You know how the default vegetarian option at weddings usually seems to be polenta or a portabella mushroom? And more often than not it’s mediocre polenta or the mushroom is all tough and chewy? I sort of feel the same way about stuffed peppers. They’re something that vegetarians are supposed to like, something that’s supposed to be interesting and filling enough to appeal to meat-eaters as well. I gotta say, though, despite their versatility, the fact that you can fill them with just about anything, I’ve never had a stuffed pepper that really wowed me. They always seem sort of unwieldy to eat and the soggy, watery pepper just doesn’t do much for me.
If ever I were to fall in love with a stuffed pepper, to finally try one that called my name, I thought it might be Smitten Kitchen’s couscous and feta stuffed peppers. I’ve been a big fan of Deb’s blog (who isn’t, though?) and have had some pretty great luck trying her recipes in the past. So after trying out these peppers a few weeks ago I can only conclude that stuffed peppers are just not for me. They weren’t terrible, but frankly, I’d rather just skip the pepper altogether and eat the filling, in this case a nice combination of feta, couscous, summer squash, chick peas, and tomatoes.
Anyone have a recipe for stuffed peppers that will make me change my mind about them?
Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers(makes about 6 peppers)
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 1/4 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup couscous
4 extra-large or 5 large bell peppers, mixed colors
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 oz zucchini, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
6 oz yellow squash, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 oz crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1. Preheat oven to 350°F F. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan, add the couscous, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Cut the stems and top half inch off the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and membranes.
2. Place peppers upright in a baking dish and roast them for 15 minutes or so, until they soften, then remove them from the oven until the filling is ready.
3. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Add onion, zucchini, yellow squash, fennel seeds, oregano, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas and tomato paste. Using a fork, scrape the couscous into the skillet and toss with the vegetables. Stir in the crumbled feta.
4. Fill peppers with the couscous mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Serve immediately.