Crock Pot Turkey & Rice Stuffed Peppers
You can make stuffed peppers in a Crock Pot… who knew?! I love stuffed peppers. Growing up, my yiayia (Greek for grandma) would make Greek-style stuffed peppers all the time. They were so freakin’ delicious- with meat, tomatoes, cinnamon, pine nuts, and fresh herbs. I’m sure she added some other goodness, but point is, she made me love stuffed peppers oh so much. (She’d also do stuffed tomatoes… yummy alternative if you have a bunch sitting around.) So I make stuffed peps a lot, but usually bake them. These, however, I did in the Crock Pot. Mmm mmm mmm delish (and so very convenient!).
The best thing is how easy they are. No pre-cooking necessary. Rice goes in raw, meat goes in raw. Huh, what, weird, right?! Yep- all raw. It almost makes it meatloafy-like in texture… the meat, tomatoes, and rice cook together and become one. Love it, both in flavor and in simplicity.
You could change this up and make it however you want- use beef, lamb, whatever really… any ground meat. And add whatever herbs you like too… I kept this one real simple in flavors, but you can get cray cray with your flavors if you’re in the mood!
I cooked these on high for 5 hours… it makes a nice soft pepper and tender cooked meat. If you like your peppers a little on the crunchier side, cook them for less time (but at least 3 1/2 hours to cook meat). You could also precook the meat and rice, make and season the stuffing, and then stuff the peppers- then you would cook the stuffed peppers just long enough to heat everything up and achieve the texture you want. To me, the beauty of this recipe is the ease and simplicity, so I prefer the easy-putting-everything-in-raw version
I recommend using a variety of colors- any are good, though preferably not green. I don’t think they’re as sweet or delicious for this type of thing, but of course they’ll work if that’s what you have.
Makes 3 large stuffed peppers
3 large bell peppers, multi-colored (preferably not green)
1/3 cup uncooked rice (for medium peppers- adjust if needed)
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, about a tbsp or so minced
3/4 cup diced tomatoes, w/juice (unsalted/unseasoned)
1/2 lb ground turkey (or other meat you like)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of allspice
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated pepperjack cheese
fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Finely chop onions
Add onion, garlic, and tomato together in a mixing bowl
(tomatoes with their juice- it keeps the stuffing moist during cooking)
Add to bowl
Now add meat and rice (both raw)
Clean and de-seed peppers… using a knife, cut a hole in the top and pull out- the insides
should come out easily- rinse peppers to remove any remaining seeds
Now you’re ready to stuff…
Using a spoon, scoop meat mixture into peppers- you don’t want to fill them completely to the top, which I remembered at the last minute- mine are even a bit too full. Ideally they’d be a little less full than shown here because the rice expands while it cooks. Fortunately, my peppers didn’t expand much and/or break, but that can happen if they are too full, so better safe than sorry
Place peppers on bottom of Crock Pot
This next step is not completely necessary, but again, better safe than sorry- add a teensy bit of water to the bottom of the pan. The peppers will release some moisture from the tomato juice and meat, but if you’re going to be gone a while and these will be cooking for a long time, better add just a teeny so that the peppers don’t stick to the bottom!
Grate your cheese
Divide cheese over peppers (save a little for the end- or you can grate more to top them off at the end)
Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 6-7
(Please read info. in intro. about cooking times if you prefer your peppers with a slight crunch, rather than soft)
Warning- when they are done, they will look a little funny- like little wrinkly creatures, but no worries, they’ll look scrumptious by the time you’re done with them!
Top with a little extra cheese and allow it to melt
(not only will it cover up the wrinkly weirdness, but it will also make it that much yummier)
Then top with fresh basil leaves and serve!