I love recreating classics. Especially if the classics are lightened up without the sacrifice of losing flavors. This recipe from Natural Noshing blog is a lighter remake of the traditional Russian stuffed peppers. Even the boyfriend, who skeptically approaches all poultry-replacing-red meat dishes, enjoyed the dish. I used a mix of ground turkey and chicken for the stuffing as I sometimes find ground turkey to be too dry. I also used green bell peppers instead of red and didn’t add zucchini. This dish is delicious and, as much as I am afraid to say, might replace my Russian favorite.
Ingredients: 2 large red bell peppers cut in half and seeded, 1/2 pound ground turkey, 3 teaspoons oil divided, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 chopped zucchini, 1 chopped carrot, 1 cup fresh baby spinach torn into pieces, 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/3 cup shredded cheese (I didn’t add any)
Preheat oven to 350. Place peppers in a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Set the dish aside. To a large skillet on medium heat add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the ground meat, cumin, garlic and oregano and cook until meat is cooked through for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove meat from the pan. Add the remaining olive, onion, zucchini and carrot
Stuff the peppers with meat. If not using cheese, bake for 15 minutes. If using cheese, bake for 12. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 4 more.
The authors advices to fill small oven-safe bowl or ramekin halfway with water and placing the bowl in the middle of the baking pan in the middle of peppers or pour tomato sauce into the baking dish. This is supposed to keep turkey mixture moist while baking. I had enough sauce inside the pepper and so I did not do either step.