These Middle Eastern grilled Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Eggplant, Chickpeas and Zhoug Yogurt are the perfect make-ahead meal for summer gatherings and potlucks. Or meal prep them on Sunday to serve up during the busy work week! Gluten-free, vegan and paleo adaptable!
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. ― Joseph Campbell
In this recipe, bell peppers are grilled for the best flavor, then stuffed with a savory mixture of quinoa, eggplant and chickpeas before going into the oven to bake. When they come out, they’re topped with flavorful Zhoug Yogurt, fresh herbs and optional pine nuts. What I love about this recipe is how adaptable it is, and how you can use what you have on hand.
Full-flavored and yes, a little spicy, but in the best possible way. A Middle Eastern spin on stuffed red bell peppers that is both vegan and paleo adaptable!
Ingredients in Stuffed Peppers
- cooked quinoa (or sub cooked rice, cauliflower “rice”, couscous, orzo or other cooked grain)
- large red bell peppers
- olive oil
- Japanese eggplant, or sub zucchini
- garlic cloves
- canned or cooked chickpeas ( or sub browned and seasoned ground turkey or chicken)
- za’atar spice (or sub cumin, coriander, sumac & sesame seeds)
- salt and pepper
- Italian parsley (or cilantro)
How to make Stuffed Peppers
Grill the peppers to impart the best flavor.
While the peppers are grilling, make the filling. Sauté onion, garlic and eggplant, then mix in chickpeas and quinoa, lemon zest, Middle Eastern spices and fresh parsley.
(Feel free to substitute browned, ground turkey for the chickpeas and Cauliflower “rice” for the quinoa to make this low-carb and paleo!)
Then place the peppers in a greased baking dish and fill them with the savory mixture. (You could refrigerate at this point for up to 2 days.)
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
The leftovers are really delicious reheated, we’ve been enjoying them for midweek meals.
I hope you enjoy these Middle Eastern-inspired Stuffed Peppers!
More eggplant recipes you may enjoy:
- Grilled Eggplant with Greek Relish and Creamy Polenta
- Eggplant Chickpea Tagine
- Meltingly Tender Moroccan Eggplant
- Grilled Eggplant Salad with Freekeh and Yogurt Dressing
- Grilled Eggplant Steaks with Gremolata and Tomatoes
- Roasted Eggplant with Zaatar
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa ( or sub rice, cauliflower “rice”, cous cous, orzo or other grain)
- 3 large red bell peppers
- ½ an onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 small japanese eggplant, diced (or sub zucchini) about 2 cups
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1 can chickpeas, drained (or sub 1 1/2 cups salted, browned, ground beef, turkey, lamb or chicken)
- 1–2 tablespoon za’atar spice (or sub 11/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds)
- salt and pepper to taste.
- zest of one small lemon
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley, more for garnish ( or cilantro)
Set the quinoa to cook. Preheat the oven to 400F.
Preheat the grill to high heat to grill the peppers. ( Alternatively, you can roast these- see notes).
Cut peppers in half lengthwise and grill them on each side for about 6-7 minutes or until tender, and a little charred. (They will soften more in the oven later)
While peppers are grilling, heat oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and eggplant over medium heat until eggplant is tender. Add the garlic and another little drizzle of oil if needed and cook 2 more minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the chickpeas (or cooked meat) and quinoa and season generously with the zaatar spice. Taste, and add more to taste.
Place peppers in a baking dish and divide the filling among them, packing and mounding them up high. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, remove foil, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Zhoug is an Israeli condiment that can be purchased (Trader Joe’s carries it in the area with the hummus) or it can be made. Here is a recipe. Add a few tablespoons of Zhoug to a cup of plain yogurt. Full fat yogurt is nice here – but if all you have is low fat or zero fat, swirl in a tablespoon of olive oil for extra richness. You can also use a vegan, plant-based yogurt.
Instead of grilling the peppers you can roast them in a 400F, open side down on a sheet pan until tender, about 20 mins.
If making ahead, stuff the peppers and place in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let them come to room temp, before baking.
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