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Thursday
Jul082010

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Peppers

Mediterranean stuffed peppers

Do you remember your mom’s stuffed peppers?  I do.  I was just a kid and wouldn’t touch the peppers.  No way!  I loved the filling, though--and it was so simple.  Tomatoes, rice, ground beef, seasonings…I loved that part!  My mom gave me a pass and let me skip the peppers without a big showdown, thank goodness!  She used green bell peppers, which are good in some things, like sausage and peppers, but to eat them stuffed--they’re just too “green pepperish.”  Do you know what I mean?  Bitter. 

In fact, growing up, my mom always bought green peppers.  Were red bells not very common then?  I have no idea!  Red bells are just green bells that have been allowed to ripen--were growers too impatient back then?  In my opinion, green pepper overwhelms most dishes.  I know--a lot of you will probably disagree, but red, orange, and yellow bell peppers are so much sweeter.  We even love them raw!  Plus, they’re good for you:

  • They’re great sources of Vitamins C, A, B6 and Folic Acid
  • They contain Beta-Carotene and Lycopene
  • These are all good things that do good things for you!
  • Eat some peppers today.  (That’s my PSA for the day.)

I saw these stuffed peppers in the June edition of BBC’s Good Food magazine.  It’s one of my all time favorite food mags.   Every single issue I have is “well read” and full of dog eared pages and a few cooking spills.  Living in the US, it’s a bit pricier to buy here, but it’s well worth it.  It’s a large magazine--and I dare you to look at one issue and not find ten recipes you want to try immediately.

The original recipe uses couscous as the base for the stuffing.  I opted for quinoa.  Haven’t tried quinoa yet?  You should!  Why?  Quinoa is all at once creamy, a little chewy, tastes sort of nutty--and is so good for you:

  • It’s related to leafy greens, like powerhouses spinach and Swiss Chard.
  • Quinoa is an ancient “grain,” and once referred to as “the gold of the Incas.”
  • It’s high in protein and contains “complete protein,” which means it has all 9 essential amino acids.
  • Quinoa's a good source of magnesium and riboflavin, reported to help with easing migraines.
  • It’s a good source of manganese and copper, two minerals very important in superoxide dismutase enzyme, which is an antioxidant.
  • There’s 12 grams of dietary fiber in 1 cup of quinoa.

So you see?  This dish is a nutritional powerhouse!  The recipe will make a bit more stuffing than you need for the peppers, but the leftovers make a nice light lunch the next day.  Also, measurements aren’t exact for the add-ins, so go ahead and eyeball those to your taste.  The original recipe uses pine nuts, which were nowhere to be found at TJ’s that day, so pistachios agreed to be stunt doubles.

herbed feta

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Peppers
adapted from BBC Good Food
serves 3

1 each red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, halved, seeds and membranes removed (leave stems on)
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
Vegetable or chicken broth (for cooking the quinoa in--I needed 3 cups)
1/2 cup pistachios (this is approximate-you can add more if you like), lightly toasted
1/2-3/4 cup black olives, roughly chopped
Feta cheese (about 3/4 cup, divided) (I used an herbed feta from Trader Joe's)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded (stack leaves, roll them up, and slice across for ribbons)

Heat oven to 400.
Rinse your quinoa and prepare according to package directions--using your choice of broth in place of water.

Place the prepared peppers on a plate and microwave on medium for about 5 minutes, until slightly soft.
Place them on a baking tray, open side facing up.

When the quinoa is done, stir in the remaining ingredients, leaving some of the feta aside to sprinkle over the top of the peppers.
Stuff the peppers--really pack them full, you'll have more than enough stuffing!
Top with the rest of the feta.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the feta looks browned and delicious.
Serve with a nice green salad, if you like.

These aren’t your mom’s stuffed peppers!  Well, not my mom’s, anyway.  If old school stuffed peppers make your spine tingle--in a not so good way, give these a try! 

Mediterranean stuffed peppers

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Reader Comments (28)

Can I just eat the feta?! Yum!

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

Jessica, that herbed feta is to die for! :)

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

These peppers look amazing! I have all of these ingredients on hand, because I was going to do a Greek Shrimp Scampi tonight...it may be reworked into Shrimp-Stuffed Peppers! :)

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuchess of Fork

Oh yes--shrimp would be so good in these!

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

those look sooo delicious Elle - I'm going to have to make some soon!!

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoreen

Thank you, Doreen!

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

My mom's stuffed peppers are goin' down! Just don't tell her...

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

My lips are sealed! ;)

July 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterElle

Yum. Yes please. But how were you able to turn on the stove? This heat, I haven't gone near the stove. Noooo

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervanillasugar

It wasn't easy! And it was the only time it's been turned on in almost a whole week! ugh.

July 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterElle

Oh Elle, I have to admit to being a bell pepper lover--green, red, yellow, orange--I love them all. This looks like a great fresh variation on stuffing them. I've only ever stuffed peppers with a rice based filling and then baked them with a tomato and red wine sauce that makes them go all soft when they cook. Do these go soft when they cook too, or do the peppers stay kind of crunchy? I just might have to make them and find out, particularly now that I'm getting on more friendly terms with feta.

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjen

Hi Jen!

They weren't as soft as I remember my mom's being, but they only bake in the oven for that 10 minutes. They do get microwaved, but my microwave is on it's last legs and I don't think it's running on full power. So--they may be softer for someone else than they were for me. They weren't crunchy, but still, not falling apart soft, either.

Can I ramble, or what? hehe!

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

you're totally not alone in your love of red and yellow peppers. in fact, they're always more expensive than the green ones in the grocery store, which clearly means they're superior. :) also, for the record, your filling looks tremendous.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergrace

There is one thing and one thing only that comes to mind when I think of the only food I don't like and it's green peppers. Wonder if it's nature or nurture? My kids feel the same!

I will, in a serious pinch, eat a dish that includes them, for instance if you made me something for lunch I would get through it and smile...but not the happiest smile ever; but would try very hard not to let you know my displeasure.

As a result, I avoided most all peppers...til I moved to Denver. Though originally asking 'hold the jalapenos' I eventually tried some dishes here with heat and that tide was turned.

Sadly, I avoided red and yellow peppers because of their relationship to the bitter green. What a mistake. I had a group of women get together for brunch at my home several years ago and everyone brought a dish. One of them was a vegetable dish made primarily with red and yellow peppers and I did my obligatory duty and had some on my plate. Can I just say...for those that hate green peppers with the passion that I do that not all peppers are made alike?!

This looks so beautiful and I have two of the main ingredients in abundance. A trip to Costco now has me with a years supply of quinoa (think I'm kidding?) and a bag of 8 red and yellow peppers.

For VanillaSugar and others not wanting to turn on the oven? Tho not getting the heat affecting the east coast I still cook most everything on the grill. Light one burner, put your baking dish on the other side not on top of direct heat and you're got an outdoor oven!

Thanks Elle..simply beautiful dish!

I got excited when I saw quinoa in the picture!! I've just tried it for the first time a couple weeks ago and I'm loving it. So far I've only made a black bean and corn salad with a lime/cumin dressing with it and it's great aside a sandwich in this HEAT. (yuck, I won't even get started on that! hehe)

It's unfortunate that my hubby not only dislikes feta he hates black olives too. I bet my leftover 'salad' would make a good stuffing with a little mozzarella on top so thank you for the idea!!! Oh, and that shrimp suggestion from Duchess of Fork, yum!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

I love stuffed peppers! These look just perfect! My kids pretty much devour whatever I put feta in so this is going in the bookmarks for sure!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyB

oh my goodness, what a beautiful presentation! that looks like THE perfect dinner to me!

Ooh looks seriously yummy!

July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Bowl Of Mush

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Peppers is going to be perfect for any occasion. The taste is good and presentation is so fantastic. I just wish that I can copy it perfectly.

July 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercribs

Sounds really good! My mom would have never served stuffed peppers as we would have never touched them. Now as an adult I love peppers...expect for those green ones

July 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Those are definitely nothing like my moms stuffed peppers. These look so much better!

July 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Thank you so much, guys! <3

July 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

These look so pretty! I love the feta and nuts and of course the quinoa! Love that stuff!

I love stuffed peppers! and yes this is defintitely a nutritional powerhouse of a meal! Love finding new ways to use quinoa!

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAggie

Love this one! Great way to make stuffed peppers healthier!

Where was I when you first posted this?!? So beautiful - and I love all bell peppers!

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRJ Flamingo

What a colorful and fresh looking dish. Perfect use of quinoa here. Brilliant idea!

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermegan

i'm w/you Elle, the green ones are quite bitter and i did not like, nor would i eat, the green ones as a kid; i do like them in SOME recipes, but not many. you're choice of the red, yellow or orange in this recipe is spot on - sweet mixing with the other flavors of this dish are terrific!

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

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