Beware pulling Stuffed Pepper Casserole out of the oven amongst polite company. You may hover over the stove, like me, tucking into the cheesy topping right from the casserole and then going back in for seconds. It’s that kind of casserole—hard to resist!
In essence, this casserole is deconstructed stuffed peppers. It has all the same elements, from onions and bell peppers to a cheesy topping, only done in a big skillet. Consider it the more casual cousin to stuffed peppers, arguably easier to make, a bit homier, and tastier.
The dish is built on layers of flavor. Mushrooms and turkey (the recipe calls for ground turkey and spicy turkey sausages) give it a satisfying meatiness. The seasonings—cumin, paprika, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a kick of heat from the sausage—add depth of flavor that balances deliciously with the sweet peppers. And last but not least, the sharp Cheddar on top is a rich counterbalance.
How to Make Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Stuffed Pepper Casserole starts on the stovetop with onions, garlic, mushrooms, and both ground turkey and turkey sausage. From there, add in a heap of chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, kale, and farro.
After a couple of swift stirs with a spoon and a few cups of broth, the casserole is ready for the oven. Cover it tightly and bake it for about an hour—the farro and vegetables will absorb the broth and become tender.
Is Farro Gluten-Free?
Farro is not a gluten-free grain. It’s a member of the wheat family like barley. For folks looking to make this gluten-free, here is an easy fix: Use brown rice instead of farro. If you do, cut the broth to 2 3/4 cups and check the casserole for doneness after 45 minutes. The rice will likely cook more quickly than farro.
Is this Casserole Healthy?
From a nutrition standpoint Stuffed Pepper Casserole gets the green light. It’s a well-balanced dish that covers all the food groups. It also has loads of vegetables—bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and kale—along with healthy, whole-grain farro and lean ground turkey.
Make it Vegetarian
Even though this isn’t a vegetarian dish, all it needs is a few easy swaps to get there. Here’s how:
- Use one pound of Beyond Meat or Impossible Burger in place of the ground turkey and turkey sausage. Scale back the salt by 1/2 teaspoon, since both products are salted. You can add more salt at the table, if need be.
- Add extra seasonings, since you won’t have the flavor from the turkey sausage, including 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel.
This Casserole is Adaptable
Like so many casseroles, this one is adaptable. Feel free to adjust depending on what you have on hand. You’ll find suggestions for making it vegetarian or gluten-free (or both!) above. Here are a few other ideas:
- Switch up the leafy greens. You can use chard, collards, spinach, or beet greens instead of kale.
- Make it spicier by adding a dash of cayenne or a few pinches of red pepper flakes.
- Use grated gruyere, pepper Jack, mozzarella, smoked gouda, provolone, or another good melting cheese instead of sharp cheddar.
- Use barley, brown rice, sorghum, spelt, or other chewy whole grains instead of farro. Keep in mind that the amount of broth and cooking time may vary depending on the grain.
- Replace up to half of the bell peppers with a different variety of mild peppers like poblanos or Anaheim. Aim for about 3 cups of peppers total.
- Set the finished casserole under a broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese right before serving.
When to Serve this Casserole
Think of this cozy casserole like you might any kind of comfort food. It’s a terrific dish for family dinner any day of the week, particularly since you can make it ahead. Any leftovers can be packed up and taken to work (leftovers heat up quickly in the microwave).
It’s also got just enough “fancy” for company, so set it out with a big salad and a warm baguette. Alternatively, tuck foil over the top and bring it to your next potluck.
Stuffed Pepper Casserole is a complete meal and is entirely satisfying on its own. Dress up your table a little more with a warm baguette (great for soaking up pan juices) and a crisp salad.
Other great ideas? Roast sweet potatoes until tender, split them open, and spoon the casserole right on top. You can also use it as a sandwich filling along the lines of a Sloppy Joe.
How to Plan Ahead
Here are two make-ahead options for this casserole:
- Prep all the veggies up to a day ahead and keep them in lidded containers in the fridge. This includes chopping the onion, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, and kale.
- Make the casserole start-to-finish (minus adding the cheese) up to a day ahead of time. Cover it and store it in the fridge—it will be just as tasty the next day. When it’s mealtime, reheat the casserole in a 350°F oven until warmed through. Add the cheese and serve.
Transfer leftovers into a lidded storage container (or cover it with plastic wrap) and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can also freeze leftovers: Once the casserole is completely cooled, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and put the lid on. If wrapped well, it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Lots of Ways to Stuff Peppers
Stuffed Pepper Casserole
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces uncooked spicy Italian turkey or chicken sausage
8 ounces ground turkey or chicken
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
4 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 large red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, stemmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup uncooked farro
2 cups stemmed and chopped kale leaves
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Sauté the meat and vegetables:
In a large (at least 12 inches) oven-safe skillet or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Run a paring knife down the sausages to split the casing and turn the meat into the skillet with the onions. You can discard the casings.
Add the ground turkey, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, and salt. Sauté, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks so it looks like taco meat, until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Add the seasonings, farro, and kale:
Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cumin, black pepper, farro, kale, and tomatoes (with their juices) and stir well. Pour the chicken broth over everything and stir again, poking any visible grains of farro into the liquid.
Bake the casserole:
Tightly cover the skillet with foil or an oven-safe lid. Bake until the peppers and farro are tender, about 1 hour. The casserole will be very moist, and any remaining liquid will continue to be absorb by the farro and vegetables as the casserole sits.
Add cheese and serve:
Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully lift off the foil or lid. Scatter the cheese over the top. Let sit for 15 minutes to melt before serving.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 40g||51%|
|Saturated Fat 18g||89%|
|Total Carbohydrate 44g||16%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||29%|
|Total Sugars 8g|
|Vitamin C 87mg||435%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|