Healthy Taco Stuffed Peppers
Delicious and full of veggies, these healthy taco stuffed mini peppers are sure to be a crowd pleaser. A healthy twist on traditional tacos, these little poppers serve up oodles of flavor and are perfect for the whole family!Jump to Recipe
Hi TNNers! Over my 5 years of blogging and recipe development, I have been fortunate enough to meet so many other incredible and talented people. People who, like me, want to empower mamas, papas and all caregivers to feed their families real, healthy food that is doable in this busy modern world.
One of those incredibly talented people is Heather from Happy Kids Kitchen. Not only does she have a passion for kid-friendly veggie-loaded recipes, but she is amazing at creating dishes that can easily be cooked with your children! And I truly believe that getting children involved in healthy cooking is a key element in getting them excited about healthy food.
I’ve invited Heather here to today to not only share some of her wisdom, but her recipe for Taco Stuffed Mini Peppers… a recipe that is sure to become a regular veggie-loaded dinner in your house!
Hi! I’m Heather from Happy Kids Kitchen. I’m a mom to two mischievous little boys, a cooking instructor, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I believe getting kids into the kitchen and cooking together is the key ingredient in raising happy, healthy eaters. It’s my goal to show kids and parents everywhere that fruits, veggies, and wholesome foods can be fun! On my blog and Instagram page, I share recipes, cooking activities, lunch box ideas, and more, so I hope you’ll come find me there!
Are tacos a hit for dinner at your house?
Mine too! I love finding ways to add more veggies to our favorite meals so I’m excited that Taesha asked me to share this recipe mash-up between stuffed peppers and tacos with you all today! Using mini peppers instead of taco shells or tortilla wraps to hold taco fillings not only adds more vegetables to the meal but also ups the “fun factor” by a ton. Those mini peppers are so darn cute!
But don’t worry if you don’t have mini peppers, you make this recipe just as delicious with regular-sized peppers too.
Sweet bell peppers are not the only veggie in this dish –the ground turkey taco filling is packed with veggies as well! Onion, carrot, zucchini, and spinach are finely chopped in a food processor to make prep time fast and easy. When you mix all minced veggies with the turkey, seasonings, and tomatoes, even the pickiest eaters won’t know how many veggies you packed in there. Although I don’t suggest hiding the veggies or lying about them, sometimes it helps to disguise them a little. You could even have your family guess how many different vegetables are in the recipe to encourage skeptics to give the peppers a try and have some fun conversation at the dinner table.
When to serve taco stuffed mini peppers
- They are perfect as a party appetizer
- Great for sharing at a potluck
- A fun and healthy family dinner
Tips for serving taco stuffed mini peppers
Lay out your favorite taco toppings such as diced avocado, salsa, hot sauce, sliced olives, and fresh cilantro so that everyone can top their mini peppers as they please. Even my husband who usually doesn’t like peppers, couldn’t stop telling me how much he liked this meal. Goes to show you, it’s never too late to start liking something new!
Want to make sure any spinach leftover after making these Healthy Taco Stuffed Peppers doesn’t go to waste? Check out my tips & tricks for keeping spinach fresh all week!
How to get kids involved in cooking taco stuffed mini peppers
Getting kids involved in preparing meals will really help turn apprehensive eaters into more engaged ones. Plus, cooking with your children is a great way to spend time together and teach them new skills they’ll use for a lifetime. Here are some ways kids can help make this recipe:
- Push the buttons on your food processor: I’ve never met a kid that didn’t jump at the opportunity to push a button or flip a switch on a kitchen appliance. All the veggies that go into the taco filling get thrown into the food processor to make chopping easy. Prep the veggies, add them to the processor, then have your child come help use the “pulse” button. Explain the pulsing is like a quick on and off motion like a fast heart beat “on, off, on, off.”
- Spoon the taco filling into the mini peppers: Transfer the meat mixture to a large bowl once fulling cooked and allow to cool slightly before having kids help. It might get a little messy so place the peppers on a sheet of parchment paper so any filling the gets spilled can easy be picked up and put into the peppers.
- Grate and sprinkle the cheese: If using cheese, kids can help grate it up with a box grater by holding the cheese with you with one hand and holding the top of the box grater with the other. Once cheese is grated, they can take a pinch and top each pepper before baking.
- Design their own plates: Don’t forget that serving food is also part of the cooking experience. Let kids decide what toppings to add and how to arrange them on their plates.
Wondering how to store your carrots so they stay fresh as long as possible? Check out my post on How to Keep Cut Carrots Fresh and get the most out of your produce buck!
- Don’t have mini peppers? You can make the taco filling and stuff 2 regular-sized bell peppers. Just cut the peppers in half lengthwise then follow the remaining recipe instructions as written.
- Don’t eat dairy? These baked peppers are just as good without the cheese on top. Bake as directed then add your favorite taco toppings. Yum!
- Want a vegetarian meal? Substitute a can of black or pinto beans for the ground turkey. Drain and rinse the beans then add to the pan with the sautéed veggies. Mash the beans a little with the back of the spoon to help the mixture stay together when stuffed into the peppers.
- Don’t have ground turkey? Feel free to use whatever ground meat you like. Ground bison, beef, or chicken would all work well.
- Not a pepper fan? Use the veggie-loaded filling for a traditional taco, burrito or even enjoy it over rice or riced cauliflower.
Want to find out the BEST way to cut bell peppers? Head over to my How To Cut a Bell Pepper…to minimize waste! post!
Other recipes you are going to love….
- Veggie-Loaded Shrimp Taco Bowls
- Veggie-Loaded Mini Taco Meatloaves
- Instant Pot Salsa & Spinach Shredded Chicken
- Slow Cooker Lentil Tacos
Healthy Taco Stuffed Mini Peppers
- 18-20 mini sweet bell peppers, or 2-3 large bell peppers
- 1/4 large yellow onion , or 1/2 a small yellow onion
- 1 large carrot, washed and cut into chunks
- 1/2 medium zucchini , washed and cut into chunks
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 tsp coconut or avocado oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 pound ground turkey or chicken
- 1 cup crushed or diced canned tomatoes
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2-1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, optional and to taste
- food processor
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and pull out the ribs and seeds. Place peppers cut side up onto a baking pan.
- Add onion and carrot to a food processor fitted with the ”S” blade. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add zucchini and spinach and continue to pulse, stopping to scrape the sides and make sure all the veggies are being chopped. Stop when everything is finely chopped. Do not over process or the mixture will be mushy
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Remove the blade from the food processor and scrape veggies into the pan. Cook the veggie mixture until most of the liquid evaporates and the veggies are softened, about 8 minutes
- Add garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and dried oregano. Cook for 30 seconds to combine flavors. Add the turkey meat and cook, breaking up the meat with a back of a wooden spoon until the veggies and meat are well combined and the meat in cooked through.
- Add tomatoes and salt and cook until most of the
liquid in the pan has evaporated (about 5 minutes). Taste for seasoning and add
additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Spoon turkey mixture into the pepper halves, pressing the top down to help the filling stay inside. Sprinkle each pepper with some shredded cheese, if using
- Bake peppers until lightly browned around the edges, about 12 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite taco toppings.
- Allow leftovers to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container in fridge for 1-2 days.