Thursday, April 7, 2011

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Peppers

Here is something Mom never made growing up - stuffed peppers.  My dad detests them.  Apparently my grandmother used to make them, but I have little memory of hers.

I tried to make them once last year and failed. Miserably.  The recipe didn't tell you to pre-cook brown rice, claiming it would cook inside the pepper.  It didn't.

This recipe originally called for bulgur (cooked first!), but I used quinoa instead since I already had it. And I love quinoa!

I also kicked up the spice a lot - per usual. I doubled the amount of red pepper flakes and added cayenne pepper.  I loved the extra spice but if you can't handle the heat, feel free to tone it down or omit all together.

The kicker in these peppers were the artichokes.  Artichokes just might be my favorite veggie (are they a veggie?) - I love them fresh but I also love canned hearts.  I could eat them straight out of the can.  And they are a wonderful addition to this recipe.

Yes, I did bake them in a heart shaped pan.  But only because my 8 x 8 inch pan was used for dessert.  I'll let you know what I made soon!

Overall, this was a really great recipe.  The quinoa is nutty, while the cottage cheese and turkey are hardy, and the peppers are sweet. The dish was very filling! And it really isn't that difficult to put together - although it did make a lot more dirty dishes than I would have liked. The hardest part was finding a side dish, since almost every food group - meat, dairy, grain, veg - were all covered by the stuffed pepper.  We ended up eating it with greek salad, which was a great complement.  I recommend you make these. For dinner. Tonight.

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Peppers
Adapted slightly from Cara's Cravings

1/4 cup quinoa
4 large red bell peppers
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15oz can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 oz grated pecorino romano cheese, divided
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (I used Newman's Own Sockarooni) 

In a small saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully cut the stems from the peppers and remove the seeds and inner ribs. Cook the peppers in boiling water for about 5 minutes; drain and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cook the ground turkey, onion, and garlic in a skillet over medium heat, stirring to break up the ground turkey, until browned. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and crushed red pepper. Add the chopped artichoke hearts and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine the ground turkey mixture, cooked quinoa, cottage cheese, basil, parsley, and 3/4 of the pecorino romano cheese; mix well.

Spray an 8x8" baking dish or small casserole. Fill the peppers with the turkey mixture, packing the stuffing in well. Place the peppers in the baking dish and spoon the spaghetti sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining pecorino romano.

Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes.


Anonymous said...

I've always wondered how to actually get the stuffing into the peppers! you do a great job of showing! Thanks!

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

Wow this looks great! I great up eating something like this...but this is a much healthier version. Quinoa- a gift from the gods!

Mom/Laurie said...

ok - this looks tasty and delicious - mom will learn to disguise the peppers so dad will eat them without complaining!!

Debbie said...

i am going to make it tomorrow night!