I’m a huge fan of Halloween. Like big time. If it was socially acceptable for a 30-year-old to dress up and go trick-or-treating, I probably would. Not for the candy so much as the nostalgia.
I love being festive and healthy at the same time, so in the spirit of Halloween, I whipped up this fun Stuffed Pepper Pumpkins recipe for dinner. I saw the photos for this recipe on Pinterest and fell in love. Things with faces get me every time.
Instead of making the traditional stuffed pepper filling with ground beef and rice, I switched it up and used quinoa and ground turkey. Less fat and more protein – thumbs up!
I whipped up the filling and meticulously carved the little pumpkin faces into each of the orange bell peppers with a paring knife. For the record, carving a face in a bell pepper is way harder than it might seem, but if I can do it, anyone can. My knife was just gliding through the skin and I may have lost a few pumpkin teeth that I was trying to create.
Here’s what they looked like after baking for about 35-40 minutes:
If you want to whip these up for Halloween or even as a tasty family dinner any time (with or without the faces), here’s the recipe:
Quinoa Stuffed Pepper Pumpkins
- 4 orange bell peppers
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup white onion, diced
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 can tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash your orange bell peppers and cut off the tops around the stem – kinda like a pumpkin. With your fingers, pull out the membranes and seeds from inside the peppers. Carve your fun jack-o-lantern faces into the front of your peppers.
3. Brown your ground turkey in a pan. When it’s ready, remove it from the pan and set aside.
4. Add the olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add your onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until the onions start to become translucent. Add your spinach and cook until the pieces are wilted.
5. Add the ground turkey and cooked quinoa into the veggie mixture (I cooked my quinoa in low sodium chicken broth for extra flavor).
6. Pour the can of tomato sauce on top of the mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired, and stir until everything is combined.
7. Using a spoon, fill your orange bell pepper pumpkins with the mixture and place them in a baking dish. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
8. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and pop them back into the oven uncovered for a few minutes until the cheese is nice and melty.
Note: If you don’t dig quinoa or any of the veggies listed feel free to swap them. Instead of quinoa you can use brown rice. If you aren’t a mushroom fan, you can go for carrots or celery. Make it your own spooktacular creation.