Heart Healthy Stuffed Peppers

by Anne Papina on January 27, 2013

Heart Healthy Stuffed Peppers

I have a confession to make. You’d never know from the calorie laden recipes here, but I’m a Dr. Oz fan. It’s true. I love watching the show, and he inspires me to adopt healthier habits, even if I don’t always follow through. I know, I know, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Really not true. Mine is paved with pasta and brie, and the flagmen typically hand out cupcakes along the way. While I may not make the best food choices every day, it’s that little bit of motivation Dr. Oz provides that prevents me from sliding down a very slippery, buttery slope.

A couple of years ago, he demoed the Kitchen Diva’s Energy-Boosting Stuffed Bell Peppers on one of his cooking segments. The peppers looked so good, I just had to try them. That night. They were so simple, I didn’t even bother looking up the recipe. These peppers have been in regular rotation here since. While the original recipe called for a jar of chunky salsa, I found I enjoyed these best with pico de gallo instead. Either way, choose your salsa carefully as it can easily dominate this dish. In addition to some other changes, I’ve omitted salt as the salsa adds enough salt for my taste. Too, I firmly believe that once you start reducing the salt in your cooking you’ll find that you don’t really miss it (granted this doesn’t happen overnight), and ultimately you’ll grow a better appreciation for the natural flavors of the ingredients themselves.

The peppers can be prepped ahead so that they’re ready to pop into the oven when you get home from work. They freeze well after cooking, which is why my freezer is stocked with them–makes packing lunch for work a breeze, plus they’re a quick and healthy meal–just pop them in the microwave until heated through and serve on a bed of greens. Viola!

So let’s begin.
halved bell peppers

First, spray your baking dish with the olive oil spray. Then wash and halve the peppers lengthwise, removing the white pithy ribs, the stems and the seeds. Line these up in the pan and set aside.


Spray a large non-stick skillet with the olive oil spray, then sauté the onions and garlic until they start to brown. If they give you any trouble sticking, a quick splash of water or broth will fix that.

ground turkey

Add in the ground turkey, breaking it up as it browns. Once the turkey is cooked, stir in the spices, the salsa, rice and quinoa, and heat through.

turkey mixture

Turn off the heat and toss in the spinach. Be sure to chop it up better than I did.

Heart Healthy Stuffed Peppers

Pack the turkey mixture into the pepper halves so that they’re bulging. About a cup of filling. Then sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Heart Healthy Stuffed Peppers

Bake until golden and the peppers are tender.

Heart Healthy Stuffed Peppers

Serve with a nice tossed salad or directly on a fresh plate of greens.


5.0 from 4 reviews
Heart Healthy Stuffed Peppers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These low-fat, low-sodium peppers are stuffed with a mixture of turkey, rice, quinoa, spinach, and salsa and are packed with flavor.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • 5 bell peppers (mix it up with red, yellow, and orange)
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 oz package ground turkey
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 (12-16 oz) jar pico di gallo or your favorite low-sodium salsa
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, and remove the white pithy ribs along with the seeds and stems.
  3. Spray baking dish with olive oil spray and arrange peppers in the dish.
  4. Spray a large non-stick skillet with the olive oil spray. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until it starts to brown. If the onions and garlic start to stick, add a splash of water or broth to deglaze the pan.
  5. Add the ground turkey to the pan, cooking until lightly browned and breaking it up as it cooks. Stir in the black pepper, chili powder and coriander.
  6. Next add the salsa, the quinoa and the rice, heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped spinach.
  7. Pack the turkey mixture into the pepper halves so that it's heaping, about a cup (see pictures). Sprinkle the tops with the cheddar cheese and bake about 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender. Serve immediately.
Save some time--cook the brown rice and quinoa together. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil. Stir in ½ cup brown rice. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in ½ cup quinoa and cook covered for an additional 15 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit for 5 minutes.


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