Traditional versions of stuffed peppers use green bell peppers, ground beef and rice. Here’s my recipe for ground turkey stuffed peppers with nutrition-packed quinoa instead of rice, and tomatoes plus warming spices, and a little feta cheese for some tang. You can make the stuffing ahead of time to save time. Notes for dietary options are at the end.
These savory stuffed peppers make a great dinner with just a side green salad. Make the stuffing ahead of time, then stuff and bake the peppers when you want to eat. Lots of textures and flavors make them satisfying.
For your shopping list:
- Quinoa (cooked)
- Large red or orange bell peppers
- Olive oil
- Ground turkey (beef, bison, chicken)
- Ground cumin
- Ginger (jarred puree or fresh)
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Greek feta cheese
How to Choose Bell Peppers for Stuffing
Choose peppers that are smooth-skinned, richly colored red or orange, and heavy for their size. Brighter colored peppers have more nutrition in them and a sweeter taste.
If the peppers are short, squat and round, trim off the top and fill them whole. If they are long and narrow, do not cut off the top. Instead cut them in half stem to end all of the way through for filling. See photos for visual help.
Trim out the ribs and seeds from peppers with your fingers and a sharp paring knife until they are clean inside. After cooking the filling, stuff your peppers and bake.
Make the Filling
Turkey, beef, or bison work equally well in this stuffed pepper recipe. I buy the 93% lean turkey or 10% ground beef. Instead of rice, I use light, fluffy quinoa. It’s a complete protein, meaning it provides all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. It’s a great swap for rice in this recipe.
For another terrific recipe using ground turkey, try these baked turkey meatballs.
For vegetarian, swap the turkey for your favorite bean. Black beans, Cannellini beans, kidney beans or pinto beans all work well. Use canned beans to save time. Rinse and drain them first.
If you are not a big quinoa fan, swap cooked brown rice. Here is a post on how to cook recipe like pasta (my preferred method and it reduces arsenic).
For vegan or dairy-free, use beans and skip the feta cheese. Add a tossed green salad and you are set.
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.