When craving a healthy, hearty family dinner, these low-carb stuffed peppers are a winner. The recipe uses lean ground turkey and taco seasoning for meaty Mexican stuffed peppers to keep you coming back for another bite. Try these turkey taco-stuffed peppers tonight.
Mexican turkey stuffed peppers are one of my favorite dinners because they’re easy to make, are always moist and flavorful and satisfy my taco cravings while keeping carbs to a minimum.
What I like most about these taco stuffed peppers is that you don’t have to boil the bell peppers or cook rice in advance to make them, so it’s a great spur-of-the-moment dish, and the whole thing is ready to eat in about an hour.
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- It’s a quick and easy Mexican stuffed peppers recipe.
- Can be prepped in advance.
- Freezes well.
- There is no rice in these baked stuffed peppers, so they’re healthy and lower carb than traditional stuffed pepper recipes.
- No need to boil or pre-cook the bell peppers before stuffing and roasting. Instead of being mushy, these baked stuffed peppers are crisp-tender, but not soft.
Ingredients for taco stuffed peppers:
- Taco Seasoning (homemade or store-bought).
- Olive Oil
- Picante Sauce or Salsa
- Ground Turkey Breast
- Old Fashioned Oatmeal
- Sweet Bell Peppers (We used orange, yellow and red bell peppers).
- Shredded Cheese (such as Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Cheddar Jack or a blend of Mexican cheeses)
If you don’t have a packet of taco seasoning, make your own with some common pantry spices. It’s quick and easy to do, and you can save any leftovers in a sealed container for up to 2-3 months.
You’ll need about five teaspoons of taco seasoning for the Mexican stuffed peppers recipe.
Ingredients for taco seasoning mix:
- Chili Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Dried Oregano
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
How to make homemade taco seasoning:
- In a small bowl, combine the taco seasoning ingredients and whisk.
- Transfer the homemade taco seasoning to an airtight container.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables become soft, fragrant and translucent. (This is called “sweating” the vegetables.
- Stir five teaspoons of the taco seasoning and ¼ cup of picante sauce or salsa into the onion mixture and cook until no dry bits are left and the blend is fragrant. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and spread them into a thin layer with the back of a wooden spoon to cool faster.
- Add the oatmeal and egg to the cooled vegetables and mix very well.
- Add the ground turkey and ½ cup of the shredded cheese to the taco seasoning mixture and stir well, or use clean hands to mix the ingredients together.
- Slice the bell peppers in half and remove the ribs, membranes and seeds. Place the peppers on a baking sheet (lined with tin foil for easier cleanup).
- Divide the Mexican turkey filling between the bell pepper halves and par-bake for 25-30 minutes at 375°F.
- Top each pepper with the remaining picante sauce (or salsa) and the cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Bulk up the Mexican turkey stuffing for the stuffed peppers with other vegetables, like shredded zucchini or yellow squash sauteed with onions. Not only will it add more moisture, it’s a great way to hide veggies for picky eaters.
- Add drained canned black beans to the ground turkey mixture.
- Swap ground turkey for ground beef or pork.
- Make it vegetarian Mexican stuffed pepper by swapping an equal combination of cooked drained black beans and cooked quinoa for the ground meat.
- Make it dairy-free by using vegan cheese in the filling and topping.
- Make it gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oatmeal.
Because these peppers aren’t parboiled before stuffing with the turkey taco mixture, the cell structure of the capsicums remains intact; as the stuffed peppers bake, the cells burst, releasing their liquids. Consequently, the stuffed peppers will have excess moisture.
To remove the excess moisture, tip the stuffed Mexican peppers over to one side so that they can drain.
These turkey-stuffed bell peppers are about 240 calories each. I can usually eat 1½ taco stuffed peppers myself unless there are other side dishes.
Ground beef and rice stuffed peppers can be 400 to 500 calories per pepper, depending on how lean the meat is and how much rice is used in the recipe.
Storage and reheating:
- Store leftover Mexican turkey stuffed peppers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days.
- Baked stuffed peppers can be well-wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months—Defrost before reheating.
- To reheat the stuffed Mexican peppers, place them on a baking sheet and warm in a 325° oven for 15 minutes until warmed.
You can enjoy these ground turkey stuffed peppers hot from the oven just as they are, but if you’re the type of person who loves to add extras, here is my recommendation:
Garnishing the turkey stuffed bell peppers:
Set up a selection of standard taco toppings for everyone to choose from including:
- Extra picante sauce, salsa or fresh pico de gallo.
- Chunky guacamole or sliced avocado.
- Fresh cilantro.
- Chopped green onions.
- Sour cream or crema.
- Extra shredded cheese.
- Sliced black olives.
What to serve with Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers
For healthier dining, I usually serve taco stuffed peppers with a simple green salad, but here are some more excellent side dishes that will elevate these Mexican stuffed bell peppers to the next level.
- Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo) is a traditional Spanish rice recipe that’s flavorful and aromatic, made with tomatoes, onions and garlic.
- Frijoles De La Olla (Mexican Beans) – This classic Mexican recipe goes with anything.
- Green Rice (Arroz Verde) – You’ll love the blend of peppers in this subtle green rice.
- Black Bean and Rice Salad – This tasty side dish combines beans and rice with other veggies and a smoky, cumin-spiked vinaigrette.
- Grated Cucumber Salad – This is a simple side dish that’s light and refreshing.
- Mexican Chopped Salad – This chopped salad recipe has fresh zucchini, peppers, corn, tangy lime dressing, and fresh cilantro.
- Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad with Avocado – Make this corn salad with fresh corn off the cob when it’s at its peak.
What my tasters said:
“This tastes like a Mexican or Southwestern meatloaf. It’s very tasty.” –Scott
“I love how moist the turkey filling is, even for leftovers the next day.” –Emily
“So good, I could eat this every week.” — Dave
More stuffed vegetable recipes you’ll love:
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Pulled Pork Stuffed Potato Skins
- Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
- Stuffed Italian Zucchini Boats
- Stuffed Honeynut Squash
- Italian Stuffed Artichokes
- Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
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Mexican Stuffed Peppers
FOR TACO SEASONING:
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
FOR MEXICAN BELL PEPPERS:
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
- 5 teaspoons Taco Seasoning use recipe above or use your favorite store-bought.
- ¾ cup picante sauce or salsa, divided
- 1 pound ground turkey breast (can use dark meat turkey as well).
- ¼ cup plain old fashioned oatmeal or quick cooking
- 1 large egg
- 3 sweet bell peppers red, yellow or orange preferred
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheese monterey jack, cheddar, cheddar jack or Mexican blend.
- extra picante or salsa
- fresh cilantro
- extra cheese
FOR THE TACO SEASONING:
- Combine all of the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to combine. You will have leftover seasoning mix, keep it in an airtight jar in the pantry for use later.
MAKE THE MEXICAN STUFFED PEPPERS:
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they’re tender and slightly translucent. Add the garlic and saute for one minute, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Stir in 5 teaspoons of Taco Seasoning and cook for one minute until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
- Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and spread it out in the bowl to cool.
- Add the oatmeal and egg and mix well to combine. Stir in the ground turkey and ½ cup of cheese until well blended.
- Cut the bell peppers in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane. Lay the peppers on the baking sheet and divide the Mexican taco turkey filling into the peppers.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup of picante sauce or salsa over each pepper and sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Return the taco stuffed peppers to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes longer or until the cheese has melted.
- Serve with extra sauce, cheese and fresh cilantro as desired.
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