Looking for a tasty way to shake the winter blues? Put these Couscous Stuffed Peppers on the dinner menu! Packed with Mediterranean flavor, these peppers were a huge hit in our house!
If it wasn’t for mac-and-cheese, peanut butter and chicken fingers, I don’t know what Robbie would eat. As many of you parents out there fully understand, kids can be picky eaters. Robbie is no exception. Laura and I had grand plans of introducing him to everything we eat. Well, we introduced him, but he had no interest in meeting those foods. We’ve found a balance that works well, so we roll with it. Including wheels, tubes-and-tunnels and mini-bow pastas.
Fortunately for us, Robbie realized early on that mac-and-cheese is delicious. Now he won’t eat our traditional version of mac-and-cheese, but he will eat our short-cut American cheese version. So that’s what we do. Buttered pasta with American cheese. And I have to admit that it’s oddly comforting. It’s like the boxed mac-and-cheese that I ate as a kid…except way better! And we do mix it up from time to time – by changing the pasta shape.
I’ve mentioned before that I keep a ridiculously large variety of types of pasta in our pantry. That has worked out well for Robbie as wheels (rotini), tubes-and-tunnels (ditalini) and mini-bow (farfalle) all make regular appearances for mac-and-cheese night. Enter a new one: tiny balls. Pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous, or ptitim) is actually a type of pasta rather than couscous. The name is misleading. And what makes it even more confusing is that pearl couscous is often found in the grains section of the grocery store rather than the pasta aisle. Nevertheless, pearl couscous is a type of pasta.
Couscous Stuffed Peppers
No matter where it’s stocked on the grocery store shelf, I often forget about pearl couscous. And whenever I make a recipe with it, I always tell Laura that we should make it more often. Of course, a year will inevitably pass before I think about making pearl couscous again. Not anymore. I suspect pearl couscous will be making more appearances in our house – as “tiny balls pasta” for Robbie’s mac and cheese nights!
Stuffed peppers are a favorite around here, and I recently made a batch of these Couscous Stuffed Peppers. This is one tasty recipe! I leaned heavily on Mediterranean flavors for this recipe, and we agreed that these peppers will appear on our menu again sometime soon. Laura pointed out these Couscous Stuffed Peppers tasted even better as leftovers. Similar to how the flavors in soup come together after sitting in the fridge overnight, the filling for these peppers did indeed taste better on Day 2. I appreciate leftover nights for their simplicity, and if they taste even better than the original? Win-win!
The stuffing for these Couscous Stuffed Peppers is packed with all sorts of deliciousness. Toasted walnuts (for crunch), dried cranberries (for sweetness), feta cheese and Kalamata olives (for saltiness), fresh parsley (for brightness)…the list goes on. While the ingredient list might look long, trust me when I say this filling is worth the effort! In fact, we ate a bit of the filling cold on Day 2, and we both agreed that this filling could work as a cold summer salad.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! These Couscous Stuffed Peppers are a healthy way to stay on track after the holidays without sacrificing flavor. Enjoy!
Did you make a batch of these Couscous Stuffed Peppers at home? Or did you make the filling as a summer salad instead? Leave a comment or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Couscous Stuffed Peppers
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1½ cups pearled Israeli couscous
- 1 cup chopped walnuts lightly toasted
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup dried cranberries chopped
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese divided
- 1 13.75-oz. can artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 bell peppers assorted colors
- Using a small bowl, add tomatoes and vegetable oil; toss until tomatoes are coated.
- Spread tomatoes on a small broil-safe pan. Broil on low for 8-12 minutes, or until skins burst.
- Meanwhile, add the chicken broth, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic to a small saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the couscous. Remove pan from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a dry skillet, add the chopped walnuts. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until walnuts are lightly toasted. (Once you can smell the walnuts, they’re toasted!)
- Using a large bowl, add the tomatoes (from above), cooked couscous (from above), toasted walnuts, celery, cranberries, ¾ cup of feta cheese, artichoke hearts, olives, parsley, egg and Parmesan cheese; stir until well combined.
- Slice a thin layer off the top of each pepper. Remove seeds and inner membranes.
- Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with baking spray. Stuff peppers with the couscous mixture and place upright in dish.
- Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
- Remove foil. Sprinkle tops of peppers with remaining ¼ cup of feta cheese. Bake for 5-10 more minutes.
Looking for more Mediterranean inspired recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: