These delicious couscous-stuffed peppers are a firm family favorite. Perfect for a tasty weeknight meal or a hearty weekend lunch, they combined the roasted peppers' smoky sweetness filling's subtle spice with the couscous.
An easy-to-follow recipe that you'll go back to again and again, couscous stuffed peppers are a delight!
Why you'll love this couscous stuffed peppers recipe
- Vegetarian and very healthy
- It's full of fantastic flavors and fragrances.
- The whole family will love them.
- Leftovers are just as tasty, and you can reheat stuffed peppers quickly. It's also a great make-ahead recipe.
- This recipe can be tweaked to your liking.
There are a few important kitchen items you'll need for this stuffed pepper recipe:
How to make couscous stuffed peppers
Get all the ingredients together.
Cook the couscous according to manufacturer's instructions.
Gently fry the onions and garlic.
Add the spices.
Stir and cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.
Place the spiced onions, chickpeas, feta, raisins, pine nuts and herbs in a large bowl.
Cut the pepper tops and stuff the vegetables with the mixture. Place the tops back on the peppers. Bake until cooked. Enjoy!
Keep the tops of the peppers and use them as a 'lid' while baking them.
What to serve with couscous stuffed peppers
Make stuffed peppers and serve with any number of sides. From healthy salads to crusty bread, here are a few suggestions.
A light, healthy, easy, and supremely tasty salad, this aubergine salad recipe is like a wonderfully fresh taste of Italy, whipped up in your very own kitchen. Plus, it makes a splendid addition to the side of stuffed bell peppers.
Keto coleslaw makes for a wonderful low-carb pairing for this stuffed pepper recipe. It's an easy 5-minute recipe and the perfect low-carb summer side dish.
Pumpkin and beetroot salad
A wonderfully light and healthy dish that complements the flavors of your stuffed peppers recipe, pumpkin and beetroot salad, is easy to make and tastes delicious.
Aside from salads, a stick of crusty bread would be ideal. You can also make your homemade load with my chia seed bread recipe.
The best kind of wine to pair with this stuffed peppers recipe is one that complements the subtle spices and the slight sweetness of the peppers. I recommend a light, crisp, fruity wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Blanc.
Variations and substitutions
- Grains: Instead of couscous, you can use quinoa, bulgur, or brown rice. These grains may require different cooking times and liquid ratios, so adjust accordingly.
- Proteins: For a non-vegetarian version, consider adding ground lamb, ground beef, ground turkey or chicken. Cook the meat thoroughly before adding it to the couscous mixture.
- Vegan Option: Omit the cheese or use a vegan cheese alternative to make this recipe vegan-friendly.
- Nuts: If pine nuts are unavailable or you prefer a different nut, almonds or walnuts can be a good substitute.
- Dried Fruits: Raisins can be replaced with chopped dried apricots, dates, or cranberries for a different flavor profile.
- Cheese Varieties: Apart from feta or goat cheese, consider using shredded mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, or a vegan cheese substitute.
- Spices: Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste. Adding cinnamon or a pinch of cayenne pepper can add an interesting twist.
- Herbs: If mint or parsley aren't to your liking, try basil, cilantro, or dill for a different herbaceous note. You can also use Italian seasoning for a mixture of herbs.
- Tomatoes: Use a combination of bell peppers and beef tomatoes, for a stuffed peppers and tomatoes feast! You can also use diced tomatoes in the couscous filling.
- Garlic: You can replace the fresh garlic with garlic powder if you prefer.
- Try to make sure your couscous mixture isn’t too dry, adding liquid if necessary to achieve the right texture.
- Always taste as you go. Please ensure you're happy with the flavor of the filling before using it to stuff the peppers. Adjust the seasoning with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or add extra spice if necessary.
- If you prefer softer peppers, bake them for 35-40 minutes. You could also pre-bake them for 10 minutes before adding your filling to your peppers. Just be careful not to overcook them, or you'll end up with mushy peppers.
Who invented stuffed peppers?
As with other stuffed vegetable dishes, stuffed pepper recipes go back to the era of the Ottoman Empire in Hungary.
You'll also find popular stuffed pepper dishes in other cuisines worldwide, most notably in Spain – especially in the northern Basque region – and North African countries like Morocco, Tunisia, and Greece.
Do you have to pre-bake peppers before stuffing them?
No. There's no reason to precook peppers before stuffing them. All you need to do is remove the tops of the peppers, remove the seeds and membranes, sprinkle salt inside, then lightly brush them with olive oil.
What are the different types of bell peppers?
Many people think that the various different color peppers are the same, with the only difference being their color. However, there are a few subtle differences:
Red bell peppers
These are among the sweetest of all the different bell pepper varieties. The red indicates that they've gone through the full ripening process, which enables the fruit to take on all the natural sugars.
The slightly sweet flavor gives red bell peppers a real versatility. It also makes them great for cooking at a high heat and stuffing, as they tend to hold their shape very well.
Orange bell peppers
Deliciously juicy with a fruity sweetness that makes them versatile, orange bell peppers are excellent for cooking at high heats to obtain that chargrilled flavor.
Their thick skin also makes them robust and suitable for stuffing with delicious fillings such as couscous and rice.
Green bell peppers
While not quite as sweet as red and orange peppers, green peppers still have a subtle sweetness that becomes smokier when roasted. Very versatile and full of flavor, they are also slightly tangy when roasted or grilled and always bring a pleasing burst of color.
Yellow bell peppers
Less sweet than their cousins, yellow peppers are harvested early in the ripening process, meaning they don't produce the same amount of natural sugars as other peppers.
What's the best way to cut pepper for stuffed peppers?
First, you'll need a sharp paring knife. Place your pepper upright on the chopping board. Cut around the outside of the bell pepper at a 45-degree angle in a sawing motion. This will ensure the lid of the pepper stays on. It's like when you're carving the lid of a pumpkin at Halloween.
Once you've removed the lid, place it onto your chopping board. Then, remove the membrane from the lid, so you've got a nice clean top. Next, take your paring knife and go around the inside of the bell pepper, removing the remaining membrane and any seeds.
Scrape out any remaining bits and pieces from inside the pepper and put it aside, ready to be stuffed with the couscous filling.
How do you keep stuffed peppers from falling apart?
My advice is to skip pre-cooking them. While many recipes call for blanching or boiling peppers before stuffing them and cooking them in the oven, I've found that this can mean you end up with soggy, mushy peppers with a filling that spills out from the inside.
Your best bet is to stuff them raw, then roast them in the oven at the below temperature. That way, the bell peppers will hold their shape better. You can cook them longer in the oven if you prefer a little softer.
How long do you cook stuffed peppers?
Cook couscous stuffed peppers for 25-30 minutes at 375°F (190°C).
Can these stuffed peppers be made in advance?
Yes. You can prepare the filling a day ahead and refrigerate it, enhancing the flavors. Stuff and bake the peppers when you’re ready to serve.
How do you store stuffed bell peppers?
Leftover stuffed peppers reheat well and can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Can you freeze stuffed peppers?
Yes, you can freeze stuffed peppers. If possible, freeze them with filling inside before baking them. That way, they will retain a better flavor and only need to be cooked in the oven once you've defrosted them after freezing.
However, that's fine if you want to freeze leftover couscous stuffed peppers. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap them in plastic before placing each in a sealable, airtight container.
Leftover couscous stuffed peppers can be frozen for around three to four months. After this time, their texture and flavor break down and become unpleasant once reheated.
Defrost stuffed peppers by placing them in the fridge and allowing them to thaw overnight.
How do you reheat stuffed peppers?
The best way to reheat them is in the oven. Use the same temperature 375°F (190°C) and heat them through until warm enough to serve.
More delicious pepper recipes
- Sweet potato and red pepper soup
- Broccoli, red pepper and asparagus with hoisin sauce and couscous