I’ve made stuffed peppers about 100 times in the last decade, and each time they turn out slightly different. I think it’s a dish that lends itself to being creative. Aside from the actual peppers, there are endless possibilities as to what to stuff them with. Today, for the third day of #EatLean2015 I’m sharing with you my recipe for Italian Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice.
I’ll get to the peppers in a moment, but first, have you ever had cauliflower rice? I don’t mean cauliflower mixed into rice, but actual “rice” made from the cauliflower itself? This is a sneaky little way to cut back on carbs and eat more veggies. I started making cauliflower rice about a year ago, and now I love coming up with new ways to use it.
To make the cauliflower rice, you simply pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until it reaches the size and consistency of rice grains. That’s it! It’s mild and easily takes on the flavor of any other ingredients you add to it.
For this dish, I used the cauliflower rice two different ways- in the pepper stuffing, and on the side. I sauteed it with a little olive oil, fresh parsley, garlic, shallots, and Parmesan cheese. The end result is a bite that tastes surprisingly like real rice, but is much (MUCH) healthier for you!
In addition to the cauliflower rice, I stuffed these peppers with fresh Italian turkey sausage, organic tomato sauce, and a few fresh herbs and spices. Oh, and let’s not forget the cheese! I put a little smidge of fresh mozzarella in the top and bottom of each pepper.
Aside from being quite tasty, this dish packs a real punch of nutrition! Red bell peppers are a good source of lycopene, vitamin C, and folate- all things that will keep you going strong during these chilly winter months. Cauliflower is equally healthy and is a known source of cancer fighting nutrients and brain boosting choline. Who couldn’t use a little brain boosting these days?!
Our family loves these Italian Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice, and I think you’rs will too! Come back again tomorrow for day 4 of #EatLean2015, trust me you don’t want to miss it! For even more healthy meal inspiration, be sure to follow my #EatLean board on Pinterest.
Italian Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice
- 1 head of organic cauliflower, stems removed and chopped into small florets
- 4 organic red bell peppers
- 1/2 lbs fresh mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 10 oz organic tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Handful of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TBS organic butter
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Several ounces of fresh mozzarella
- Preheat your oven to 375*.
- Begin by sauteing the turkey sausage in olive oil over medium heat. Cook until browned and slightly caramelized, then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Continue to simmer over medium heat and add the tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Stir and simmer for 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Next, place the cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower reaches the size and consistency of grains of rice.
- Then, in a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and simmer only until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Add the cauliflower rice to the saute pan with the shallots and garlic. Add a handful of fresh parsley, the remainder of the Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
- Next, add about half of the cauliflower rice to the cooked turkey mixture and stir to combine.
- Now you will want to prepare your peppers. Cut the top off of each pepper and remove the seeds. Place a small amount of mozzarella into the bottom of each pepper. (You might have to push it down a bit with a spoon to make lots of room for the turkey stuffing.)
- Then fill each pepper with the cooked turkey mixture and top off with an additional smidge of fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Bake your stuffed peppers for about 15-20 minutes at 375*. Here’s a little trick I use for peppers that are too skinny to stand up in the oven on their own: Place each pepper into a cupcake pan and bake upright. That’s what I had to do with the peppers in this recipe.
- Serve warm with a side of cauliflower rice. Enjoy!