These vibrant, colorful, gorgeous looking bell peppers have all the essence and soul of the Mediterranean. Be it that briny taste of kalamata olives, to the tanginess of feta, to the nuttiness of pearled couscous, to a little freshness of cherry tomatoes, to the toastiness of pine nuts all spirited together with ground beef and some fresh herbs like parsley, thyme and oregano.
This is all you need to change your basic stuffed peppers to the level of exotic. Try it and you will fall in love with me… yes me, for introducing these beauties to you!!
You see, I love colorful, good looking food… you must have figured that out by now. They say the more colors on your plate, the more the nutrients you get. Have you ever heard the phrase “Eat a rainbow a day?” It simply refers to consuming fruits and vegetables in a wide variety of colors. Thousands of pigments contribute to the beautiful colors of our produce, and they all have unique health benefits.
Because they are mostly fruit and vegetable originated, sometimes from whole grains, beans and nuts, they are so important. They are called phytochemicals. “Phyto” means “plant” in Greek. And the easiest way to gain all the benefits of these nutrients is simply looking at how many different colors you have on your plate.
Because the region around the Mediterranean is so abundant with fruits and vegetables and prime seafood, it reflects in their cuisine with the freshest of the produce, resulting in amazing flavors and textures. With just a few of their indigenous vegetables, you can create the same flavors in your very own kitchen. These peppers are inspired by my love of colors, as you can see I have used all possible pepper colors I can pick up from my grocery store.
Why make these Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers?
- They can be your quick weeknight meal or an entertaining company meal. Perfect contender for that Mezze platter that would wow your guests. The Super Bowl is coming up, these would look great on your spread!
- Even if they look pretty, they are very easy to make. You can make the stuffing well in advance. That makes it a great meal prep option. Once you make the quick stuffing, your oven is going to do the rest of cooking for you!
- Flavors! They are over the top and you can play with different variations. Meat or meatless, different types of grains, herbs and spices, or vegetables. Just keep the common theme of Mediterranean going with olives, tomatoes, pine nuts and feta! They will all turn out good. Try this version first, there is a good chance that you would come to this one every single time you think of stuffing peppers… Mediterranean style!!
- Bell Peppers – The more different colors, the prettier it will look. Apart from yellow, orange and red, I even used green. Some might not like green, but I love all. My husband’s favorite is red… what’s yours?
- Ground Beef – A lot of Mediterranean stuffed peppers are meatless, but we love our protein. We are using 90% lean meat.
- Pearled Couscous – You will love the crunchy nuttiness of this one. Great texture.
- Onion – Chopped. I love them, my husband doesn’t… but then he is trained to weed them out.
- Garlic – Yum!
- Cherry tomatoes – Cherry because I like the way they retain their crunch even after baking.
- Kalamata olives – You can use regular black olives, but if you have kalamata give them preference.
- Feta – Oh, my feta. It has to be there to top it all in the end.
- Pine nuts – A little toasted. That buttery flavor is excellent when you bite into them.
- Herbs and spices – Oregano, thyme, paprika and some fresh parsley.
- Tomato paste – For extra flavor.
- Salt and pepper
This is how easy it is to make these Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers
You will start by sautéing some chopped onions in olive oil until they are soft and translucent. Then, add ground beef and crumble and brown it for a few minutes. Next, add your chopped garlic, herbs and spices, and tomato paste and combine everything well. Cook until beef if cooked and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook couscous according to the instructions on the packet. Generally you toast them lightly in olive oil and then add boiling water about 5-10 minutes.
Toast the pine nuts for few seconds in a small ungreased pan over medium heat until lightly browned. Stir frequently and pay attention, they can become charred very easily.
In a big bowl, mix your cooked ground beef mixture with quartered or halved (according to the size) cherry tomatoes, chopped kalamata olives, chopped parsley, pine nuts and couscous. Mix well.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the peppers in half vertically, stuff them with the mixture in a greased pan, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook an additional 15 minutes. Check for the doneness of the peppers with a knife. They should still be a little crunchy, yet a little soft. You don’t want mushy saggy looking peppers. If needed, you can cook them a few more minutes.
There are lot of recipes that call for steaming or blanching the peppers before baking, which is I feel such an unnecessary step. Just baking gives you perfect looking, vibrant and tasting peppers. Why take an extra step? This way it’s easy and quick. And that’s it… just arrange them on a serving platter, garnish with crumbled feta, relax and enjoy the Mediterranean way of life.
How to serve Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers
You can serve these peppers just on their own, with any kind of salad, or even a bowl of soup. They would go great as an antipasto or the main centerpiece in a Mezze platter. They even go great with some nice crusty bread dipped in good olive oil.
Experiment with your grains. From regular couscous to orzo to farro to freekeh to bulgur to wild rice to brown or even white rice. Avoiding red meats? Try ground chicken or turkey! Want to go vegetarian? No problemo, replace the meat with extra grains and tomatoes. Going keto? Just eliminate the grains and add an extra half pound of meat to make of the difference in volume.
These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers are super versatile that way. Just stick with your base flavors of tomatoes, olives and pine nuts, along with some herbs, and you are good to go!
Can I refrigerate or freeze these?
Yes! That’s the beauty of it. Make a big batch and they are great leftovers for lunches. You can refrigerate up to 2 days. Just heat them up in the microwave.
For freezing, all you need to do is wrap them individually and freeze them in an airtight container or ziploc bag up to 2 months. Thaw them and simply bake them at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until they are heated.
Try these out and let me know if you are in love with me or not in the comments below! More and more colorful food coming your way 2020… keep on reading!!
Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
Try these other great Mediterranean recipes!
Greek Meatballs (Soutzuokakia)
Spanish Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
Moutabal (Eggplant Dip)
Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)
- 4 bell peppers
- 1.25 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3/4 cup cooked pearled couscous
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/8 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add ground beef, break up with spoon and brown. Mix in herbs, spices and tomato paste. Sauté until beef is cook through. Set aside.
- Cook couscous according to directions on packet. This should take abut 10 minutes total.
- Toast pine nuts in ungreased pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir frequently and watch carefully to avoid charring them. They should be lightly browned.
- Chop kalamata olives, tomatoes and parsley.
- In a large bowl, mix meat, couscous, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, olives and parsley.
- Cut peppers vertically. Lay halves on their side in greased baking pan. Stuff with stuffing mixture and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake and additional 15 minutes. Check doneness with a knife, peppers should be softened but still have a little crunch. Baking times vary by oven, if need be, bake an additional few minutes.
- After removing from oven, sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over peppers... enjoy!
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 607Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 135mgSodium 908mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 47g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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