Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Turkey and Black Rice Stuffed Peppers

I LOVE stuffed peppers. They remind me of home. It was always one of my favorite things that my mom would make growing up. I requested them often. So, in my quest to healthify my cooking, I wanted to conquer stuffed peppers. They are usually fairly healthy but I made a few tweaks to really up the nutritional value.

First of all, have you heard of Black Rice or its also called "Forbidden Rice" (apparently it was reserved for only Chinese Royalty back in the day, hence the name)? This superfood has more antioxidants in it than blueberries without all the sugar. HERE is an interesting article on it if you want to find out more about it. I picked it up at my local grocery store right next to the wild rice. That is saying something because my grocery store is horrible. Like seriously. So I am proud of it for actually carrying something I want!!

I cooked up a big batch of rice and stored it in my fridge earlier this week. The rice takes awhile to cook (45 minutes) so I would do this while you are cooking something else or have time to be in the kitchen for a bit. It stores well so no need to worry. Also, this rice is actually really deep purple and turns your water purple while you are cooking it. MJ thought that was awesome.

Handsome Hubs really likes this rice too. That is saying something because he is reluctantly joining me on this quest. He is a good sport and will eat anything I put in front of him but I know he is super tired of having brown rice all the time. He isn't the biggest fan. I was nervous for him to try it even! But he loved it and said he likes it way more than brown rice. It has a nice nutty flavor and doesn't get mushy as easily as brown rice. Okay, so moving on...here is the recipe! (full recipe with measurements at bottom of post)

Brown your turkey and throw your spices in with it. When your turkey is cooked through, drain if you need to (I didn't), and then throw in your rice and marinara sauce.

(Kirkland is my favorite brand of marinara sauce. It has no added sugar, all clean ingredients, its delicious and it is cheap. Thank you Costco.)

Cut your peppers lengthwise, clean them out, place in a glass pan with a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom (not much, maybe a couple tablespoons).

Fill your peppers with the filling (I pack mine in pretty full, its fine if they are heaping over a bit). Top with the marinara sauce (I used all that was left in my jar and you can then pour the rest around the peppers too).

Top with Parmesan cheese. Then cover with foil and place in your oven at 350 for an hour. 

Take the foil off for 5 minutes and let the cheese get bubbly. 

YUM! Bubbs kept saying "Mmm, mmm" every time he took a bite. And the hubs said: "These are bomb." So they must be good, right??

Turkey and Black Rice Stuffed Peppers
Recipe by Darci Gardner

1-1.5 lbs. ground turkey
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 cup cooked black rice
1 ½ cup Kirkland Marinara Sauce

2 Bell Peppers (I used red and yellow, you could use any color you like)
Kirkland Marinara
Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the filling, brown the turkey with the basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. When the turkey is cooked through, stir in the cooked black rice and marinara sauce. This just coats the filling with sauce, not drenching it. You will be putting more sauce on top so don’t worry, it won’t be dry.

Slice open 2 Bell Peppers (could do more, this filling could easily fill 4 bell peppers (8 halves), possibly more depending on size of peppers, I froze what I didn’t use). I slice my peppers from top to bottom. This allows them to cook faster and also they lay easier in the dish when cooking. I keep the stems on because well...they look pretty and it is less work for me. Clean out the seeds and ribs from the peppers. Place in a glass baking dish with a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish (keeps food from sticking). Fill each pepper with filling. I really pack it in. Then dollop a bit of marinara sauce over the tops of each and, if you have any leftover, you can pour the remaining sauce around the peppers. Top the peppers with a bit of parmesan cheese if you like. Cover with tinfoil.

Bake in an oven at 350 for 60 minutes, covered with tinfoil. When peppers seem cooked through and tender, take off tinfoil and cook for another 5 minutes. Enjoy!


  1. Just tried them today - really yummy! I didn't have marinara so I made some, and didn't have ground turkey so I ground chicken and used that. The little had trouble chewing the peppers (but LOVED the filling) - I think next time I'll blanch and take the skin off the peppers first for an easier chewing consistency. I loved the black rice! Thanks for the recipe. :)

    1. So glad you liked them! Bubbs had a little trouble with the pepper part too but shoved handfuls of the filling in his mouth. He would eat the peppers and then pull the skin out of his mouth (but he does that for everything...including blueberries...kids are weird). So glad you liked the black rice! It is one of my very favorites!


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