It’s pepper season, and around here there is much rejoicing. Last year my peppers received too much moisture and had a blight, but this year I’m so pepper-hungry that I can’t even wait to let them ripen to a sweet red before picking them. That can only mean one thing: Stuffed peppers.
For those of you who haven’t enjoyed a good stuffed pepper, you’re not alone. Too often they’re gloppy messes of softened green peppers mixed with flavorless rice and meat. Things stuffed with other things should always taste good (see examples of ravioli, ice cream sandwiches).
So I scoured the recipe sites for a stuffed pepper recipe that fulfilled the following criteria:
1. Not mushy
2. Somewhat cheesy
3. Not hamburger (we ate red meat earlier this week)
And nothing really stood out to me, so I sort of ran with the ingredients I had on hand and the flavors I enjoy and came up with this recipe. And, shh, it’s actually healthy, too.
A few things about the ingredients:
- You’ll want to decide how much crushed red pepper is right for you. I used very little because of the very little person munching on it, but I put more on mine after it came out of the oven.
- This is the perfect use for leftover rice from takeout! I always struggled with what to do with that stuff since very few recipes call for already cooked rice!
- Try and use boxed tomatoes (or your own!) if possible, rather than canned. I was able to find them at my local grocery store. The ‘tinny’ taste of the canned is impossible to cover up.
The aluminum foil called for in the recipe saves the time from having to parboil the pepper. I was pleased to save a pot! This recipe even got rave reviews from the 1 year old (whose pickiness knows no bounds). I hope you enjoy it.
Turkey Stuffed Peppers (serves 4)
4 green bell peppers (medium to large), washed, halved, and seeded
1 box of crushed tomatoes (roughly 20 oz)
2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup of rice (uncooked) or 2 cups of cooked rice
1/4 c. ketchup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (see note)
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
- If cooking rice, place one cup of dried rice and two cups of water in a pot with a tightly fitted lid. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 25-30 minutes or until rice is tender. See specific instructions based on your rice type, since brown rice may take more time to cook.
- Preheat oven to 375. In a nonstick pan, heat oil on medium heat and saute garlic and onions until fragrant and soft, about two minutes. To that pan, add the ground turkey, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper and cook the meat until no longer pink, about five minutes. Drain the excess oil.
- In a 9×13 pan (preferably glass), spread 1/2 cup of the crushed tomatoes along with one cup of water. Lay the green peppers split side up (ready to be stuffed) on top of the tomato mixture.
- Mix the rest of the tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, ketchup, and rice with the meat mixture. Remove from heat and fill the green peppers with the rice mixture. Cover with shredded cheddar. Cover 9×13 pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve with a slotted spoon. Enjoy!