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Saucy Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Mouthwatering flavor and healthy too!

Turkey stuffed peppers with a BBQ-flavored sauce are a tasty and colorful dinner entrée. Prep the veggies and filling, then bake for 20 minutes!

There are plenty of recipes out there to choose from, but I’m loving this new version of healthy stuffed peppers made with ground turkey (instead of ground beef or sausage).

If you’ve shied away from using this lean meat substitute because you thought it would lack flavor, try this recipe and become a believer! The secret is to season it well — that doesn’t just mean extra salt — and to avoid overcooking the meat so that it doesn’t become dry and chewy.

Try it in plenty of other comfort food favorites like burgers or taco soup. I even have a delicious recipe for mini meatloaves smothered in a tangy honey dijon glaze.

a yellow bell pepper stuffed with saucy turkey mixture on a plate with a side salad.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Turkey Stuffed Peppers

  • Bell pepper — Did you know that the color is mostly based on the level of ripeness? That’s right! Green varieties are simply picked earlier before they have a chance to change to red, orange, or yellow. Because red varieties go through the full ripening process, they tend to be the sweetest of the bunch.
  • Ground turkey — Not only is this lower in saturated fat than ground beef or sausage, but it’s particularly rich in B vitamins. You could also substitute ground chicken, which has a similar flavor.
  • Italian seasoning — If you don’t have any on hand, you can easily mix up a homemade substitute with the spices and herbs you have in your pantry.
  • Barbecue sauce — Grab a bottle of your favorite blend or use my personal recipe. Because of the seasoning used in this recipe, steer clear of anything with prominent flavors like honey or brown sugar.

tip

  • Add some heat to filling by stirring in a dash of hot sauce or some red pepper flakes.

process steps for preparing saucy turkey stuffed peppers: pre-bake peppers; season cooked ground turkey; fill peppers with turkey mixture; top with shaved parmesan cheese.

How to make turkey stuffed bell peppers?

STEP 1 | Prep the veggies

Slice off the top of each bell pepper to form a cup. If yours are extra-large, cut them down the middle and lay each half on its side. Use a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and any protruding membrane, then salt the insides.

Bake the empty bell pepper shells for a few minutes. Drain off the liquid and set them aside.

STEP 2 | Cook the filling

Brown the turkey with onions. Stir in the tomato, sauces, and seasonings and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.

STEP 3 | Stuff each pepper

Divide the filling between the bell pepper shells, keeping it level or just below the rim. Sprinkle Parmesan over the tops and place them back in the oven.

STEP 4 | Bake

These take about 20 minutes to cook but keep a close eye on the cheese towards the end. Once it’s browned and bubbly, go ahead and pull them out.

four saucy turkey stuffed peppers in a white baking dish on a table.

tips

  • Pre-baking the salted peppers for a couple of minutes will draw out some of the liquid, which prevents the finished dish from being too watery.
  • When making the filling, add the sauces and seasonings when there is still a bit of pink to the meat. It will finish cooking as everything simmers together.
  • If you’re serving a larger group, double the recipe and use a variety of sweet bell peppers – red, yellow, orange, and green – to create a colorful variety on your dinner table.

a yellow bell pepper stuffed with saucy turkey mixture on a plate with a side salad.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make turkey stuffed bell peppers ahead of time?

Yes! You can pre-bake the peppers and cook the turkey mixture in advance. Then, all you need to do is combine the two, top with cheese, and bake.

This is especially helpful when hosting guests, as you’ll only need to pop in the kitchen for a minute to get dinner in the oven.

How long do leftovers last in the refrigerator!

They should be good for 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through.

What makes these healthy stuffed peppers?

Not only is ground turkey leaner and more heart-healthy than red meat, but this dish has significantly less salt than other recipes. Making small adjustments in your ingredient choices can create a huge difference over the long run!

a fork spearing a bite from a yellow bell pepper stuffed with saucy turkey mixture on a plate with a side salad.

Serving suggestions

While turkey stuffed peppers are pretty filling on their own, you can’t go wrong with some crusty bread or dinner rolls to mop up any sauce left on your plate!

A green salad is a good addition to any meal. You could also prepare a side of lemon garlic smashed potatoes or a simple rice pilaf.

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Yield: 4 servings

Saucy Turkey Stuffed Peppers

a fork spearing a bite from a yellow bell pepper stuffed with saucy turkey mixture on a plate with a side salad.

Turkey stuffed peppers with a BBQ-flavored sauce are a tasty and colorful dinner entrée. Prep the veggies and filling, then bake for 20 minutes!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large bell peppers

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. If using large bell peppers, cut them in half from top to bottom. It using medium size bell peppers, slice off the top 1/4 of the pepper. Remove the seeds and place the peppers on the baking sheet, cut side up and salt the inside.
  3. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain off any liquid and return the peppers to the baking sheet.
  4. In a large skillet, cook turkey and diced onions until the onions are tender and the turkey is almost cooked through. Stir in the tomato and all remaining ingredients (except for the cheese) and cook 5 more minutes, or until the mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly and the turkey is cooked through.
  5. Spoon the turkey mixture into the bell pepper cups. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Notes

  • Pre-baking the salted peppers for a couple of minutes will draw out some of the liquid, which prevents the finished dish from being too watery.
  • When making the filling, add the sauces and seasonings when there is still a bit of pink to the meat. It will finish cooking as everything simmers together.
  • If you’re serving a larger group, double the recipe and use a variety of sweet bell peppers – red, yellow, orange, and green – to create a colorful variety on your dinner table.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 739mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 33g

Did you make this recipe?

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Home Cook, Wife, Mom, Nana

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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