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 workweek! 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. 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!
Zhoug, an herby, spicy Israeli condiment can easily be made at home, or purchased ( at Trader Joe’s) and simply mixed with a little yogurt (vegan yogurt works here too) for a delicious creaminess.
While the peppers are grilling 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 baking dish and fill them with the savory mixture.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
When it comes out of the oven, top with the flavorful zhoug yogurt, sprinkle with fresh herbs and pine nuts.
The leftovers are really delicious reheated, we’ve been enjoying them for midweek meals.
I hope you enjoy these Middle Eastern inspired stuffed peppers!
Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Chickpeas and Zhoug
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6
- Category: main, vegetarian main,
- Method: grilled, baked
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- 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 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)
Garnish: Zhoug Yogurt –my favorite!( see notes), pine nuts or slivered almonds
Set the quinoa to cook. Preheat oven to 400F.
Preheat 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. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and parsley.
Place peppers in a baking dish and divide the filling among them, mounding them up high. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes, remove foil, bake 10 more minutes.
Spoon the flavorful Zhoug yogurt over top, garnish with more parsley and optional pine nuts.
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.
Keywords: stuffed peppers, vegan stuffed peppers, stuffed pepper recipe, quinoa stuffed peppers, middle eastern stuffed pepper