These turkey stuffed peppers were overwhelming well received in my house!!! This recipe was entirely made up on the fly.
I had ground turkey in the fridge with no real plan on what to do with it. I also had peppers from my garden that I had just picked so why not make stuffed peppers with ground turkey?
To keep on the healthy trend here, I decided to substitute rice with cauliflower. I don’t have a problem with rice as long as it’s organic due to the high levels of arsenic. But there is such a movement right now with cauliflower rice I thought “why not?”. It is a GREAT substitute for rice and it’s healthy.
TIP! Don’t go spending $3.99 on that little bag in the frozen section.
First off it’s way too expensive and 2nd there is too much water
in the frozen kind. We just need a good ole’ head of regular cauliflower.
And we are going to roast it with a little oil, salt and pepper for maximum flavor.
The combination of ground turkey and cauliflower sounds … what’s the word?
oh yes ! BORING.
We need to spice this party up a bit! I sautéed some onions and garlic with the turkey and then added some cumin and chili powder and finally our HOMEMADE Marinara sauce.
This sauce will be one of the easiest sauces you probably ever make – cheap too. This will add tons of flavor and keep our turkey/cauliflower stuffing together and moist.
WHAT KIND OF CHEESE?
There are all different types of cheeses out there. so how do we know which one will go best in our ground turkey stuffed peppers?
Semi soft cheeses are a great option because these cheeses are the king of melting. They’re especially creamy when melted because they have a lot of moisture.
Fontina or Gouda (especially smoked) bring a nutty flavor and is especially good with turkey burgers because it adds extra depth. Monterey jack is mild and buttery (the pepper jack is great for an added kick) and Havarti is sweet and buttery.
Fresh cheese is also a great option, such as Mozzarella due to it’s long elasticity and fresh mozzarella will give you more of a milk flavor than the packaged block. Feta cheese works FABULOUSLY with turkey burgers.
As a matter of fact I’m coming up with a Feta and Spinach stuffed pepper next. So stay tuned !
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST SCRUMPTIOUS STUFFED PEPPERS:
There looks like there are a lot of steps to these peppers, but I assure you if you follow these instructions you will be done in no time.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAR BOIL THE PEPPERS. They will be so soft and tender you won’t believe it!
- The key is to get the cauliflower in the oven first.
- Then as the sauce is simmering you cook the ground turkey.
- Then it all just gets thrown together in the skillet and stuffed into the peppers!
- Begin by taking care of all your cutting, chopping and dicing. Trim off the ends of the cauliflower into manageable sizes. Cut off the tops of the peppers and deseed. Chop the onion, garlic and basil.
- Pulse the cauliflower into a couscous like consistency in the food processor. This will take 3 batches (trust me on that one!) Roast it for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, let’s get that sauce going! This is the easiest marinara sauce you will ever make. San Marzano hands down makes the best tomatoes. I in no way get compensated for saying that, it’s just a fact.
- As your marinara is simmering away, sauté the onions, garlic and turkey in a large skillet in a Tablespoon of oil. SEASON !!! Turkey is bland. Be sure to add some salt and pepper. Don’t be shy! About halfway through get those spices in there. Do not drain.
- Now the fun part! Off the heat, add 2 cups of the cauliflower rice to the turkey. Add 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce. Taste! Remember to season more if it’s needed. Add your cheese. It does not have to melt. It will melt in the oven.
- Now STUFF ! I like to put just a spoonful of turkey in the bottom of the pepper, then a chunk of cheese. More turkey filling and top it with some more cheese. How much? Well that’s entirely up to you. I won’t judge.
A spin on the classic beef filled peppers with seasoned ground turkey, cauliflower rice and a homemade marinara sauce. Sure to become a regular in your menu!
FOR THE MARINARA SAUCE:
- 1 Can (28 ounces) Whole Peeled Tomatoes (nothing beats San Marzano)
- 1 Medium Sized Onion, diced
- 3 LARGE Cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon ea Dried Oregano, Sea Salt and Sugar
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- 5–6 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
FOR THE FILLING:
- 6 Bell Peppers, tops chopped off, rims and seeds removed
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
- 1 lb. Ground Turkey
- 3/4 Cup Onion, diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ea Cumin, Chili Powder, Sea Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 1/2 Cups Mariana Sauce (see below)
- 2 Cups Cauliflower Rice (see below)
- Monterey Jack Cheese
TO MAKE THE CAULIFLOWER RICE:
- Trim the cauliflower florets, cutting away as much stem as possible. In 3 batches, break up the florets into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles couscous. Place the cauliflower in a large bowl and to it add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spread the cauliflower out and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
TO MAKE THE MARINARA SAUCE:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onion, stirring frequently until they soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally, using spoon to crush the tomatoes against the side of the pot.
- Remove the pot from the heat and discard the onion. Carefully pour it all into a food processor and give it a few pulses to break up any tomatoes, onions and garlic. You can leave it chunky or continue pulsing for a smoother sauce. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if necessary. Lastly add the basil but do not pulse.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
- As the marinara sauce is simmering, sauté the diced onion, turkey and garlic in 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Try not to stir the turkey too much. We want to brown it as much as possible for maximum flavor. Break it apart as it cooks. About halfway through add the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook until the turkey is cooked through.
- Turn off the heat and add 2 cups of the cauliflower – stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce. Combine. Stir in approximately 1 cup of cheese (I found smoke gouda to work very well in this dish).
- Spoon a little in each of the peppers – add a chunk of cheese (if desired). Spoon another third and add more cheese (if desired) and then fill the pepper to the top. Sprinkle a mound of cheese on top.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Take a loaf pan and place 2 peppers in each. Heat about 1 cup of water in the microwave until boiling. Place the loaf pans in the oven and pour about 1/4 cup of water in each. Cover with alum foil and bake approx. 30-45 minutes or until the peppers are soft and knife can be inserted easily.
- Let cool 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS:
KALE SALAD with PISTACHIOS, PINE NUTS and CRANBERRIES