Turkey Sausage and Orzo Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers are a popular favorite for a family meal because they're easy to make, satisfying and economical. You can get pretty creative with what you stuff inside a pepper, but this combination of turkey sausage and orzo is one of our favorites because it's loaded with flavor and a lot lighter than a ground beef filling. Complete the meal with a green salad and garlic bread.
- 4 large bell peppers (red, green or combination)
- 1 lb mild Italian turkey or chicken sausage (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3/4 cup orzo
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1-1/4 cups diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat shallow a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Using a paring knife, remove the stems from the peppers, then slice them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Season the cavities lightly with salt and pepper and arrange cut side up in the prepared baking dish.
- Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the peppers pre-bake, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring frequently, until it is lightly toasted (do not brown).
- Stir in 1-1/4 cups of the chicken broth, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. If necessary, add additional broth during cooking. Transfer the cooked orzo to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan, heat on medium and add the onion. Sauté until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, 1 minute longer.
- Remove the sausage from its casings and add to the onion-garlic mixture. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue cooking until the sausage is lightly browned and cooked through. Use a spatula to break up the large chunks of sausage as it cooks.
- Add the tomatoes, combine thoroughly and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the orzo to the pan, cook for 2 minutes longer, then stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and combine well.
- Fill each pepper half with the sausage-orzo mixture, packing gently. Depending on the size of your peppers, you may have some filling leftover.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the peppers and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.
We like to use turkey or chicken sausage for this recipe, but if you prefer Italian pork sausage, by all means, go for it.