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Italian Stuffed Peppers

Everything you want in a good comfort food dish, these Italian Stuffed Peppers are packed with a bacon-turkey bolognese sauce and topped with melty mozzarella cheese. Each bite has hints of red wine, herbs, and lots of tomatoes, it’s a party of Italian flavors that will be your new go-to. Easy to make ahead too!

Easy Italian Stuffed Peppers

Loaded with basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes, these easy Italian stuffed peppers are a colorful ode to the flag of Italy. Stuffed with a smokey ground turkey filling, it’s a baked dinner that everyone will love.

If you’re doubting how authentic the sauce is, it’s just as good as anything you’d find in Rome. Why? It has bits of celery, onion, and carrots— the foundation for any traditional bolognese. Don’t forget lots of tomatoes! Finally, a splash of red wine does the trick to balance out the sauce’s acidity so that every bite is an opera of flavors.

Topped with melty cheese and extra parsley, it’ll be the star of your dinner table even if you cut a few corners and decide to use store-bought sauce. Hearty, healthy, and impressive but quite effortless, why wouldn’t you make this a new weeknight favorite?

Close-up of Italian stuffed peppers with melty cheese.

Why You’ll Love This Stuffed Pepper Recipe

The next time Italian night comes around, good luck not getting requests for this dish.

  • Carb-free. There’s no pasta in this bolognese-based meal, getting rid of all the carbs that aren’t helping with your weight-loss goals.
  • Healthy twist on comfort food. You get the same flavors as in your favorite spaghetti except it’s all packed inside a nutrient-dense bell pepper.
  • Great for gatherings. Once the bolognese is ready, just pop it into the oven until right before serving for an easy and impressive dinner.
  • Perfect for weeknights. You can cheat by using organic tomato sauce if your week is looking too hectic to make your own.
Ingredients for Italian stuffed peppers.

What You’ll Need

The key to this dish is the soffrito, an Italian flavor-base consisting of diced onions, celery, and carrots. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Bacon – Smoked bacon works too.
  • Yellow onion – Please don’t use white or red onions for this.
  • Garlic – Feel free to use garlic powder.
  • Celery – Don’t skip this.
  • Red pepper
  • Carrots – Leftover baby carrots work too.
  • Ground turkey
  • Dry red wine – No red wine vinegar here, please. They’re not the same.
  • Tomato paste – Don’t swap it for tomato purée.
  • Basil Feel free to use fresh or dried.
  • Parsley
  • Oregano – I prefer dried.
  • Salt – Himalayan salt is a good alternative.
  • Canned crushed tomatoes – Fire-roasted tomatoes are an amazing swap.
  • Bell peppers – Any color of bell peppers are great.
  • Mozzarella cheese – Don’t use fresh mozzarella. You want it to be shredded so it melts better.

What Peppers Are Best For Making Stuffed Peppers?

Bell peppers are the best kind for making Italian stuffed peppers. The color doesn’t matter, so use your favorite! The only thing you need to consider are their size. Make sure they’re regular-sized bell peppers, not the mini ones.

Close-up of Italian stuffed peppers in the baking dish.

How To Make Italian Stuffed Peppers

It’s just like making your favorite bolognese, except you stuff it into bell peppers. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Prepare the oven. Preheat the oven to 450F. If you have an oven thermometer to confirm the temperature, even better.

For the Filling

  • Brown the bacon. Place the bacon in a pan and let it cook until browned and crispy. Don’t add any oil to the pan because the bacon will cook in its own fat. Remove the bacon from the heat and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Don’t discard the bacon fat.
  • Cook the onion. Add the diced onion to the same pan and sautée it for 2-3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and let it cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the veggies. Add the celery, red pepper, and carrots into the onion mixture. Mix well and sautée for 4-5 minutes. Remove the veggies from the pan and set them aside in a bowl.
  • Cook the turkey. Add the ground turkey to the pan and cook it for 5-6 minutes or until slightly browned. Use a spatula to break up any chunks.
  • Mix it. Return the veggies and bacon to the pan. Mix well and pour in the wine. Stir and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated.
  • Add the herbs. Add the basil, parsley, and oregano. Stir in the tomato paste until well combined.
  • Simmer it. Add the crushed tomatoes to the mixture and let it all simmer for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

For the Peppers

  • Stuff the peppers. Place the peppers in an 8×8″ baking dish. Stuff them with the bolognese mixture.
  • Bake them. Pop them into the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Add cheese. Top them with mozzarella and return them to the oven until nice and melty.
  • Serve. Remove them from the oven and garnish with more parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe Tips & Variations

With these ideas, this stuffed pepper recipe will find its way to your weeknight menu a couple of times per month.

  • Swap the protein. Ground chicken, beef, or pork are wonderful swaps for this recipe.
  • Change the cheese. Shredded cheddar, gouda, Monterey Jack, or any melty cheese is a perfect alternative to mozzarella.
  • Make it spicy. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste for a kick of heat.
  • Use store-bought. If you don’t have enough time to throw this homemade bolognese sauce together, use your favorite store-bought organic one.
  • Make them appetizers. If you use mini bell peppers, you can turn these stuffed peppers into an exquisite appetizer.
Stuffed peppers recipe with melty mozzarella.

Serving Suggestions

These Italian stuffed peppers are an impressive main dish next to other Italian/Mediterranean inspired sides and appetizers. I love them with my Avocado Bruschetta as starters. My Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad is a great salad option. To make the meal a little heartier, you can even pair it with my Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe. If you want to place another main dish on the table for variety, go for my Easy Bruschetta Chicken and let everyone have a bit of both.

Three stuffed peppers on a plate.

Proper Storage

Once fully cooled, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Keep them away from direct heat and sunlight when on the counter for reheating or serving. To reheat them, pop them into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat them in the oven at 350F for 15-25 minutes.

Can I Freeze Italian Stuffed Peppers?

Absolutely! Once fully cooled, place the stuffed peppers on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. Freeze them for 2-3 hours. Wrap them in plastic wrap once and then in aluminum foil. Pop them into a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight and then reheat like usual.

More Easy Dinner Ideas

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Close-up of Italian stuffed peppers in the baking dish.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

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  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 peppers 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove & Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


These easy Italian stuffed peppers with homemade bolognese sauce and melty mozzarella are the perfect weeknight dinner.


  • 4 strips of bacon, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon basil
  • 2 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt to taste
  • 28 oz. crushed tomato with basil
  • 6 bell peppers assorted colors, tops cut off and seeds removed
  • 6 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
  • chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. To a large skillet add bacon. Saute until bacon is browned and crispy.
  3. Using a slotted spoon. Scoop the bacon out and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
  4. To the pan, add diced onion. Saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Next, add in garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then add in celery, red pepper and carrots. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Stirring throughout.
  6. Remove the vegetables from the pan. Place in a medium bowl.
  7. Place the skillet back on the burner and add ground turkey to the pan. Cook until the turkey is slightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Make sure to break the turkey up with a spoon or potato masher so it’s not clumped together.
  8. Add the vegetables and bacon back to the pan. Stir and add in the red wine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the alcohol is cooked out.
  9. Then add tomato paste, basil, parsley, oregano and salt to taste. Stir everything in until you can no longer see the tomato paste. Then add in the crushed tomatoes. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  10. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes or until a majority of the liquid is evaporated. Stirring throughout.
  11. To an 8×8 baking dish add 6 whole peppers. Stuff each pepper with the turkey bolognese mixture.
  12. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the peppers are just starting to get tender.
  13. Remove from oven. Add 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella to each pepper. Place baking dish back in the oven and bake for 2-3 minutes. (until the cheese is melted)
  14. Garnish with chopped parsley. (optional)


  • Serving Size: 1 stuffed pepper
  • Calories: 283
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Sodium: 582 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg

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