Italian Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers are good comfort food that my whole family loves. These healthy stove top stuffed sweet bell peppers are made with ground turkey and brown rice so they are also gluten free.
Stuffed peppers have always been one of my favorite comfort foods. For years, I did not make them because my husband didn't eat peppers. He finally tried them and realized he really did like peppers and their savory filling.
This opened up a world of recipes because he then discovered other peppers he liked such as long hots and Poblano peppers which I love pairing with chili and pasta.
What are Italian Stuffed Peppers filled with?
As a kid, my mother made Italian stuffed peppers and I loved them. I don't remember rice in her recipe so they were like peppers stuffed with a meatball filling. But to make mine a little more healthier, I decided to use ground turkey and brown rice.
These gluten free stuffed peppers contain no bread crumbs and the brown rice makes them filling. The onions, garlic and tomatoes give the peppers great flavor.
You can really use any type of ground meat, whether it's ground beef, turkey or chicken although I do prefer ground turkey in this recipe. If you use ground beef, make sure to use a lean cut as you don't want too much grease cooking into the pepper.
To make cooking time as quick as possible, I made them on the stove. I really don't like heating up my kitchen too much in the summer so the stove top or grill is my choice for cooking if possible. It's a great dish to also make in advance and then reheat for an easy dinner.
These Italian style stuffed peppers made on the stove top are ready in under 45 minutes. I like my stuffed peppers well done so the peppers are tender and soft. If you like them more crisp, you can simmer them for less time.
I have made these in the oven before but it seems like they take forever to bake. The stove top method is much more practical when you are busy, or have to take children to their sports practices and activities.
- Bell Peppers – Green bell peppers are most common but you can use red bell peppers, orange peppers or really any variety of peppers that are large enough to stuff.
- Olive Oil – Or use your favorite light, neutral oil.
- Onions – Use white or red onion.
- Garlic – I prefer the flavor and texture of fresh garlic.
- Ground Turkey – Ground turkey makes this recipe nice and lean but swap in any ground meat or even some hot Italian sausage. Make sure to safely thaw ground turkey before using.
- Italian Seasoning – This blend may include basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, sage, or coriander but often varies by brand. Use your favorite. I also like to garnish with fresh basil or parsley if I have some.
- Brown Rice – Precooking the rice really speeds up the cooking process. Brown rice is whole grain so it is more nutritious but you can substitute white rice. You can also buy precooked rice in the freezer section of your grocery store and heat it up in the microwave.
- Parmesan Cheese – Use freshly grated cheese. You could also substitute mozzarella cheese if you prefer.
- Fired Roasted Tomatoes – I love the flavor of fire roasted tomatoes. You can also use regular diced tomatoes.
- Salt and Pepper – Add to taste. I also add a sprinkling of some red pepper flakes for a bit more spice.
- Water – Or bump up the flavor and add a bit of chicken or vegetable stock.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers
- Cut the tops off the peppers, core and remove all seeds. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until onions start to wilt. Add the turkey to the pan and cook for 7 minutes or until no longer pink. Add seasoning, rice, Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup of the tomatoes (reserve the rest for later). Stir the rice mixture well with a wooden spoon and cook for a few more minutes until mixture is well heated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carefully stuff the peppers with the meat mixture.
- In a large pot, add the remaining tomatoes and water. Heat on low until mixture comes to a simmer. Place peppers in the pot making sure they are standing upright. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 25 to 30 minutes or until peppers are tender.
- Serve with the flavorful tomato sauce spooned on the peppers and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.
See recipe card below for complete instructions.
Storage and Leftovers
Stuffed peppers can be made in advance and reheated. The leftovers will last up to 4 days in the fridge if wrapped tightly in an air tight container. Here are some tips on reheating your stuffed peppers.
Ground turkey stuffed peppers are pretty substantial so I often serve these stuffed bell peppers with a fresh Arugula, Tomato and Avocado Salad or another green salad on the side.
I don't like to waste the tomato sauce that the peppers cook in though, so my family also likes plain spaghetti or extra rice on the side. Of course, it's always good to have some crusty bread or even garlic bread to soak up the flavorful marinara sauce.
If none of those options excite you, here are a few more of my favorite side dishes.
- Roasted Parmesan and Panko Crusted Asparagus
- Air Fryer Frozen Green Beans
- Fried Leftover Spaghetti
- How to Make Broccoli in the Oven from Juggling Act Mama
More Stuffed Pepper Recipes
- Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Lentils and Asiago Cheese
- Taco Stuffed Peppers via Swirls of Flavor
If you like stuffed peppers, you might also want to try my Unstuffed Pepper Soup recipe.
Do you ever make stuffed peppers on the stove? Trust me when I say it's a great way to do it!
If you like these Gluten Free Stuffed Peppers, please leave a 5-star rating.
Italian Stove Top Stuffed Peppers with Ground Turkey
- 6 medium size bell peppers
- 2 TBS olive oil
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions
- 1 TBS chopped garlic
- 1 ¼ lbs lean ground turkey
- 1 TBS dried Italian seasoning
- 2 cups already cooked brown rice
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 can (14 ounce) fired roasted diced tomatoes divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup water
- Cut the tops off the peppers, core and remove all seeds. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until onions start to wilt. Add the turkey to the pan and cook for 7 minutes or until no longer pink. Add seasoning, rice, Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup of the tomatoes (reserve the rest for later). Stir well and cook for a few more minutes until mixture is well heated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carefully stuff the pepper cavities with the mixture.
- In a large pot, add the remaining tomatoes and water. Heat on low until mixture comes to a simmer. Transfer the peppers to the pot making sure they are standing upright. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 25 to 30 minutes or until peppers are tender.
- Serve with sauce spooned on the peppers and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.
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