For Brian’s birthday a number of years back, I made a huge Mediterranean feast. We both love Mediterranean food: salty feta, briny olives, creamy tzatziki, flavorful meats and fishes. I created a whole menu based on our love for these foods which included my first attempt at stuffed peppers. I got the original recipe from The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook which I received as a present from a co-worker a number of years ago during a holiday present swap. These peppers were filled with the flavors of the Mediterranean: rice, olive oil, quality tomatoes, currants, parsley, pine nuts. The flavors were a lovely balance of sweet and savory. They came out beautifully and everyone seemed to love them.
Recently, we have been eating a lot less carbs during dinner and I wanted to make a stuffed pepper that reflected our eating changes. I swapped out the rice for lean ground turkey and decreased the olive oil significantly from the original recipe. What resulted was a sweet-savory protein packed dinner. I served it with garlic broccoli.
2 large red bell peppers
2 ounces pine nuts
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-1.3 pounds lean ground turkey
1 cup strained tomato (or no salt added tomato puree)
3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
½ cup dried cherries or currants
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350
1. Toast pine nuts in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. In the same pan, still on medium heat, add the olive oil, chopped onion, and a pinch of salt. Sautee 5-10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.
3. Push the onions to the side of the pan and add the ground turkey. As the turkey begins to cook, break it up and mix it in with the onions. Cook turkey until no pink remains.
4. Add strained tomato, parsley, dried cherries, cinnamon, pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Cook down together on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
5. While mixture is cooking, cut peppers lengthwise and remove seeds and ribs. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and place the peppers in the dish.
6. Divide meat mixture equally among the 4 pepper halves. The mixture will be slightly overflowing.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until peppers are tender.