Thanks to chicken sausage, these easy stuffed peppers are hearty, flavorful, and simple to make. Instead of blanching the peppers before filling them, we place them into the oven while it heats up. As the oven heats up, make the filling.
3 medium bell peppers
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
14 ounces fresh chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, see notes
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed; or substitute 1 pound fresh spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 (15-ounce can) diced tomatoes or substitute with 4 to 5 chopped medium tomatoes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) ricotta cheese
A handful of sliced cherry tomatoes, optional
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella cheese
A handful of fresh basil leaves, optional
Slice the peppers in half through the stem. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Rub the pepper halves inside and out with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the pepper halves, cut-side-down in one layer in a baking dish. Place into the oven then heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon or so of olive oil and the sausage and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the sausage cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into small pieces in the pan.
Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, as well as the thawed and ringed out spinach. Cook until heated through and the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat then stir in the ricotta cheese. Taste for seasoning, and then adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
Remove the baking dish with peppers from the oven. Flip the peppers then divide the filling between them (about 1/2 cup of filling per pepper half). Top peppers with mozzarella cheese then bake until the cheese melts, and the peppers are soft; about 20 minutes.