Healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers

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Italian stuffed peppers are an easy & healthy dinner recipe! Ready in 40 minutes, these healthy stuffed peppers are made with ground turkey and brown rice. It’s a family favorite and a great meal prep recipe.

Healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers on a baking pan with parsley on top


These healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers are a major hit around here (also try these traditional stuffed peppers)! They are an easy & healthy dinner recipe that’s ready in 40 minutes.

I don’t know about you, but even though I love spending time in the kitchen, in this phase of life (with many young children that I homeschool), 40 minutes is about all the time I have to get dinner on the table.

These healthy stuffed peppers are flavorful and healthy, using balsamic vinegar and brown rice in the filling. Plus the leftovers are great meal-prep lunches for the week that are gluten-free and could easily be made dairy-free by omitting the cheese on top.

Up close side view of three healthy Stuffed Peppers on the baking sheet

How to Make Healthy Stuffed Peppers

Pre-cook the peppers. Roast the peppers for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven before filling and baking again.

You can also microwave or parboil the peppers to precook them. Whatever you choose, just be sure that they are slightly soft, but still firm enough to hold the filling.

overhead view of peppers being cooked in this Italian Stuffed Peppers recipe

Brown the turkey. For the best flavor and texture, be sure the turkey is completely browned before adding the liquid ingredients. You may need to add an extra tablespoon of olive oil to aid in the browning process!

filling for Healthy Stuffed Peppers in a fry pan

Don’t over-fill. It’s likely you will have a little extra filling leftover. You can either grab an extra pepper and stuff it too, or save the filling to snack on later. Just don’t over-fill the peppers or you will end up with a mess!

Overhead view of healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers arranged on a baking sheet with cheese sprinkled on top before baking

Since the filling is already cooked, bake until the cheese is melted and the peppers are soft.

Overhead view of healthy Stuffed Peppers arranged on a baking sheet after baking

Serve

Serve warm with your favorite sides. I like serving these with crusty bread like this no knead bread or homemade french bread.

Store/freeze

Store any leftover Italian stuffed peppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freeze in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave or oven.

Italian stuffed peppers on a baking sheet

Recipe FAQs


Do you have to cook meat before stuffing peppers?

Yes, I suggest cooking the filling before adding it to the peppers so the peppers don’t become soggy.

How do you make stuffed peppers not soggy?

Slightly precook them and make sure the filling is cooked so you are just warming the peppers to melt the cheese on top. Also make sure the filling is thick.

Why are my stuffed peppers so watery?

If you choose to boil the peppers to pre-cook them instead of roasting them, it could cause watery stuffed peppers.

How long does it take to soften peppers in the oven?

About 10 to 15 minutes.

Why is my rice hard in stuffed peppers?

If your rice is hard it means it isn’t fully cooked. Make sure to cook the brown rice according to the package instructions until it’s light and fluffy before using it in this recipe.

Overhead view of six Italian Stuffed Peppers on a baking sheet after baking

Italian Stuffed Peppers: Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Ground turkey.Ground beef or chicken can be substituted for the turkey.
  • Olive Oil. Avocado oil or canola oil are substitute for olive oil.
  • Garlic/onion powder. Minced garlic and finely diced onion can be used in place of the powders. Just add them to the
  • Diced tomatoes. you can choose a variety with flavors like Italian diced tomatoes or fire roasted diced tomatoes.
  • Marinara sauce. Choose your favorite – mine is tomato basil.
  • Mozzarella cheese. You can substitute any cheese for mozzarella, I like adding parmesan cheese too.
  • Brown rice. this recipe calls for 2 cups cooked brown rice, which is 1 cup uncooked. You can use any rice variety you’d like, even quinoa is delicious in this recipe.
Front view of one Italian Ground Turkey Italian Stuffed Peppers on a plate with parsley and a fork

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Healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers

Laura
Italian stuffed peppers are an easy & healthy dinner recipe! Ready in 40 minutes, these healthy stuffed peppers are made with ground turkey and brown rice. It's a family favorite and a great meal prep recipe.
5 from 8 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 231
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Cook the brown rice according to the package instructions (this takes about 50 minutes). Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Grease a baking dish and set aside.
  • Remove top, seeds and core from bell peppers.
  • Rinse, pat dry and cut in half lengthwise.
  • Place halves open side up on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes in preheated oven until they just begin to become soft. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder salt and pepper.
  • In a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add ground turkey and olive oil.
  • Sautee 10-12 minutes until turkey just begins to brown.
  • Add seasoning and continue cooking until turkey is fully browned.
  • Stir in tomatoes, marinara sauce and balsamic vinegar.
  • Turn off heat and add cooked brown rice and stir until combined.
  • Taste filling and adjust salt/pepper/seasonings to your liking.
  • Add about ½ cup of filling to each bell pepper half (or as much as can fit without overflowing).
  • Top each filled bell pepper with a light sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake peppers in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and melted, rotating baking pan once during cooking.
  • Remove from oven and serve!

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Ground turkey. Ground chicken or beef can be substituted for the ground turkey.
  • Olive Oil. Avocado oil or canola oil are substitute for olive oil.
  • Garlic/onion powder. Minced garlic and finely diced onion can be used in place of the powders. Just add them to the
  • Diced tomatoes. you can choose a variety with flavors like Italian diced tomatoes or fire roasted diced tomatoes.
  • Marinara sauce. Choose your favorite – mine is tomato basil.
  • Mozzarella cheese. You can substitute any cheese for mozzarella, I like adding parmesan cheese too.
  • Brown rice. this recipe calls for 2 cups cooked brown rice, which is 1 cup uncooked. You can use any rice variety you’d like, even quinoa is delicious in this recipe.

Store/freeze

Store any leftover peppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave or oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pepper | Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.9g | Protein: 17.1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 48.2mg | Sodium: 245.5mg | Potassium: 364.4mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 1.9g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Vitamin C: 241.6mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Good flavor! I changed it up and stuffed portabella mushrooms instead of peppers. Next time I will add red pepper flakes to spice it up!

  2. I usually don’t leave comments, but this recipe is delicious!!! My family (husband & 2 kids (7 & 9 yrs. old))constantly ask for it, though they do not typically like ground Turkey or quinoa (I dont have packets, so we use plain or 3 blend). Preheat in oven works perfectly 🙂 thank you sssoooo much!!!

  3. I’ve made this twice and this dish doesn’t disappoint. It makes way more stuffing than what is needed to fill four peppers so can easily serve more people. I love how flavorful it is while still being healthy! My husband, who can be quite picky really enjoyed it too!!

  4. A good reminder I need to make stuffed peppers! They’re always so surprisingly easy to make and they’re so fun and pretty! Good for food prep too! Thanks. 🙂

  5. Stuffed peppers were made a lot growing up and my husband had never heard of them. I use to make them a lot but haven’t in awhile. Thinking this recipe is a sign.