Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, discarding seeds and membranes. Place peppers, cut side up, in a microwave-safe 13x9-inch baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the dish. Lightly cover with parchment paper. Microwave until peppers begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.*
Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and onion; cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off fat. Stir in cooked rice, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add ½ cup of cheddar and ½ cup of Monterey Jack.
Season the inside of each pepper with salt and pepper. Stuff peppers with turkey mixture and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with foil.
Bake until tender and heated through, about 35 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of cheddar and remaining ½ cup of Monterey Jack. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 more minutes. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh parsley or basil.
*Alternatively, you can pre-bake the peppers in the oven instead of in the microwave. To do so, fill a baking dish large enough to fit peppers with about ½ -inch of water. Place peppers upside down in water, cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
Swap out the ground turkey and use ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork or ground sausage.
Choose red, yellow or orange peppers for a sweeter taste; grab green bell peppers for a less-sweet, more zesty taste.
Any variety of rice will work. I like to use cooked long-grain white rice, but cooked wild rice or cooked brown rice will both be delicious, too. For a shortcut, try microwaveable packets of rice like Uncle Ben's Ready Rice. You can even try this recipe with cauliflower rice for more veggies!
Instead of rice, use cooked quinoa or cooked couscous.
For a shortcut, use leftover rice from the night before or a packet of microwaveable rice (like Uncle Ben's Ready Rice).
Garnish the finished dish with fresh herbs just before serving. They add a nice colorful, fresh touch!
Use red, orange or yellow peppers if you prefer a sweeter taste. Try green bell peppers for a zestier bite.
For the Slow Cooker: To make these stuffed peppers in a Crock Pot, skip the step of pre-cooking the peppers in the microwave. Stuff the peppers with the rice and ground turkey filling, cover, and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours. Top with the cheese and continue cooking until the cheese melts (about 10-15 more minutes).