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This is one of those accidentally cool recipes. I knew I wanted southwestern flavors, but I had to experiment with the ingredients. The result is a delightful tasting stuffed pepper full of texture and unique flavor. Don’t be afraid to put a personal touch on this recipe by adding spices or substituting ingredients.
Turkey Veggie Loaf
1-20 oz package 93% lean ground turkey
4 bell peppers, variety of colors
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
½ sweet yellow onion, finely diced
½ can (14.5oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ear corn, kernels removed
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup uncooked quinoa
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Worchestire sauce
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp agave
(the 5 above ingredients can be substituted with ¼ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce)
1. Heat the oven to Hi Broil. Cut the peppers in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds and stem. Place on a baking sheet, covered in foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. Broil for 3 minutes per side. Remove and let rest. Turn the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan, over medium high heat. Add the carrot, zucchini, onion, salt and pepper and sauté 8-10 minutes, until soft and golden.
3. Add the garlic, black beans, corn and cilantro to the pan and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, egg, chili powder and the last 5 ingredients (or BBQ sauce).
5. Add the turkey and sautéed veggie mixture to the bowl and gently massage with the other ingredients until well incorporated.
6. Using the baking sheet that was prepared for the peppers, equally divide the turkey mixture into the 8 pepper halves (form mini turkey loafs in each pepper half).
7. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the turkey is completely cooked through.
8. Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite condiments.
Note: This turkey mixture also works great as a turkey loaf. Don’t use the peppers and form the mixture into a large loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, for 40 minutes.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.