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Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Jessica Braider
Scramble member Molly Thompson of Bozeman, Montana, asked The Scramble if we could update the recipe for the wonderful stuffed peppers that her dad used to make. The result is a healthy and elegant comfort food that you can make for a family dinner or company.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 6 bell peppers, any color
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 lb. ground chicken, turkey, beef, or meatless crumbles
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts optional
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning or use a combination of dried basil and oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup couscous or use quinoa for a gluten-free alternative
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (for a vegetarian and gluten-free option use 6 drops hot sauce and 1/4 tsp. sugar per each Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice the tops off of the peppers and scoop out the seeds and ribs (a grapefruit spoon works well).
  • In a large pot, steam the peppers in about 1-inch of water for 3 - 5 minutes, or microwave them on high heat for 5 - 7 minutes until they are slightly tender.
  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions, meat (if you are using meatless crumbles, add it with the tomatoes), and pine nuts (optional) for 8 - 10 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar, couscous, ½ cup water, and Worcestershire sauce to the skillet and simmer it for about 5 minutes until the couscous is tender. Stir in the salt (optional).
  • Stand the peppers in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Using a ladle or large spoon, fill the peppers with the meat sauce. If there is any extra filling, the peppers can overflow, or you can pour it around the bottoms of the peppers. (At this point you can proceed with the recipe or cover and refrigerate the peppers for up to 2 days before cooking.)
  • Bake the peppers for about 30 minutes until they are tender and starting to wrinkle or brown at the tops.
  • Remove the peppers from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before serving, or refrigerate them for up to 3 days, or cover them tightly and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • There's no need to pre-cook the meat. Stand the peppers in the slow cooker after slicing off the tops and scooping out the seeds and ribs. In a medium bowl, mix together the onions, meat, pine nuts (optional), tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar, couscous, Worcestershire sauce, and salt (optional). Fill the peppers with the mixture, then gently pour ½ cup water around the base of the peppers. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours, until the meat is cooked through and the peppers are tender. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)

Notes

Do Ahead or Delegate: Slice the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs, dice the onion, steam the bell peppers, cook the meat mixture and refrigerate, assemble and refrigerate the stuffed peppers, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the dish.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Add minced garlic and/or crushed red pepper flakes when sautéing the meat mixture.
Tip: While green bell peppers are certainly good for you and 1 cup delivers 12% of your daily value of vitamin A, an equivalent serving of red bell peppers (which are actually just ripe green peppers) contains 104% of your daily value! Additionally, red peppers contain close to 11 times more beta-carotene than the green variety.  So, if in a position where you can choose any color bell pepper for your recipe, this is good to keep in mind.  Red bell peppers can give you more bang for your nutritional buck!
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 240, Total Fat: 4g, 6%; Saturated Fat: 1g, 5%; Cholesterol: 30mg, 10%; Sodium: 240mg, 10%; Total Carbohydrate: 32g, 11%; Dietary Fiber: 5g, 20%; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 23g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
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