Vegetarian Mediterranean stuffed peppers with couscous are easy to make and packed with fresh flavor. Perfect as a main or side, they are as nutritious as they are delicious!
Ok, so these are not your typical retro American stuffed peppers with ground beef and rice. (Those are great though, right?)
Think of this as an updated classic. I discovered how deliciously versatile stuffed peppers could be when I made these Tex-Mex-style vegetarian stuffed peppers.
And judging by how popular they've become on Pinterest, we're on the stuffed pepper wagon together, you and I!
So these Mediterranean couscous stuffed peppers are yet another riff on that venerable classic.
This time we're using couscous instead of rice, black-eyed peas instead of beef, some salty feta, fresh basil, and a bunch of other stuff that's going to infuse these with MAXIMUM flavor.
What to Serve with Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers are super versatile in that you can serve them either as a main or as a side.
To stay in the Mediterranean flavor zone, try them with a big Greek salad. Skip the chicken to keep things vegetarian. Or they'd be great on the side of some Mediterranean black bean burgers or some black bean soup.
If you're not worried about staying veggie, these also go really well with a grilled chicken breast, some lamb chops, or a juicy herb-marinated steak.
Honestly, though? Stuffed peppers are an all-in-one meal. You've got your starch, your protein, and your veggies all in one delicious package. So don't stress about sides. I rarely do, and nobody misses them :).
What Color Peppers are Best for Stuffed Peppers?
Bell peppers are used for classic stuffed peppers, but if you thought all colors were the same, that's actually not the case!
Although it's all the same plant, green peppers are the unripe version. Peppers get redder and sweeter as they ripen.
This means that, in order of sweetness, red are the sweetest, followed by orange, then yellow.
Green bell peppers are traditionally used with the classic meat, rice, and tomato sauce filling because they're the most savory and least sweet of the colors.
For the flavors in these Mediterranean stuffed peppers, I prefer the sweeter varieties. But they are all great, so I just mix them up for eye appeal. If green is what you can get though, go for it!
And if you've ever wondered why green peppers are always cheaper than the other colors, well it's because they grow for less time before being harvested so they use less water and other resources!
How to Make Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers with Couscous
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Slice around the stem of each pepper and remove the stem and seeds.
- Slice them in half vertically and place them cut side up in a large baking dish greased with olive oil.
- In a medium saucepan, bring ¾ cup of vegetable broth to a boil. Remove from heat and add the couscous.
- Stir in the salt and turmeric until well combined and cover with a lid. Set aside for at least 10 minutes while you make the rest of the filling. Fluff with a fork before using.
- Chop the onion and zucchini and mince the garlic. Chop tomatoes.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the zucchini, garlic, and oregano, and cook another 3-4 minutes until softened and fragrant.
- Add chopped tomatoes and black-eyed peas and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Fold in the chopped basil and feta, along with the couscous. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stuff the pepper halves with the couscous mixture and cover the pan with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the peppers are crisp-tender. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until fully tender.
I love to squeeze some fresh lemon juice over them and drizzle with some olive oil before serving.
A little extra feta and fresh basil never hurts either.
If you love classic Mediterranean flavors, you will love these couscous stuffed peppers!
CAN I FREEZE STUFFED PEPPERS?
YES! Just fill the peppers and pop them into a freezer bag, press out as much air as you can, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Bake the peppers from frozen, covered with lid or foil, in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour. Remove the lid or foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
Mediterranean Couscous Stuffed Peppers
- 4 bell peppers seeded and halved lengthwise
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- ¾ cup uncooked couscous
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 14- oz can black-eyed peas
- 2 cups chopped plum tomatoes about 3-4 tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped and loosely packed
- 1 cup crumbled feta
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh lemon juice and olive oil for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with olive oil.
- Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise (from top to bottom). Remove the stems and seeds and place them cut-side up in the baking dish.
- Bring the broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous, salt, and turmeric. Cover with a lid and set aside for 10 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed. Remove the lid to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, and oregano and cook an additional 3-4 minutes., until softened and fragrant.
- Stir in the black-eyed peas and tomatoes and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Fold in the couscous, feta and basil. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill the pepper halves with the couscous mixture and cover the baking dish tightly with foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the peppers are tender and the filling is golden.
- Sprinkle with extra feta and fresh basil before serving if desired.