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.


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi January 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm

looks delish


Anne Papina January 30, 2013 at 7:27 pm

thanks! they are quite yummy if I do say so myself! 🙂


Deb March 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm

These were absolutely amazing!! Will definitely make them again!


Anne Papina March 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback–I’m so glad you enjoyed them! It’s definitely one of my favorite go-to recipes around here!


anita March 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I made these stuffed peppers today. My husband said I hit one out of the park.
They were so good and full of great flavors.


Anne Papina March 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm

So glad to hear it! Thanks for letting me know! I keep a stash in my freezer too–easy to grab one in the morning to bring to work!


June Simonton April 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm

We are waiting for it to come out of the oven, but the filling is delicious.I know it will be even better all done.


Anne Papina April 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm

ooh awesome–enjoy! I love that it makes enough filling so that I can pick at it while I stuff the peppers!


Denise May 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Saw this on Pinterest and made it tonight with collards. Excellent. Thanks for this idea!


Anne Papina May 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

So glad you enjoyed it!


Katie June 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

Love this recipe. Had so much left over used in Tao salad the next night. Was super delicious


Anne Papina June 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

Glad to hear you enjoyed it! It does make a lot–sometimes we use the extra filling to make soft tacos. Tao salad sounds excellent too!


April January 8, 2015 at 9:44 am

I need to know the sodium for this recipe please.


Anne Papina January 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Hi April — the amount of sodium will vary depending on the salsa you use, as the only other sodium is what’s naturally occurring in the ingredients. That being said, I entered this into myfitnesspal.com to get the nutrition breakdown (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/view/67636666609261), and *without* the salsa, it’s approximately 96mg sodium per serving. That number will increase with the salsa, so finding a low-sodium variety (or making your own) will be your best bet–It seems the jars I have around here run about 70mg/serving just on their own! Hope this helps!


Brenda Toney January 12, 2018 at 7:31 am

Love it and plan to share. Do you know the calorie count on this? Mine are in the oven, so excited. My husband had a heart attack and is on a very low sodium diet, my sample was packed full of flavor! I am a calorie counter and that pack with now low sodium….I feel I hit the jackpot with this! Thank you .


Anne Papina January 16, 2018 at 8:45 pm

Hope you enjoyed them! I’ll have to see if I can figure out the calorie count!


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