Thanksgiving is in a week. But instead of providing you with an extensive list of what you should absolutely make for the big T-day, I bring you stuffed peppers. Ummm with a homemade sloppy joe filling, quinoa and cheese. Sometimes I do not know why I do the things I do; they just seem delicious.
Now I’m definitely not saying that you should make stuffed peppers for Thanksgiving, but if you’re like me and you’re trying to eat healthy these aren’t a bad choice to have for lunch or dinner leading up to next Thursday.
By the way? Have I told you about my obsession with sloppy joes? Goodness, they are by far one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. So saucy, easy to make and nostalgic. Making them healthy is a breeze too so you better donate that can of Manwich to the local food shelf because from making your own sauce is much more delicious. My basic sloppy joe sauce can be found here. Lip smackin’ good, no doubt about it.
So what I did here was all pretty simple. I cooked up some turkey and made my own sloppy J sauce with some ketchup (the good kind like Muir Glen), some low-sugar bbq sauce (anything less than 40 calories per 2 tbsps is good), mustard, worschershire, tomato sauce, and a little cayenne for a tiny bit of heat. You simmer the sauce with extra lean ground turkey, onion and garlic and it’s like your mom just made a good old batch of sloppy joes for you.
Of course, I didn’t just want these to be all about meat, so I added some quinoa in there and the texture is absolutely phenomenal, plus I find that it helps to keep me full.
Then top those babies off with some ooey-gooey cheese and you’re golden.
Best yet, these reheat wonderfully and are even freezer friendly. And they’re only about 205 calories per pepper half! Gotta love that.
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More healthy dinner recipes to try:
White Bean, Spinach & Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers with Burrata
30 Minute Healthier Turkey Sloppy Joes with Homemade Sauce!
Amazing Slow Cooker Turkey Tacos + video
Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Black Bean, Corn & Sweet Potato
Quinoa and Turkey Sloppy Joe Stuffed Bell Peppers
Delicious quinoa and turkey sloppy joe stuffed bell peppers - a healthy twist on a childhood favorite. This easy dinner is protein-packed and only 200 calories per pepper!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 medium bell peppers
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound 99% extra lean ground turkey
- 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2- 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup organic ketchup
- 3 tablespoon low sugar bbq sauce
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- dash of red pepper flakes, optional
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mexican cheese (or any kind you prefer), plus extra if you'd like!
Prepare peppers by removing and discarding the tops, seeds and membranes. Then cut the peppers in half lengthwise. I find it's easiest to do this with a paring knife.
Spray a large 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray, then arrange peppers so that they all fit. Pour 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the pan (for helping to steam the peppers).
Cook quinoa: In a small pot, add 1 1/3 cups of water, quinoa and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Once done cooking, fluff quinoa with fork, remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
While the quinoa is cooking, you can make the turkey filling: Place olive oil in skillet or large pan over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add ground turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes; breaking up and stirring consistently.
While turkey is cooking, add ketchup, tomato sauce, bbq sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to a medium mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
Set 1/2 cup of the sauce aside (for putting on top the peppers), then pour the rest of the sauce into the cooked turkey mixture and stir. Bring heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in quinoa and simmer for a few more minutes. Then fill each pepper with turkey quinoa mixture. You may have a lot of filling, but these peppers are supposed to be a bit overflowing! Evenly distribute the sauce over each pepper filling then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese on each; you can add more if you'd like.
Cover pan with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes or until peppers are knife tender and cheese is melted. Enjoy immediately!
I could not stand stuffed peppers or stuffed cabbage growing up. I have gotten over the peppers and enjoy them now, but have yet to retry stuffed cabbage. I’d love to try these though!
These look really good!
When you say one pepper is it one of the stuffed half peppers or is it 2 of the half stuffed peppers?
It’s one of the half stuffed peppers – there are 8 servings.
I made these last night and they were delicious! But what’s the best way to warm them up a day later? Should I put them in the oven (if so, what temperature and time amount) or would the microwave work fine?
The microwave works fine, or you can put them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
You’ve combined some of my fave foods of all time — sloppy joes and stuffed peppers — AND made it healthy. You’re my hero.
Hi Monique! I have known of your blog for a while, I saw those brown butter cookies on the King Arthur Flour youtube channel and those looked SO good. I love these peppers because I love stuffed peppers and sloppy joes- and that cheese looks SO good on top. These would go great on a thanksgiving table. Thank you!
This looks so comforting and delicious! My guys would love this!
Yummm. These peppers look amazing! I’ve never seen such beautiful stuffed peppers before.
Does anyone else notice a taste difference between green peppers and all of the other colors? My kids and I cannot stomach the green ones, but love red, yellow, and orange peppers. I could definitely see us making this one night!
I made them earlier this week, it’s a big hit for the household. I made the stuffing and stuffed the peppers on sunday afternoon (It made 10 peppers but they were all on the smaller side) and refrigerated for the night. I added the rest of the bbq sauce and cheese the next day right before cooking for 60 minutes instead of 45 since everything was cold. It’s a great meal for week days.
I’ll definitively try the original sloppy joe now!
My husband is sooooo picky & he loved these! I am eternally grateful for this recipe.
Dont judge but I used microwavable quinoa to save some time 🙂
How would you recommend freezing them?
Place in airtight plastic container! 🙂
Hi Monique! Thanks for sharing this recipe – hoping to make these tonight! One thing – I don’t have any Worcestershire sauce. Do you think I should replace it with something else? Or just leave the rest of the recipe the same – but without it? Thanks in advance! 🙂
Just leave it out!
I have had these for 2x lunch and 2x dinner this week! Partly because the quantities I made (and our tiny freezer) meant I had to eat that much, but they taste so good I would have chosen to eat them that frequently anyway!
Sloppy Joes don’t really exist in the UK, but I loved the flavour of these. I didn’t have any mustard but it didn’t detract from the flavour at all. As well as grating cheese over the top I mixed in some Emmental (although any good “melty” cheese would do!) throughout the filling too so as I was eating I’d suddenly get a mouthful of glorious stretchy cheesy goodness!
My only concern is the sugar content, I couldn’t find reduced-sugar bbq sauce anywhere in my local supermarket so will have to try online!
I made these tonight, AHHH-MAZE-BALLS!
I know I’m super late with this comment, but I wanted to mention that my one concern is the time involved. I may not be the fastest in the kitchen, but I’m not a newbie either. This recipe took me a solid 2 hours. I had time to clean up the kitchen while the peppers were in the oven, but the rest of the time was completely hands on. Just wanted to mention it for others that will make this recipe!
Monique, I am a huge fan of your unique recipes! Every one that I’ve tried has been fantastic (including this one!)! I wanted to make sure you knew that they are appreciated years after you have posted them!!
With the quinoa cooking this recipe can be a bit time intensive! They do make great leftovers, too, so the time you put it is put to good use 🙂 I’m so glad you’re loving these recipes (including my older ones!)
such a good recipe!!
These look so good in your pictures, they are in my oven as I type this, but I just have a question about the sauce amount: I might be missing something, but the amount of sauce made only comes out to 1/2 cup total, so how is it possible to set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce to pour on at the end, with the rest going right into the turkey & quinoa mixture?
Nevermind, I just realized I COMPLETELY missed the tomato sauce! They were still delicious, will try to make them again this time reading through the ingredient list more thoroughly 🙂
Whoops! Glad you enjoyed regardless!
Easy and delicious! Even my 2 year old couldn’t get enough!
So happy to hear that!
This is the best stuffed peppers recipe I’ve ever had. The only change I make is using quinoa and brown rice mix that comes in a package. I’ve been making this recipe for 6 years and always a hit!
Perfect! I’m glad this has been a favorite for awhile!
This recipe is so good! I made it with beef instead of turkey. The quinoa gives the filling the best texture!
Perfect! Such a great dinner 🙂
These are a staple for me. They’re not heavy and are very good! Make great leftovers.
So happy to hear that!