Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Stuffed Bell Pepper with Ground Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Growing up, my family did not enjoy much variety in the dinner department. We had certain dishes on regular rotation - tuna casserole, beef stew and rice, baked chicken and broccoli casserole. If at least one of the ingredients didn't say "Campbell's" on the can, chances are, we weren't eating it. Cooking just wasn't my mother's thing.

But every now and then, she'd assemble certain ingredients on the counter that could only mean one thing - stuffed peppers! I used to love helping her mix the rice with the ground beef and then stuffing the peppers that she had steamed. Of course, I'd always try and snag the pepper that had a bit of the stuffing baked to the point of crunchy.
Stuffed Bell Pepper with Ground Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Hands down, the stuffing was my favorite part. I'd often eat two peppers just so I could eat more of it. When my mother wasn't looking, I'd hand the empty peppers over to my father so he could get rid of the evidence (i.e. eat them for me). Looking back, I think I didn't eat the peppers because I didn't like the taste of them. My mother always used green bell peppers and they were just too bitter for me to enjoy.
Stuffed Bell Pepper with Ground Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I took care of the bitterness in my version of stuffed peppers by using orange bell peppers rather than green. (Green bell peppers tend to be bitter because they are immature, as compared to yellow, orange, or red bell peppers.) I also roasted the peppers in the oven to bring out their natural sweetness rather than steaming them. (I picked up this tip/idea in a cooking class.) This helped extract a lot of flavor! And, instead of pouring tomato sauce over the peppers before baking them, I put tomatoes in the stuffing and topped them with panko bread crumbs. The panko offered a crunchy contrast in texture to the creamy filling that included Arborio rice and Parmesan cheese.

While I'll still have a spot in my heart for my mother's stuffed peppers, I think these might just be a little bit better. Sorry, Mom. ;-)

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 orange bell peppers, cleaned and halved lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground white-meat turkey
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium/fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a medium pan, bring the water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and Arborio rice and stir. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and lower the heat. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed.
  3. Toss bell peppers with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes while the rice is cooking. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic and cook until it just starts to turn golden.
  5. Add the ground turkey. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  6. Add the chicken broth and stir. Place contents in a large bowl, including any remaining oil or juices.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, add it to the bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, and parsley. Stir and taste. Add salt and pepper, if necessary (I didn't).
  8. Divide stuffing equally among the four pepper halves.
  9. In a small skillet, heat last remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add panko. Stir to moisten all of the bread crumbs and toast until they start to brown. Sprinkle on top of the stuffed peppers.
  10. Return peppers to the oven and bake for 10 minutes to warm through.

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