Recipes

Flavorful Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Flavorful, healthy, and delicious, these oven-baked, turkey stuffed poblano peppers are surprisingly easy to make. 

Full of flavorful spices and a nod to Mexican cuisine. Stuffed poblano peppers are a great alternative to regular stuffed bell peppers as they add a slight kick of spice.

I love how customizable these are depending on what you have on hand and what you feel like using that day. Below, I’ll share some ways to adapt this recipe.

Stuffed Poblano Pepper Ingredients

You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to create these tasty stuffed poblanos. Exact measurements and a full ingredient list are provided in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview and some comments:

  • Poblano Peppers: A beautiful dark green chili pepper that is slightly spicy but can sometimes be mild. You’ll need 4 large or 8 small peppers depending on what you can find.

Note: Some vendors mislabel poblano peppers as “pasilla” peppers which are actually dried chilaca peppers. So if you see fresh, dark green chili peppers labeled as “pasilla” more than likely they’re really poblano peppers. I’ve run into this. 

  • Organic Ground Turkey: You’ll use one  pound of organic ground turkey (or if it’s right after Thanksgiving you can use leftover shredded turkey). Ground turkey is naturally lean so adding healthy fat, like olive oil, helps to keep it from drying out.
  • Onion and Garlic: You’ll cook half of a medium onion chopped (about ½ cup) and three garlic cloves minced along with the ground turkey in a medium stainless steel pan or cast iron skillet.  

poblano peppers baked

  • Black Beans: One 15-ounce can (no salt added), drained and rinsed.   
  • Canned or Fresh Tomatoes: Either one 14.5-ounce canned (no salt added) diced tomatoes or two fresh tomatoes diced (about 11/4 cup). 
  • Spices: A combination of chili powder, cumin, and oregano provide a depth of flavor.
  • Cilantro: You’ll add fresh chopped cilantro to the mix right before stuffing the poblano peppers.
  • Frozen or Fresh Corn: For this recipe, I added ½ cup of frozen corn. You can add ½ cup more or completely omit.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: If you have fresh lime or lime juice on hand, do not skip this step. You’ll need one tablespoon of lime juice. The acidity of the lime juice makes a difference in terms of overall flavor. 

For a spicier kick, add one jalapeno, first remove the core and seeds, then chop. The poblano peppers were spicy enough for our family but you may prefer a little more heat.

How To Cook Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers

The bright fiesta colors of stuffed poblano peppers look and taste great. 

This dish comes together within about 45 minutes; however, you can eliminate one step by cooking the turkey with the onion and garlic the night before. Or if you have leftover turkey on hand (from Thanksgiving let’s say), simply toss it in with the onion and garlic, after they’ve had a chance to cook for about 3 minutes. 

Otherwise, follow these four simple steps and you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table in no time.

poblano peppers

Step One: Prep All Ingredients

Prepping ALL of the ingredients beforehand makes life so much easier and also ultimately saves on time. What do I mean by that? Slice, dice, mince, measure, drain all of the ingredients before starting to cook. Also, preheat the oven to 400℉.

I do highly recommend wearing gloves when handling the poblano peppers to avoid chili pepper burn. I learned the hard way. 

Step Two: Pre-Cook Peppers and Thoroughly Cook the Turkey

Now that you’ve prepped, you’ll cook the turkey, onion, and garlic together in a large, deep skillet over medium heat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the turkey is no longer pink.  

Put the poblano peppers, face up, on a baking sheet with either aluminum foil or unbleached baking paper in the 400℉ preheated oven for about 10 minutes. I always add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of olive oil and a very small pinch of sea salt in each pepper. Pre-cooking the poblano peppers will save on final baking time and start to soften them up.  

Step Three: Combine Ingredients

Once the turkey is fully cooked, add the spices, tomatoes, black beans and corn. Cook for another 3 minutes until heated through. (Note: if the turkey is looking a little dry, you can add either one teaspoon of olive oil or water). Finally turn off the heat, add cilantro, a squeeze of half of a fresh lime (or about one tablespoon of bottled lime juice) and ½ cup of freshly shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.

Step Four: Stuff and Bake

The final and fun step. Scoop the meat mixture into the poblano peppers, being sure to push down on it, to keep the filling from spilling over. Once each is filled to your satisfaction, give them a quick spray of olive oil and pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes until the peppers are nice and soft.

Once they’ve cooked you can add an array of toppings if you’d like. I’ll share some ideas of things to use.

Topping Ideas for Poblano Peppers

You certainly can enjoy these turkey stuffed poblano peppers without toppings once they’re out of the oven. However, here are a few topping suggestions that can add additional nutrition and flavor:

turkey stuffed peppers

  • Green Onions- Top the peppers with chopped green onion for extra flavor. 
  • Plain Full-Fat Greek Yogurt- Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. 
  • Fresh Cilantro– Add additional fresh cilantro. This delicate herb is packed with antioxidants and has a wonderful flavor.  
  • Avocado- Slice up an avocado and add some healthy fat to this dish.
  • Red Onion- Freshly chopped red onion gives an extra crunch.  
  • Fresh Lime Juice- Squeeze some extra lime juice over the stuffed poblano pepper to up the flavor. 

Give these a go and enjoy!

And if you find yourself in need of a vegetarian option or want something more mild check below for ways to customize these stuffed poblano peppers.

Ways to Customize Stuffed Poblano Peppers

You can create your own version of these stuffed poblano peppers based on personal preference, what you have on hand in the pantry or what the grocery store has in stock.     

  • Want less spicy? Swap the poblano peppers with green or red bell peppers. You’ll follow the same steps when it comes to prepping, pre-cooking, and stuffing and baking. You can, however, leave the bell peppers whole instead of halved by simply cutting off their tops, deseeding and standing them up to bake. 
  • Want spicier? Add one chopped jalapeño pepper to the filling mixture.
  • Need a vegetarian option? Add an additional 14.5 ounce can (no salt added) of either cannellini or Great Northern beans in place of the ground turkey.
  • Have leftover turkey? You can use shredded turkey instead of ground. This is especially useful as an after Thanksgiving dinner idea. Simply follow the same steps as if you are using ground, the difference will be in the cooking time. Pre-cooked turkey will only need to be warmed through.  

Looking For More Recipe Ideas?

Check out these other Mexican-inspired recipes.

stuffed poblano peppers

Flavorful Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Stuffed poblano peppers are a fiesta full of colors and flavors. Easy to make and come together in under an hour.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 peppers

Ingredients
  

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced (About half of a medium onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (About one tablespoon)
  • 1 pound organic, ground turkey *See notes below for alternatives
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (If needed, a great substitute is marjoram)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I use Redmond's Real Salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added (Or substitute with two ripe tomatoes chopped. Makes about 1 1/4 cup.)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, no salt added (Drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (Rinse before cutting)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, about half of a lime (You can substitute with bottled lime juice)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line a baking sheet with either aluminum foil or baking paper and spray with olive oil.
  • Rinse and dry the poblanos. Wearing gloves if you can, cut a thin slice off the tops and remove the core and seeds. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Set on baking sheet face up. Add a pinch of salt and a small drizzle (~1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil to each pepper. Once the oven is preheated pre-bake the poblano peppers for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ground turkey. Cook until the meat is no longer pink about 5-7 minutes. If the turkey starts to look dry add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil or water.
  • Next add the spices, tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Cook for about 3 more minutes until heated through and combined. Turn the heat off and add cilantro, cheese, and fresh lime juice. Stir to combine.
  • Fill the pre-baked poblano peppers with the meat mixture. Be sure to press down as you pack to prevent the filling from spilling over onto the baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the poblano peppers are soft. Once done let them rest for 5 minutes and either add toppings or serve without.

Optional Topping Ideas

  • Diced red onions, chopped green onions, fresh cilantro, full-fat Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lime, or low sodium salsa.

Notes

You can use leftover shredded turkey or cannellini (or Great Northern) beans in place of the ground turkey. 
For a less spicy version, use regular green or red bell peppers in place of the poblano peppers. 
For a spicier version, consider adding 1 chopped jalapeño to the filling mixture.
Note that some grocery stores mislabel poblano peppers as pasilla peppers. Pasilla peppers are actually a dried form of chilaca pepper. Poblano peppers have a beautiful dark green hue. So if what you're looking at is dark green but labeled "pasilla" there's a good chance they're actually poblano peppers.   
Keyword stuffed peppers, stuffed poblano peppers

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