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Pesto Stuffed Turkey Peppers

Pesto Stuffed Turkey Peppers

I like to think of stuffed peppers as the Madonna of the food world. Quite similar to the musical pop icon, it is difficult to think of another dish that has been reinvented, is as recognized and has impacted so many cultures around the world (from the cuisine perspective, of course). Truth be told, once you understand the basic technique, I would argue that there is no wrong way to actually make a stuffed pepper. And so, this is when cooking in the kitchen really starts to get fun!

This recipe incorporates a few of my favorite things and brings them all into one delicious bite. For this recipe, I like to use red bell peppers for this recipe, as they are sweeter in taste than green peppers. The stuffing is made from ground turkey (ground chicken is also a great option), mixed with my homemade pesto and your grain of choice (for this, I like to use couscous). Once cooked, lay the stuffed peppers over a bed of halved grape tomatoes and you have yourself a beautiful tasting (and looking) plate. Creating this recipe may have taken some time, but I am proud of it and I encourage you to have some fun and do the same. As you can see - stuffed peppers can be so easily customized to your liking, so get in the kitchen and express yourself! (you like my Madonna pun there?)


The Break Down:

(Serving Size: Approx. 4)


For the Peppers (***will need a deep baking dish for this recipe):

  • 1 paper bag or plastic wrap  
  • Red Bell Peppers – 4 large
  • White Lean Ground Turkey – 1 lb.
  • Cous Cous – 1/3 cup, uncooked
  • Low Sodium Chicken Stock - 1 tbsp.
  • Sweet Onion – 1 medium, diced
  • Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
  • EVOO – 2 tbsp.
  • S&P


For the Pesto (***will need food processor or blender):

  •    Basil – 2 cups, fresh leaves
  •    Pine Nuts – 1/2 cup
  •    Parmesan Cheese – 1/2 cup, grated
  •    Lemon – Juice of 1
  •    Garlic – 1 clove
  •    EVOO – 1/3 cup
  •    S&P  


For the Base:

  • Grape Tomatoes – 2 cups, chopped
  • Garlic – 1 clove, minced
  • EVOO – 2 tbsp.
  • Salt


 How To:

 ***Directions written in an order that will make for the most seamless cooking process


For the Base:

 1.     Slice the tomatoes in half and place in side bowl

2.     Drizzle with EVOO, add minced garlic and sprinkle with dash of salt

3.     Mix with hands and set in fridge while you prepare the rest of the dish


For the Peppers (Step 1)

* The ultimate goal is to get a nice char on the skin of the peppers. It does not need to be perfectly even, but should cover all sides. Once char has been attained, immediately transport the peppers to either brown paper bag or a bowl/pot and cover immediately. The purpose of this is to the capture the steam and also let the peppers cool. By doing this, the charred skin can then easily be removed.  


With Gas-Burning Stove (easiest with tongs):

1.   Place peppers over low-to-medium burning flame

2.   Rotate peppers with tongs, being cautious not to burn the peppers

3.   Once charred on all side (does not need to be perfectly even), remove peppers

4.   Place the warm peppers in paper bag or bowl and close/cover tightly


With Electric Stove:

1.   Preheat oven to 500 degrees and spread whole peppers over baking sheet

2.   Once oven reaches desired heat, place peppers in oven

3.   Remove tray and carefully rotate peppers to ensure char across outer skin

4.   Once charred on all side (does not need to be perfectly even), remove peppers

5.   Place the warm peppers in paper bag or bowl and close/cover tightly



...Onto the Pesto

 1.   Place all dry ingredients in food processor or blender

2.   Add lemon juice and then lightly blend to begin breaking up ingredients

3.   Slowly add EVOO as you blend ingredients on low speed (be sure top is covered!)

4.   Blend to desired consistency and add S&P to taste liking

5.   Set aside


For the Peppers (Step 2)

1.   Heat oven to 400 degrees

2.   Carefully remove charred skin from the peppers (should slip off easily once cool)

3.   Slice off top of the pepper, remove seeds and set aside on plate

4.   Cook couscous (or grain of choice) following box directions, but remove from heat 1 minute prior to fully being done

5.   In medium-to-large sized pan, add 2 tbsp of EVOO and then chopped onion and garlic

6.   Raise heat to medium and add dash of S&P, allowing onions and garlic to infuse the oil

7.   Add ground turkey, chicken broth and additional sprinkle of S&P

8.   As turkey cooks, add couscous and pesto into pan and mix

9.   Once ground turkey is nearly cooked, remove from heat and set aside

10. Carefully begin stuffing roasted peppers with stuffing (try not to tear the peppers!)

11.  Place stuffed peppers in baking sheet and cook in oven for 5 minutes


For Plating

1.   Place halved grape tomatoes on plates

2.   Top the tomatoes with stuffed peppers

3.   Sprinkle with additional S&P for taste


Tips & Tricks:

  • Due to the amount of steps in this recipe, I suggest following directions in order given.
  • You may very well have leftover filling – great for leftovers or to add under cooked peppers!
  • I use couscous for this recipe due to its nature and ability to absorb flavors
  • A great crunchy and healthy side to this dish are steamed green beans with lemon
  • Keep refrigerated in air-tight, sealed container



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