Ground turkey stuffed peppers are a favorite traditional Italian-style meal turned healthy! This super easy stuffed bell pepper recipe uses 10 simple ingredients and is a beloved go-to flavorful gluten-free family dinner!
We love mini stuffed peppers and since baked stuffed bell peppers were one of our favorite meals for dinner growing up, I had to share my own healthier version. Ground turkey is a wonderful alternative to ground beef and can be used as a filling in ground turkey casserole, acorn stuffed squash, Italian turkey burgers, ground turkey meatballs, and turkey meatloaf.
Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers
These healthy stuffed peppers use lean ground turkey meat, a very small amount of rice and a bunch of mushrooms and onions inside the stuffing mixture for added nutrition. My family loves this ground turkey stuffed peppers recipe and the kids do what I did at their age - prefer just the filling without the peppers. No worries there because they are still getting their vegetables inside the filling!
I also have great tips on how to reuse leftovers from this stuffed peppers recipe into other meals.
- green bell peppers - for a sweeter stuffed peppers dish, you can also use red bell peppers
- white or brown rice or cauliflower rice (for low carb) - This is optional but pre cooking the rice saves 20 minutes! Make a large batch of rice ahead of time to eat throughout the week and to use for this filling to save time
- ground turkey meat - preferably extra lean for a lower fat and cholesterol meal
- mushrooms - crimini or white mushrooms work well to add earthy notes and extra vegetables
- garlic cloves - add garlic powder in the end for extra garlic flavor!
- shredded mozzarella cheese - you can substitute regular cheese for light or dairy-free cheese here
- favorite tomato sauce or marinara sauce
- Italian seasoning
- extra virgin olive oil - which is used for sauteing the vegetables before mixing into the filling
- fresh basil leaves - this is the garnish and I highly recommend using fresh leaves rather than dry leaves
How to make ground turkey stuffed bell peppers
Prep work: First up, gather the ingredients. These instructions also work if you choose to use regular organic ground beef.
For the meat I like to use poultry, extra lean ground turkey meat to be exact, that is almost 99% fat-free. This makes the ground turkey stuffed peppers lower in fat and cholesterol. You can also use ground chicken meat, which is usually also a leaner meat.
Cook the rice: Have rice already cooked, or cook about ½ cup of dry rice according to package directions. What I like to do is cook 2 cups of dry rice at the beginning of the week, and save the leftovers for other meals like jambalaya too.
Cook the vegetables and ground turkey meat: Chop mushrooms and onion and in a large skillet sauté it with garlic, olive oil and ground turkey. If the meat seems dry or starts to stick during cooking, add more olive oil (or avocado oil). Using a spatula, chop up the meat into very fine pieces while it is cooking.
Mix the ground turkey filling: Add the tomato sauce to the turkey mixture, Italian seasoning, cooked rice, and your favorite shredded cheese. Turn off the heat. (I use mozzarella since it is a lighter Italian cheese, can you can also mix it with Parmesan.)
Stuffing the peppers: Prep the green bell peppers by slicing them in half then removing the pith and seeds (or try either of these two ways). Preheat the oven and using a 9x13-inch baking dish, place the peppers upright in the dish. Stuff the peppers with the delicious ground turkey filling and add extra cheese on top.
How long to cook stuffed peppers
Cook the ground turkey stuffed peppers at 350 degrees F in a casserole dish for 40-45 minutes. Keep it uncovered to release extra fluid from the peppers.
How do you know when stuffed peppers are done?
Bake until the peppers are tender and not mushy or watery and the filling is cooked through. When they are finished cooking, add extra cheese on top and freshly torn or chopped basil for a little extra flaaaaava!
Ways to reuse turkey and rice stuffed peppers
This recipe makes eight halves. For our family of four, we usually have leftovers and have gotten pretty creative with how we use it. Don't worry, you don't have to waste food if you are not a big leftover fan! Turn the leftover of these ground turkey stuffed peppers into:
- Slice the green bell peppers and add the filling to a tortilla and wrap with extra cheese for an Italian-style burrito! Might sound strange but this is extremely delicious and makes for a quick lunch the next day!
- Add it to pasta! Chop up the leftovers and add it to your favorite pasta noodles.
- Rice bowls anyone? Serve the stuffed bell peppers chopped over a bed of extra rice.
- Leftover uncooked rice grains? Turn it into rice flour for a baking recipe!
How to reheat stuffed peppers
These ground turkey stuffed peppers are great to make ahead of time. They reheat really well. You can either make and stuff them then bake them another night for dinner (within 3 days so the meat doesn’t go bad), or make and bake them and then reheat at 350 degrees F (covered) for about 20 minutes or until heated through. That is a 20 minute weeknight dinner right there!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, meat should always be cooked before stuffing it into bell peppers. This prevents foodborne illness from undercooked meat. Ground beef and ground turkey meat also should be broken into small pieces to be used as a stuffing which is done during the cooking time over the stove.
Uncooked stuffed peppers can be frozen. Rinse half the bell peppers and pat them until completely dry. Place them in a freezer safe dish and wrap them individually with freezer-safe plastic wrap. Place them in a plastic freezer container, seal it with a lid and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely before cooking.
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- Ground Turkey Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Healthy Italian Turkey Burger Recipe (Paleo & Keto)
- Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Southwest Sauce (Vegan)
- Ground Turkey Meatloaf
- Ground Turkey Baked Meatballs
If you make this super easy and healthy ground turkey stuffed peppers recipe from Delightful Mom Food I would love to see your creations and share it! Follow along with me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to be featured and for more recipe inspiration! And don't forget to rate the recipe in the recipe area and leave a comment below.
Healthy Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- 4 green bell peppers
- ½ cup white or brown rice dry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms chopped
- 1 onion diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb. ground turkey meat preferably extra lean
- 25 ounce jar tomato sauce or marinara sauce use a really good kind for maximum flavor
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded plus extra for topping
- fresh basil leaves Optional for garnish, chopped or torn
- Prepare the green bell peppers by rinsing them off then slicing them in half horizontally and removing the pith and seeds. They should appear open-faced. Set aside until ready to use.
- Cook the rice in boiling salted water according to package directions, about 20 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat on medium-heat the olive oil, garlic, chopped mushrooms and diced onions. Add the ground turkey meat to the pan. Using a wooden spatula, chop up the meat into very fine pieces while it is cooking. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the turkey meat is cooked through. If the meat seems dry or starts to stick during cooking, add more olive oil (or avocado oil).
- Add the tomato sauce to the turkey mixture, Italian seasoning, cooked rice and shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine and turn of the heat.
- Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Use a 9x13-inch baking dish and add the green bell peppers upright. Stuff the peppers with the ground turkey filling. There will be extra stuffing which can be placed around the filled peppers. Top with extra cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until the peppers are tender and not soggy or watery and the filling is cooked through. Remove from the oven and serve right away garnished with fresh basil and extra cheese.
- Quick Tip: Cook the rice ahead of time for convenience.
- Reheating: This dish can also be made and baked in advance, then reheated. To reheat stuffed peppers, heat the oven to 350 degrees F, cover and bake for about 20 minutes or until the centers are warm.
- Freezing: Uncooked stuffed peppers can be frozen. Rinse half the bell peppers and pat them until completely dry. Place them in a freezer safe dish and wrap them individually with freezer-safe plastic wrap. Place them in a plastic freezer container, seal it with a lid and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely before cooking.
- For any extra filling, added it around the ground turkey stuffed peppers and cooked together.
- The peppers can also be prepared and cooked whole. To do so, slice off the tops and scoop out the seeds and insides. Stuff it with the filling, top with extra cheese and cook according to directions.