Unstuffed Pepper Bowls Recipe

Unstuffed pepper bowl is a deconstructed variation of traditional stuffed peppers. This recipe is perfect for those who love the flavors of stuffed peppers but are looking for something quicker to prepare. The dish is packed with lean ground turkey and bell peppers, flavored with spices, and served over cauliflower rice for a healthy, low-carb meal.

Unstuffed Pepper Bowls Recipe
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Most ingredients in this recipe are common pantry staples. The one ingredient that you may need to purchase is cauliflower rice. This has become increasingly popular as a low-carb substitute for regular rice and can be found in the frozen vegetable section of most supermarkets. If you prefer, you can also make your own cauliflower rice at home by finely chopping or grating a head of cauliflower.

Ingredients for Unstuffed Pepper Bowl

Olive oil: Used for sautéing the onions and bell peppers and also for cooking the turkey.

Yellow onion: Adds a sweet, caramel-like flavor to the dish.

Bell pepper: Provides a sweet, slightly bitter flavor and adds color to the dish.

Ground turkey: A lean protein source.

Garlic cloves: Adds a robust, pungent flavor.

Chili powder: Gives a mild heat and smoky flavor to the dish.

Ground cumin: Has an earthy, nutty flavor.

Cayenne pepper: Adds a spicy kick to the dish.

Tomatoes: Provides a sweet and tangy flavor.

Fresh parsley: Used for garnishing and adds a fresh, slightly bitter taste.

Cauliflower rice: A low-carb substitute for regular rice.

Cheddar cheese: Adds a sharp and tangy flavor and creaminess to the dish.

One reader, Dulcinea Thigpen says:

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This unstuffed pepper bowl recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are incredible, and it's so easy to make. I love how versatile it is - I can easily customize it to my taste. Plus, it's a healthier alternative to traditional stuffed peppers. I highly recommend trying it!

Dulcinea Thigpen

Cooking Techniques to Master

How to sauté vegetables: Sauté the onions and bell peppers in olive oil until softened, seasoning with salt and pepper.

How to cook ground turkey: Cook the ground turkey in a skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up into large crumbles and seasoning with salt and pepper until golden brown and almost fully cooked through.

How to season ground turkey: Season the ground turkey with garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne, ensuring the flavors are evenly distributed.

How to assemble the dish: Plate the cauliflower rice, top it with cheddar cheese, and then add the ground turkey mixture on top before serving.

How To Make Unstuffed Pepper Bowls

A healthier option for the classic stuffed peppers is these tasty unstuffed pepper bowls, loaded with tender turkey and cauliflower rice for a filling meal!

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes



  • 2tbspolive oil,divided
  • 1cupsmall yellow onion,diced
  • 2cupsbell pepper,any color, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper,to taste
  • 1lblean ground turkey
  • 2tspgarlic cloves,minced
  • 1tspchili powder
  • 1tspground cumin
  • cayenne pepper,(few dashes), optional
  • 14.5oztomatoes,(1 can), diced and drained
  • 3tbspfresh parsley,minced
  • 10ozcauliflower rice,(2 packages), frozen, cooked according to package instructions, seasoned with salt
  • 1cupcheddar cheese,finely shredded, optional


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes then add bell peppers, season with salt and pepper.

  2. Sauté for about 6 minutes until softened. Transfer pepper mixture to a plate.

  3. In a skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining olive oil. Add in turkey in large crumbles, season with salt and pepper. 

  4. Let rest for about 2 minutes until golden brown on the bottom, then toss.

  5. Continue to cook and break up the turkey for about 2 minutes until almost fully cooked through, then add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne.

  6. Cook the turkey through for about 1 minute, then stir in the tomatoes and pepper mixture and warm through. Stir in the parsley.

  7. Plate the cauliflower rice, top with cheddar cheese, then finish with ground turkey mixture.

  8. Serve warm, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 443.06kcal
  • Fat: 27.54g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.82g
  • Trans Fat: 0.51g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 10.87g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.94g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.30g
  • Fiber: 5.47g
  • Sugar: 8.66g
  • Protein: 34.05g
  • Cholesterol: 111.90mg
  • Sodium: 1018.67mg
  • Calcium: 302.16mg
  • Potassium: 1011.87mg
  • Iron: 3.08mg
  • Vitamin A: 292.30µg
  • Vitamin C: 149.87mg

Expert Advice for Perfecting Your Technique

To ensure your ground turkey is cooked thoroughly and evenly, make sure to break it up into small crumbles as it cooks. This will also help the spices and flavors to distribute evenly throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish. Additionally, when sautéing the onions and bell peppers, keep an eye on the heat. If it's too high, the vegetables may burn and become bitter. A medium-high heat should allow them to soften and caramelize without burning.

Time-Saving Hacks for Busy Cooks

Use pre-chopped vegetables: Save time by using pre-chopped vegetables, which can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores.

Batch cook: Prepare a large batch of the ground turkey mixture and freeze it in portions for quick and easy future meals.

One-pan cooking: Opt for one-pan cooking to minimize clean-up and streamline the cooking process.

Microwave cauliflower rice: Use pre-packaged microwaveable cauliflower rice to cut down on prep time and dishes.

Pre-shredded cheese: Utilize pre-shredded cheese to skip the step of grating it yourself.

Plan ahead: Plan your meals for the week in advance to streamline your grocery shopping and meal preparation.

Substitute Ingredients For Unstuffed Pepper Bowls Recipe

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a similar smoke point and mild flavor, making it a suitable substitute for olive oil in this recipe.

  • bell pepper - Substitute with zucchini: Zucchini can add a similar texture and mild flavor to the dish, making it a good substitute for bell peppers.

  • ground turkey - Substitute with lean ground beef: Lean ground beef can be used as a substitute for ground turkey to add a different flavor profile to the dish.

  • cauliflower rice - Substitute with quinoa: Quinoa can be used as a substitute for cauliflower rice to add a different texture and nutty flavor to the dish.

  • cheddar cheese - Substitute with mozzarella cheese: Mozzarella cheese can be used as a substitute for cheddar cheese to add a milder flavor and gooey texture to the dish.

Plating Ideas for a Delightful Presentation

  1. Elevate the plating: As culinary professionals, presentation is key. Use edible flowers or microgreens to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish. Consider the placement of each component to create an aesthetically pleasing arrangement on the plate.

  2. Incorporate precision: Pay attention to the placement of the cauliflower rice and ground turkey mixture. Use a ring mold to create a neat and compact base for the dish, ensuring that each element is meticulously positioned for a refined presentation.

  3. Focus on texture contrast: Create visual interest by incorporating elements with varying textures. Consider adding a crispy element, such as kale chips, to provide a delightful crunch alongside the tender components of the dish.

  4. Emphasize the cheese: Instead of simply sprinkling cheddar cheese on top, consider grating it finely and delicately layering it over the dish. This will showcase the cheese as a premium ingredient and add a touch of sophistication to the overall presentation.

  5. Highlight the colors: Utilize the vibrant hues of the bell peppers and other ingredients to create a visually striking composition. Arrange the components thoughtfully to showcase the natural colors and enhance the overall appeal of the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools You'll Need

  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting, slicing, and chopping ingredients.

  • Chef's knife: A versatile kitchen knife used for a variety of tasks such as chopping, slicing, and dicing.

  • Skillet: A frying pan with a flat bottom and sloping sides, used for sautéing, frying, and searing ingredients.

  • Spatula: A kitchen tool with a broad, flat, blunt blade, used for lifting, flipping, and spreading ingredients.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Used for accurately measuring ingredients in both liquid and dry form.

  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing, stirring, and combining ingredients.

  • Food processor: A kitchen appliance used for chopping, blending, and pureeing ingredients.

  • Grater: A tool used for grating cheese, vegetables, and other ingredients.

  • Skewers: Long, narrow metal or wooden sticks used for grilling and skewering ingredients.

  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking, roasting, and broiling food.

  • Stove: A cooking appliance with burners used for cooking food in pots and pans.

  • Cheese grater: A kitchen tool specifically designed for grating cheese into fine pieces.

  • Colander: A bowl-shaped kitchen tool with perforations used for draining liquids from food.

  • Can opener: A tool used for opening cans of ingredients such as tomatoes or beans.

  • Tongs: A kitchen tool with two arms and a pivot used for picking up and manipulating food.

  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting, slicing, and chopping ingredients.

  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing, stirring, and combining ingredients.

  • Baking dish: A deep, oven-safe dish used for baking casseroles, desserts, and other dishes.

  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for whipping, beating, and mixing ingredients together.

Storage and Freezing Guidelines

  • To store leftovers, allow the unstuffed pepper bowl to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
  • When reheating, you can either microwave individual portions or reheat the entire dish in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to prevent drying out.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the unstuffed pepper bowl. Divide the cooled mixture into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents for easy identification.
  • Freeze for up to 2-3 months. When ready to eat, thaw the unstuffed pepper bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat the thawed mixture in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. You may need to add a little water or broth to restore moisture.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat the frozen unstuffed pepper bowl directly from the freezer. Transfer the frozen mixture to a skillet and cook over medium-low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until heated through. This may take longer than reheating thawed portions.
  • Keep in mind that the texture of the vegetables may change slightly after freezing and reheating, but the flavors will still be delicious.

Reheating Tips for Optimal Flavor

  • Stovetop method: transfer the leftover unstuffed pepper bowl to a skillet or saucepan. add a splash of chicken broth or water to help moisten the dish and prevent it from drying out. heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is heated through and the cauliflower rice is warm and fluffy. if desired, sprinkle some additional shredded cheddar cheese on top and let it melt before serving.

  • Microwave method: place the leftover unstuffed pepper bowl in a microwave-safe dish. cover the dish with a damp paper towel to help retain moisture. microwave on high power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the mixture is heated through and the cauliflower rice is warm and fluffy. be careful not to overheat, as this can cause the ground turkey to become dry and tough. if desired, sprinkle some additional shredded cheddar cheese on top and let it melt before serving.

  • Oven method: preheat your oven to 350°f (175°c). transfer the leftover unstuffed pepper bowl to an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil. place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through and the cauliflower rice is warm and fluffy. remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of reheating to allow any excess moisture to evaporate and the top to slightly crisp up. if desired, sprinkle some additional shredded cheddar cheese on top during the last few minutes of baking, allowing it to melt before serving.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to stir the unstuffed pepper bowl well to ensure even heating throughout. also, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, as flavors can sometimes become muted during storage. if the mixture seems dry, add a small amount of chicken broth, water, or even salsa to help moisten it and restore its original texture.

Interesting Trivia About Unstuffed Pepper Bowls

The Unstuffed Pepper Bowl recipe is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional stuffed peppers. It's a great way to enjoy all the flavors of stuffed peppers without the hassle of stuffing them. This recipe is packed with lean ground turkey, colorful bell peppers, and cauliflower rice, making it a nutritious and low-carb meal option. Plus, it's a versatile dish that can be customized with your favorite toppings and seasonings. So, if you're looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, give this Unstuffed Pepper Bowl recipe a try!

Budget-Friendly or Splurge-Worthy?

This unstuffed pepper bowl recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The key ingredients, such as bell peppers, ground turkey, and cauliflower rice, are budget-friendly and nutritious. The recipe's versatility allows for easy customization based on available ingredients, reducing potential food waste. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-20, making it an affordable and satisfying meal option. Overall, I would rate this recipe an 8 for its affordability, nutritional value, and delicious flavors.

Is This Dish Healthy or Not So Much?

The unstuffed pepper bowl recipe is a healthier twist on the classic stuffed peppers, with a few areas for improvement. Here's a breakdown of the recipe's health aspects:


  • The recipe uses lean ground turkey, which is a good source of protein and lower in fat compared to ground beef.
  • Bell peppers and onions provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Cauliflower rice is used as a low-carb alternative to traditional rice, reducing the overall carbohydrate content.
  • The use of olive oil provides healthy monounsaturated fats.


  • The recipe includes cheddar cheese, which can be high in saturated fat and calories.
  • The amount of sodium in the dish may be elevated due to the addition of salt and canned tomatoes.

To further enhance the nutritional value of this recipe, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of cheddar cheese used or opt for a lower-fat cheese alternative, such as reduced-fat cheddar or a sprinkle of parmesan.
  • Use low-sodium canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes to decrease the overall sodium content.
  • Increase the variety of vegetables by adding mushrooms, zucchini, or carrots to the pepper mixture for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Experiment with different spice blends to reduce the need for added salt while maintaining flavor. Try using smoked paprika, oregano, or thyme.
  • Serve the unstuffed pepper bowl with a side salad or roasted vegetables to increase the overall nutrient density of the meal.
  • Replace a portion of the ground turkey with plant-based protein sources, such as lentils or black beans, to increase fiber and reduce saturated fat content.

Our Editor's Honest Opinion on This Recipe

This unstuffed pepper bowl recipe offers a delightful twist on traditional stuffed peppers. The combination of lean ground turkey, colorful bell peppers, and aromatic spices creates a flavorful and satisfying dish. The use of cauliflower rice adds a healthy and low-carb element, while the cheddar cheese provides a creamy and indulgent finish. The recipe's simplicity and vibrant flavors make it a versatile and appealing option for a wholesome meal.

Enhance Your Unstuffed Pepper Bowls Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with melted butter.
Roasted Vegetables: Colorful medley of roasted vegetables, drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with fresh herbs.
Fruit Salad: Refreshing fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits, tossed in a light honey-lime dressing.

Similar Recipes to Try Next

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup: This hearty soup is a delicious twist on traditional stuffed bell peppers, packed with all the flavors you love in a comforting bowl.
Turkey and Pepper Stir-Fry: This quick and easy stir-fry is a perfect weeknight meal, combining lean ground turkey with colorful bell peppers for a flavorful and healthy dish.
Cheesy Stuffed Pepper Casserole: Indulge in the flavors of stuffed peppers with this cheesy casserole, featuring all the delicious elements of the classic dish in a convenient and comforting bake.

Appetizer and Dessert Suggestions

Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your taste buds with these savory and indulgent stuffed mushrooms. Perfect for a sophisticated appetizer or a flavorful addition to any meal.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Indulge in the creamy and rich flavors of this classic spinach and artichoke dip. Perfect for sharing with friends or enjoying as a delicious starter.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and decadent texture of the mousse will melt in your mouth, leaving you craving for more.
Apple Pie: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a classic apple pie, with a flaky golden crust and a sweet, cinnamon-spiced apple filling. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Why trust this Unstuffed Pepper Bowls Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful twist on the classic stuffed pepper dish, providing a healthier alternative without compromising on flavor. The use of lean ground turkey and cauliflower rice makes it a nutritious option, while the blend of chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper adds a satisfying kick. The incorporation of fresh bell peppers and tomatoes ensures a burst of vibrant flavors, while the finishing touch of melted cheddar cheese adds a comforting richness. With a harmonious balance of wholesome ingredients and bold seasonings, this recipe promises a delightful and satisfying dining experience.

Share your thoughts on the Unstuffed Pepper Bowls Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any tips or variations to make this dish even better!
What can I use as a substitute for ground turkey?
You can substitute ground turkey with ground chicken, lean ground beef, or even plant-based ground meat for a vegetarian option.
Can I use frozen bell peppers instead of fresh ones?
Yes, you can use frozen bell peppers if fresh ones are not available. Just make sure to thaw and drain them before using in the recipe.
How can I make this recipe spicier?
If you prefer a spicier flavor, you can increase the amount of chili powder and cayenne pepper to your taste. You can also add a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick.
Can I use regular rice instead of cauliflower rice?
Absolutely! You can use regular cooked rice as a base instead of cauliflower rice if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Is it possible to make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the components of the recipe ahead of time and assemble it when you're ready to serve. The flavors often meld together even better when it's been sitting for a while.

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