppers to bake. You'll get better results than freezing whole stuffed peppers.
You do not have to cook the peppers before stuffing them. They cook while filled just fine. No need to blanch, pre-cook, or add any liquid to the bottom of the dish. They have enough moisture.
A good sauce or topping for stuffed peppers depends on the flavor profile of the stuffing. Try different cheeses, sauces, and fresh herbs that compliment the stuffing recipe. Try marinara sauce for Italian style and top with Italian cheese. Try a salsa verde for Mexican stuffed pepper with a Mexican blend of cheese or cheddar. A fresh salsa is nice too.
How long stuffed peppers need to cook depends on the size of the peppers and how cold or warm the stuffing is. For food safety cook until the centers reach 165°F, approximately 45 minutes covered with aluminum foil in a 375° oven.
More Recipes with Bell Peppers
If you are looking for more recipes with bell peppers ret my roasted vegetable ratatouille or one of these bell pepper recipes below.
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Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- Casserole dish for baking
- 1 cup cooked quinoa about ⅓ uncooked
- 4 large bell peppers: red, orange, green or yellow
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 pound ground turkey 93% lean, beef, bison, or crumbled tofu.
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon jarred ginger puree or ground ginger ½ teaspoon, optional
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes not drained
- ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
- 4 ounces crumbled Greek feta cheese or goat cheese
Prepare the peppers for stuffing
- If the peppers are round and fat, cut off the top and stuff peppers standing. If the shape is more long and narrow, do not cut off the top. Cut the pepper in half lengthwise from stem to bottom. With a sharp paring knife and your fingers, trim out the ribs and seeds until the pepper is clean inside. If they do not sit flat, trim a tiny bit off the bottom so they are stable. Be careful not to cut through the pepper.
Cook pepper stuffing
- Heat oil in a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent. Turn heat down to medium low if it starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add the turkey, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring with a wooden spatula breaking up the turkey, until the pink is just gone. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, parsley, feta, and quinoa.
Stuff peppers and bake
- Fill peppers mounding a little on top. Place peppers in a shallow casserole or baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 375°F degree oven until hot all of the way through, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (74C), about 45-50 minutes. Serve right away or cool completely, cover the peppers and refrigerate. To serve the next day, heat covered in a 350 oven until hot. How long depends on how cold they are coming out of the refrigerator. The best way to work ahead and save time is to make the stuffing and refrigerate, then stuff peppers and bake fresh.