couscous-and-feta-stuffed-peppers Recipes

couscous and feta-stuffed peppers

I spent six hours on a train yesterday to and from my old stomping grounds, Washington D.C. I lived there for six years and haven’t been back in just as many, so you can imagine how crazy it was to only see twenty minutes of it, from a cab. With every turn, I jumped, remembering how we used to hang out legs out from that window above Dupont Circle over the sign for what used to be a hair salon, or that turn that always unnerved me to make from California to Connecticut and that block on Massachusetts Avenue not far from NPR where a hooker once flashed me everything as I gripped the steering wheel and willed the light to turn green already, PLEASE.

It was like confetti flitting around in a fan, all these pieces I had entirely forgotten about, like sanitized subways and the escalator at the zoo that is no less than a mile long, but others I couldn’t stitch together before we waded through the traffic to the next block. There are people who always remember things badly–high school, that terrible layover where we tried to fix our hangover in an airport bar, some years in a city others couldn’t wait to leave–but its all rose-colored glasses for me. Things are always best the way I remember them, which sometimes comes in handy when I’m in a pissy mood, or you know, trying to figure out what to eat for dinner.

zucchini and summer squashcherry tomatoeschickpeassaute

We loved these stuffed red peppers when I made them last year, and like my last recipe refresh, all of these foods are actually around in the farmers markets right now, unlike the first time around. Alex picked up these mega-huge red peppers (hoping I’d pickle them again but, no, haha) on Friday, and they were screaming to be stuffed. Unlike the last time I made these stuffed peppers with couscous, summer squash, cherry tomatoes and feta, I only had a smidgen of filling leftover, leading me to suggest that if you make this and you only have regularly-sized bell peppers, you’ll probably want five instead of four. I also used a commenters suggestion to prebake the pepper shells rather than boiling a big pot of water. It was a great suggestion, and saved at least one dish. Although I didn’t do this, it also occurred to me that this would be really delicious with some uncased, broken-up sausage sautéed in with the vegetables. Either way, it was exactly as delicious, filling and wholesome as we remembered it, and very much a one-serving meal.

Lastly, I think one of the greatest things about this dish is that it reheats really well, so if it is just the two of you, you automatically cook two dinners instead of one, which is quite brilliant if you’re going to be out of town all day and itching for a home-cooked meal when you get back. It works even better if you eat it, and not, say, a brownie for dinner instead when you get home at 9:30 p.m. But let’s not get crazy, okay?

mixedstuffed

One year ago: Fougasse Provencale and Rustic White Bread

Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Epicurious

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

Preheat oven to 350°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. 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. 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. Fill peppers with the couscous mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

98 comments on couscous and feta-stuffed peppers

  1. Have you tried these with israeli couscous? They are even more filling! If you have tiny peppers, it’s better to stick with the standard smaller variety. But when the mega peppers come out to market, it’s perfect!

  2. Lisa

    Brilliant idea to pre-roast the peppers rather than having to boil or steam them. I’ll try this technique on my favorite polenta & corn stuffed peppers while we still have fresh corn. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Preroasting? That’s just brilliant! I haven’t made stuffed peppers in AGES. We used to make them at home with ground up turkey and rice and seasonings with a generous heaping of sour cream on top (of course, Russian food without sour cream?) – but I’ve been craving a vegetarian version too!

  4. Were you surprised by how suburban-mall-like Dupont Circle has become? We haven’t been here five years yet and are constantly surprised/disappointed when a local haunt folds only to be replaced by a chain store.

  5. Jim

    Oh man. Oh, man. Just looking at these peppers has me drooling and forgetting the hummus and pitas in front of me. Consider your recipe bumped to the top of the queue!

  6. I’ve been to D.C. twice. The second time sucked even more than the first time, if that is even possible. I’ve never been back. Thank God.

    Anyway, those stuffed pepper things look AMAZING and I am SOOOO hungry right now. Anyway, maybe I will try cooking them? Ah ah Aha hahaha I know, that’s funny, I use my oven for storage.

  7. I used to live in DC as well! I haven’t been back in ages but I’m hoping I’ll get to go soon. Its such a unique place…

    Anyway–I love the stuffed peppers. I tried to make a stuffed pepper once with terrible results but I love the idea–I’ll give this recipe a try!

  8. I love DC! I can’t wait to go back. I only got to spend one day there but it’s a day I’ll never forget. Also, I ran into my ex-boyfriend at the Air & Space Museum – that’s another story.

    I’m not discussing the peppers. Jocelyn can eat them all on my behalf.

  9. Sara

    Oh my goodness – this sounds like a re-mix of your ratatouille, which I make two or three times monthly (and usually fight the impulse for more). I’ll be adding this to next week’s menu!

    Next month I’m headed to your area for my one-year anniversary, and I was hoping you and (and neighboring Smitten posters) could give a couple of restaurant recommendations. Please! We love to eat but will be confined to Zagat’s instead of local color – horrors – if we don’t get some authentic New Yorker assistance. I know I can trust your tastes!

  10. deb

    jennbec — No, but it sounds wonderful. I can’t get enough of the stuff. I am sure the couscous could also be swapped with quinoa, barley or even brown rice. The possibilities are endless.

    Lisa — Wow, polenta and corn sounds awesome. I’d love the recipe!

    radish — Yours sound a lot like my mother-in-laws, which are delicious and I should make them again soon. She shreds parsnips in with the carrots, and I think that flavor is what makes it sing.

    sprite — Yes. Well, a lot of the city, from what I’d seen. It’s weird because when I lived there, it aggravated the heck out of me that I had to leave the Beltway to buy Old Navy yoga pants, yet of course the flipside is big box stores everywhere. It’s great to see the city thriving, though. Perhaps they can work out that whole taxation without representation thing next!

    Jocelyn — Don’t undermine your cooking prowess, you could totally pull it off! Or have Molly help you! She’s a great cook, and she’d make it awesome and spicy.

    Lisa (Homesick Texan) — Gah, I still haven’t grilled stuffed poblanos this summer, and I don’t know what I’m waiting for. I bet your recipe kicks butt.

    Sara — Good call! They are my favorite ingredients. Which reminds me that I owe you guys a post on all the things to do with your leftover ratatouille, should you have any. What kind of food do you want when you’re here?

  11. I currently live in DC (have for about 3 years) and the city has definitely changed — some for the better, some for the worse. The U St area (which was uber sketchy even 7 years ago) has exploded with restaurants and shops, almost all of which are independent, which is refreshing. But I digress… These peppers look fab!

  12. The only time I’ve seen DC is from the perimeter sometime around 3am on the 11 hour drive from North Carolina to Connecticut. The memory of that trip is a jumbled mess of drooling on the backseat, playing the same CD 5 times in a row, and trying not to touch any surface in the women’s bathroom. I hope one day to replace that memory with something better. Anything would be better.

    These peppers look great! Yummm

  13. I am — as the moniker suggests — in love with DC and all it has to offer. Next time you come back, stay for a bit longer, and I’ll take you out on a tapas crawl!

  14. Bah, I have to take the train to dc all the time for work, and I am queen of Amtrak hell. There and back in one day sounds painful.
    I have to say I don’t love stuffed peppers, but there are a few exceptions, most specifically the indian ones, shimla mirch, so spicy good.

  15. Last time I was in DC (where I visit frequently), I discovered the fabulous Dupont Circle farmers’ market. Oooh, I found the best yogurt there! Will accumulate the ingredients for these lovely stuffed peppers at my local market this weekend.

  16. Yum this recipe looks fantastic! Our daughter just started her first semester in DC…and she is BEYOND! She’s been exploring the city as well as going to school and loving every minute. My sister went to school in DC and never came back. We’re wondering if the same will happen for our daughter. Guess we must wait to see how things play out!

  17. My DBF has been subtly hinting that he’d love me to make stuffed peppers ever since we met, so I guess I don’t have any excuse now. I think I’ll take your tip on uncased sausage meat, and pick up some of the amazing Toulouse-style sausages the organic butcher at my local farmer’s market carries. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

  18. leah

    Hey Deb,
    I love your website, especially your photography. Your food always looks fresh and the pictures look very crisp.I am curious about the camera model that you use. Would you mind sharing?

    Leah.

  19. deb

    Jessica — I was there for work. I only saw 20 minutes of it from the cab back to the train station.

    DC365 — Is Jaleo still good? I LOVED that place when I lived in DC. In fact, the last time I was there, a friend told me he’d be leaving NYC for one year and his rent-controlled apartment was available for sublease. Guess who took it, on the spot?

    Mercedes — I had braced myself for such a terrible experience, remembering how unreliable they were back in the day, but (shockingly) everything ran on time. I, on the other hand, was retarded: I forgot my phone and brought no reading material or offline work because I assumed (ha!) that there would be some sort of internet connectivity on the train. So I took a nap. I think I snored. Nobody said anything.

    leah — My camera information is over here. However, it’s actually in the shop right now so we used my dad’s Canon XTi for this, with our macro and a 430EX speedlite flash. Thanks dad!

  20. Mer

    I made these last night… I had bell peppers to use up but no chickpeas, but they were great. I have used many a recipe for stuffed peppers and my boyfriend said that these were his favorite of all I have made. He is spoiled with good dinners and picky about food so this is a big compliment! Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Sara

    Thanks for helping us out with travel nourishment, Deb! We’re simple folks, so we’re not really looking for anything either insanely expensive or hoity-toity. Basically we just want good food in the city – breakfast, lunch or dinner recommendations (or any advice on stuff we just should not miss out on while we’re visiting) would be so, so appreciated!

  22. Michelle

    This recipe sounds wonderful and I’m eager to try it with quinoa in lieu of the couscous. The textures and tastes would be similar, but with a huge boost in the nutritional value. Quinoa has become my new favorite grain/seed. This recipe is perfect for it! Thanks!

  23. Deb – Jaleo is still good, and within walking distance are Andres’ three other joints: Zaytinya (Greek and Turkish tapas), Oyamel (Mexican tapas) and Cafe Atlantico (South American tapas). So when I said crawl, I meant it!

  24. Aviva

    Gah. I know Alex knows how lucky he is to have found his match in someone who is also as good with food as you are. As a political scientist who knows how to slice and heat, and is in a very satisfying and restaurant-heavy relationship with a fellow political scientist who can thaw and dress, I believe I can speak for both of us here: we are jealous. Foodies who can’t cook are a bit hypocritical, right? Or are we like critics of virtually anything else, (supposedly) highly skilled in the ability to discern quality product, yet unable or unwilling to create it ourselves? We find solace in our ability to find the best hidden restaurants, yet not so secretly wish we had your aptitude.

    You give us ideas. Maybe one of us will try to recreate this… I’m sure the other will be kind enough to pick up an alternate meal on the way home.

    Thanks for excellent and engaging food writing!

  25. Sophie-Anne

    I made these peppers yesterday – substituting couscous for quinoa and adding some mild italian sausage meat – and they are amazing – beautiful and yummy!
    Thank you so much for inspiring so many of my dinners!

  26. I made these yesterday! YUM! I added some Greek olives and left out the chick peas. But with fresh tomatoes, last of the summer from my garden I am afraid, they turned out great. Very tasty.

  27. amber

    i just tried the recipe with some slight variations – i didn’t have some of the ingredients but couldn’t wait to try it! so no chickpeas nor feta, substituted thyme and rosemary (dried) for the fennel and oregano, dark green peppers instead of the yellow sqaush, and light green peppers for the red peppers. amazing! can’t wait to get to the store to get the real ingredients! love the blog!

  28. I love your site! I made these tonight and they were delicious! I added the sausage and made it gluten free, so no couscous. but rice worked nice:) Our oven is broke so I made them on the grill, which worked great and added a nice flavor and some pretty grill marks. I wrapped the peppers in foil and put them on the grill while I made the stuffing. Then after I filled them I put them back on the grill. I rolled the foil up and set it on either side of them, so they wouldn’t fall over. I think the grill is my new favorite way to make stuffed peppers. Who knew?
    Thanks again!

  29. sstiffler

    I recently stumbled upon your blog. So, while poking around I found this recipe and made it for dinner tonight. I went with 5 peppers and had left over filling. Dinner was delicious.

  30. Jonno

    Found these 2 years late – made ’em with quinoa cooked in vegetable broth, goat farmers’ cheese, shiitake mushrooms, apple cider vinegar – I have a wife who has cancer and is beating it with all-alkaline foods, but she’s also Greek, and stuffed peppers (peperies gemisthes) are one of her favorites from her grandmother. The technique is completely different, so I had to cook these without her seeing, but the smile on her face makes everything worth it. My first recipe from SK – and by god I’m happy to have stumbled upon you! Thanks a million – and good luck with the wee wrinkler you just made!

  31. This looks amazing! Always great to find new vegetarian recipes… this one is so creative too. Love it! Thanks so much for sharing – I absolutely adore this blog. The photos, the stories, the recipes…. everything! :)

  32. ella

    I wonder if these would work with quinoa? I’ve got a bag of quinoa, no couscous. Haven’t cooked with quinoa so not sure how the flavor would meld. Any idea? Thanks!

  33. R-Si

    I love the idea of stuffed peppers with couscous because so many recipes use rice. Anyway, I didn’t really have all the ingredients you have here so I improvised with pecorino instead of feta, minced peppers and smashed garlic cloves instead of zucchini/squash, I added slices of organic saucisson sec, and I topped them with a slice of yellow/orange tomato. I did use chickpeas (as a chickpea fanatic) and I cooked the couscous with stock and saffron. Super delicious. Thank you for the inspiration.

  34. I tried this recipe tonight and it was delicious! My husband and I are trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our diet, and this one got two thumbs up. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Jan

    I found this on We Are Not Martha, and I can’t wait to try it. I also found your blog in the process and I’m excited to see what else you have.

  36. jennifer sullivan

    i made this recipe last night — but added ground chicken to the mix. needless to say, it was amaaazing. ill never use rice again in stuffed peppers. we had a lot of left over stuffing which my husband took to the fire station to feed his boys. the fetaand chickpeas MAKE this recipe.

  37. I made these last night and they were delicious! I usually do not like bell peppers but the couscous and feta made them irresistible! I will definitely be making these again :)

  38. Lori

    I was excited to make these, but then a little disappointed. I followed the recipe almost exactly (used wheat couscous instead of plain) and had hoped for softer peppers, but they had too much crunch. The filling was good but not great….a bit dry. Was it because the couscous was whole wheat? I didn’t want to make the traditional tomato sauce-drenched type of stuffed pepper, but am wondering what else could be done to make these more moist?

  39. bel

    hi, I was just rummaging around the internet in the hopes of finding a nice stuffed pepper recipe; well here we are! You said that this reheats very well, but I was just wondering if you reheat them in the microwave or the oven?

  40. Natasha

    I made these the other night, but I had to use brown rice, as I was somehow out of cous-cous! It was seriously DELICIOUS. I added some Italian sausage as well. My fiance didn’t care for the actual peppers, but loved the filling. Next time maybe I’ll chop up the peppers and mix them in, and we’ll just make ourselves a big bowl full. I reheated leftover peppers in the microwave for lunch, and they were great!

  41. Liz

    I tried this recipe tonight, and just as I was pre-roasting the capsicums, I realised I didn’t have any squash, and the one zucchini left was partially decomposed…solution? Bacon bits, chopping up one of the capsicum lids, and then forgetting to measure the chickpeas. ..
    It was awesome anyway, and I would definitely make it again, it was really quick!
    This was the first time I’ve ever cooked cous cous, so was a little bit worried about it. Do you have any tips on how to make the cous cous less…lumpy? Did I not do something I should have? The texture seemed ok, it just stuck to itself a lot…
    Thanks!

  42. Mel

    Oh man, these are magical and they have almost all of my favorite ingredients. I used quinoa (one of my all time favorites) instead of couscous and it was amazing. Perfect way to start the week so thank you!

  43. This will be the second time that I make these. Great, healthy Sunday night meal. I’m making extras to freeze and use during the week or for lunch. Love this recipe! Whenever I have something that I need to use up in my fridge (feta today) I just type in the word in the search of the blog and voila- some delicious recipe appears! Can’t wait for your cookbook!

  44. Maya

    This filling is SO incredible and rich with flavors! We eat it as is, without the peppers. It’s one of my favorite things ever.

  45. nicole

    I just made this tonight and they were really good. I actually found the peppers a bit undercooked (though they were really thick yellow peppers), so I would even cook them a bit longer. I also chopped up the “lid” of the pepper that was cut off and added it to the mix of vegetables. I decided to skip the chickpeas (I love them but have ate WAY too many recently) and I added chorizo, which was awesome (I actually wished I added a bit more). As I was eating it, I thought walnuts would be a good addition (or substitution for the chickpease) and think I’ll try that next time. Thanks for the recipe (and helping me use up too many peppers in the fridge!).

  46. Homecook

    Well, let me preface this by saying that I’m no newbie in the ktichen… believe it or not, a few minutes in the microwave will get those peppers ready just as well as boiling, steaming or baking. Simple, time saving, effective. I hope to cook this recipe soon, it looks great.

  47. Yuuummmmmm

    Oh my these look divine. Going to take them to a friend’s house tomorrow night. I have no idea what to serve WITH them though! Thanks for your blog!!!

  48. I just made these last night, but used Israeli couscous instead, it’s much larger and I think made for a better match with the chickpeas! Also added mushrooms, yumm.

    Brilliant recipe!

  49. bell

    WOW, these exceeded my expectations, they are truly delicious, I had to stop myself from eating the filling before I’d even filled the peppers – the filling is almost a stand-alone dish. I’m a vegetarian, but I added sausage for the meat-eaters, and they were in awe – THANKS for making me look good!

  50. rupi d

    We made a version of these last night and they turned out great- delicious and healthy. We skipped the prebaking of the peppers and just stuffed and baked them, I like the peppers with a firmer texture with the “mushy” textured stuffing.

  51. Kate

    I’ve made these a few times now over the years. Just wanted to say they are awesome. Thanks for the yummy (and quick) recipe!!

  52. Kate

    Another winner! I made mine with quinoa and rosemary, parsley and thyme, since that’s what I had fresh. I also stuffed them the night before and reheated for a dinner party.

  53. Jennifer

    I made this Sunday and it was AWESOME!!! There was enough filling left for stuffed portabello mushrooms on Monday (which were also awesome!) The only change I made was to add ground lamb instead of chickpeas and added some sliced kalamata olives. This is the third recipe I have tried here and I thank you because each has beed wonderful. Pre-ordered the cookbook on Amazon.

  54. Julie

    These were so wonderful they totally turned me around on my stuffed pepper position! My farmers’ market peppers wouldn’t stand up straight so I cut them in half and laid them down in the baking dish. The filling tumbled out of them, but they were just as delicious.

    So looking forward to seeing you in DC when you come!

  55. Stephanie

    Made this tonight, but did it with quinoa (both red and regular, for a little color). Might try it with a little garlic next time, or is that a bad idea? Also, thinking of swapping one of the tablespoons of tomato paste with harissa. What do you think? Either way, was delicious!

  56. Sarah M.

    These look delicious! I make a version with couscous, garbanzo beans, feta, fresh spinach, pine nuts, and dried cherries. I’m wondering if it would work to freeze these and bake later? And would you bake them first and freeze them or just stuff them and then freeze them to bake later? Thoughts? Thanks!

  57. Kristin

    Made these last night with the last of the peppers from my garden, and they were delicious. The peppers were kind of small, so the recipe as written with regular couscous worked well, although I cut the tomatoes smaller. Next time I’ll try some variations. To soften the peppers easily, add some water to the pan and cover with tinfoil for baking. Remove at the end if you like the top crusty. They reheated well and I’m eating one now for breakfast. I’m going to feel healthy all day!

  58. Alissa

    I made these a few days ago, minus the cheese considering I’m vegan and never liked feta anyways.
    I think that they tasted great. Normally, when something calls for couscous I replace it with Quinoa, but I decided not to this time. It came out really well, but I think it would’ve been a bit better with Quinoa.
    My omnivore parents and sister liked it a lot as well which says something because they are piiiiicky!
    Thank you for the great recipe.

  59. Sarah

    What kind of side dish would you serve with this? I’m doing a dinner party and need something else. I’ve got bread, but I feel like I’m missing something

  60. Sara M

    Delicious! Like many others, I swapped out the couscous in favor of some quinoa, for the whole grain. I used mushroom stock to cook the quinoa, and it was perfect.

    P.S. Mushroom bouillon cubes are hard to find but great to have on hand in a pinch when you don’t have time/energy/ingredients to make fresh mushroom broth!

  61. Kris

    Hi! These look gorgeous and am hoping to try them out for a middle eastern dinner party soon. In looking at other stuffed pepper recipes (like your smoke roasted peppers), I was wondering whether it mattered if the peppers were cored and stuffed from above vs halved and stuffed sideways? The latter option would give folks a bit less per serving and allow them to enjoy a few other choices in the meal. Thanks.

    1. deb

      Kris — I don’t think it matters which way you stuff them. I just find that it holds better when the peppers are upright. But, it will taste the same either way.

  62. Kris

    Thanks. If anyone else wants to try it, I followed the same recipe but did cut the peppers lengthwise. Broiled them briefly at the end to color the exposed stuffing. They look great and held up just fine.

  63. KathyD

    This is my favorite way to preserve my garden crop. I chop the peppers and toss them in rather than stuff them, then freeze in 2-cup containers, so easier to stir up in work microwave. Great way to have the taste of summer on a dreary day in November.

  64. MissJubilee

    Yum. I crossed this recipe with the other stuffed pepper recipe I found on your site (replacing the chickpeas and feta by mixing in a little corn and part of a pepper, and sprinkling parmesan on top) and it turned out great. I looked this up because a neighbor left some peppers on my doorstep, and then I was glad to find a use for some of the couscous I had bought on impulse last week :)

  65. MelissaBKB

    My regular grocery store stopped carrying couscous (what year is it again???) and the quinoa was pricey so I used a wild rice blend (Lundberg) and it worked really well! I was afraid the flavor profile would be dragged too far toward bitter, but since I cooked it in the chicken broth (used pkg directions) it came out nicely. Served with a spring mix/baby spinach salad with chopped avocado. It’s a great change-up from our usual ground beef-white rice-tomato sauce stuffed green peppers. Husband said it’s a “definite keeper for vegetarian meal” options.

  66. Sandra

    This sounds delicious – and I have couscous, zucchini and bell peppers that need to be used! Ate the last of my feta yesterday though, and would like to avoid a trip to the store… do you think it would work if I replaced the feta with parmesan, cheddar or mozzarella?

  67. K

    Hmm… I’m not impressed. I find them quite bland, and the peppers hardly roasted at all. Good enough to eat what I made, but I won’t be making them again.