Stuffed Bell Peppers

Brighten up your table with these colorful ground turkey, rice and vegetables  Stuffed Bell Peppers. They are so delicious!bell peppers stuffed with rice, meat, vegetablesI love these stuffed peppers! They are so full of flavor. The melange of vegetables, brown rice, ground turkey and a touch of fennel seed make for great flavor and aroma. The stuffing itself is very versatile. Here, in addition to rice and turkey,  I used zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, chopped parsley and tomato sauce. Celery stalks, carrots and tomatoes are wonderful, too. Many times I made these Stuffed Peppers without meat or using quinoa instead of brown rice. The stuffing can be also used to prepare different kinds of squash, eggplant, large tomatoes in a similar way. I simply love stuffed zucchini blossoms. I can’t wait for the summer and the rather short appearance of these delicate flowers.

These Stuffed Peppers taste even better the next day and I always serve them with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Delish!

colorful bell peppers on a red plater

Bell peppers have rather strong flavor and until just a few years ago they were not my favorite veggie to snack on. I still don’t eat them too often except when I make a few dishes using the peppers. For this recipe, prepare the peppers by cutting the top off ( and saving it ) and removing the seeds.

red bell pepper with seeds removed

Dried fennel seed is a very aromatic herb very similar to anise. It is widely used in many cuisines of the Middle East, India and Europe as well. It also provides a lot of health benefits. Fennel seeds should be either crushed or heated before adding them to the dish so the essential oils are awakened. Fennel seed is one of the main spices in Italian sausages.

Fennel seeds crushed in a white mortar

To make the stuffing, cook 1 cup of brown rice or quinoa according to the instructions. While rice is cooking, dice 1 medium onion and cook on a heated large skillet with about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil ( or your preferred one). Add 3 large garlic cloves, minced and cook for another minute or so. If you are using meat, add it now. I typically use lean ground turkey but feel free to use beef. While the meat is cooking and turning brown, crush the fennel seeds using mortar and pestle or your fingers and add them to the meat. Stir, add salt and pepper and continue cooking on low heat.

Next, start chopping the vegetables you will be using, zucchini, portobello mushrooms (button mushrooms work great, too), bell pepper, parsley and tomato, if using (just remove the skin and seeds before chopping ). Add to the skillet and cook, stirring for about 15 minutes. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the tops off of peppers, reserving them and remove the seeds. Place the empty peppers into a large baking dish, preferably with a lid.

Add about 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds to the skillet and stir well. Add about 1.5 cups of cooked rice. If you are making more than 6-7 peppers, increase the amount of rice you add to the stuffing. Stir well. Add about 2 oz. of crumbled goat or feta cheese. Stir and adjust the seasonings. Since the peppers will absorb some of the flavor, make sure the stuffing has enough salt and pepper in it. Stuff the peppers, filling them all the way up. Cover each pepper with its top. Add about 1 inch of vegetable broth into the baking dish, cover and place into the oven. After about 1 hr. remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes, checking the amount of broth left on the bottom (if it’s all gone and the peppers still aren’t very soft, carefully add more broth or warm water). Remove from the oven when the peppers are cooked through. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

bell peppers stuffed with brown rice, ground turkey and veggiescooked bell peppers stuffed with meat, rice, vegetablesMakes: 6 peppers    Prep time: 40 minutes    Cook time: 1 hr 15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried rice, cooked according to the instructions
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
  • 1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small portobello mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped (5-6 crimini mushrooms are great, too)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato (skin and seeds removed), finely diced or
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 oz goat or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt (add more if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 6 medium bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
  • about 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • balsamic vinegar for serving

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to the instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat up a large skillet, add coconut oil and cook the onions for 4-5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook another minute. Add ground turkey and cook, stirring and breaking the meat apart for about 10 minutes. Add some salt, pepper and crushed fennel seed. Stir and continue to simmer for another 7-10 minutes.
  3. When the meat is cooked through add zucchini and mushrooms. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomato sauce (if using fresh tomato wait another 5 minutes). Cook for 5 minutes then add parsley and sunflower seeds. Stir well, add more salt if needed.
  4. Turn the oven on to 375 degrees.
  5. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a baking dish.
  6. Add about 1.5 cups of cooked brown rice into the skillet. Stir really well. Add the cheese, stir again and adjust the seasonings.
  7. Stuff the peppers with the filling and replace the tops.
  8. Add about 1 inch of vegetable broth or water to the baking dish. Cover with a lid. Cook for about 1 hr. then remove the lid and cook another 10-15 minutes until the peppers are soft when pierced with a knife.
  9. Serve warm with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!

cooked bell peppers stuffed withrice, vegetables and ground turkey

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