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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!
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.
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)
Garnish: Zhoug Yogurt, pine nuts (or slivered almonds)
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.
Garnish! When they come out of the oven, top with the flavorful zhoug yogurt, and 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!
More 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
- Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers
- Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant
Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Chickpeas and Zhoug
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: main, vegetarian main,
- Method: grilled, baked
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- Diet: Vegetarian
Healthy vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Eggplant, Quinoa, Chickpeas, Zaatar and Zhoug Yogurt. Keep this paleo by using cauliflower rice! GF and Vegan adaptable!
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa ( or sub rice, cauliflower “rice”, cous cous, orzo or other grain)
- 3 large red bell peppers
- 1/2 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
- 1/2 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 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.
Season generously with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and parsley. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings. If the mixture seems dry add a splash of water to loosen just slightly.
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.
Spoon the flavorful Zhoug yogurt over top, or serve on the side. 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.
If making ahead, stuff the peppers and place in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let them come to room temp, before baking.
- Serving Size: 1 stuffed pepper with 2 Tablespoons Zhoug Yogurt
- Calories: 220
- Sugar: 7.1 g
- Sodium: 428.9 mg
- Fat: 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 32 g
- Fiber: 8.3 g
- Protein: 10.1 g
- Cholesterol: 3.1 mg
Keywords: stuffed peppers, vegan stuffed peppers, stuffed pepper recipe, quinoa stuffed peppers, middle eastern stuffed pepper
We had this for Christmas Eve dinner with a salad of mesclun, fennel, clementines, pomegranate seeds and shallot dijon vinaigrette. Used Impossible meat & chickpeas. It was fabulous. My family has enjoyed your recipes so much and it allows me to cook creative recipes for my picky vegetarian son. I’ve learned so much regarding presentation and having many sauces in one’s repertoire is crucial. Thank you so much for this website and your incredible skills. I’m right now looking at recipes for a Middle Eastern New Year’s Eve.
Thanks so much Kat!
Hi Silviya, this recipe is very tasty, we had it for dinner today and absolutely loved it. Thank you!
Great to hear Faten!
Looks great, going to try this out now! When you prep ahead of time, do you bake all the way and simply heat up when serving or is it better to keep peppers and stuffing separate on do the final baking just before serving?
Hi Vincent! I would assemble, then refrigerate, and bake before serving- letting them come to room temp before baking. 🙂
Thanks! Made them for dinner, really nice! These taste great and are visually very appealing as well. Didn’t have pine nuts, so substituted with macadamia. Some were meant for weeknight dinner, but, alas, none survived.
Great to hear Vincent!
This recipe is awesome we have tried it twice and it is delicious .
Awesome Carl- thanks so much and glad you liked it!
Can this be proven and reheated?
Hi Josh- I’m guessing you mean frozen? 😉 I’m not sure, I haven’t tried freezing it but bet it would be ok? I’m guessing though!
I would never have dreamed up a recipe like this on my own, so delicious. I know it says it serves 6, but just like potato chips, I betcha can’t eat just one!
This recipe is great! I’d like to recommend our locally made, amazing schug from the Grain Shed in the Perry District. It is fresher and much tastier than the Trader Joe’s and it’s always good to support local business. Blend it with some whole milk yogurt and you have just what the recipe calls for.
I love the Grainshed’s version! So much flavor! We have such a gem here Patty!
We’ve been absolutely blown away by all your recipes we’ve tried untill now! But this one is one of our favorites and we make it at least every two weeks because it’s soooo good! Our friends love it too!
thanks! Glad you are enjoying!
These stuffed peppers were amazing!! So flavorful and my boys didn’t even miss the meat. (They think everything should have meat in it.) I love all of your recipes!!
Such a delicious recipe! My entire family was so impressed and I got raving feedback. All of the components from the zaatar to the pine nuts complement one another so well. I also discovered zhoug sauce because of this recipe and it is amazing!
This is one of my favorite recipes ever. The sweet roasted pepper with the nutty chick peas and tart Zhoug sauce is simply heavenly. I made it with couscous instead of quinoa.
Sylvia, in all seriousness, you have changed my life with your recipes. I never thought a veggie centric diet could be so exciting. I never thought I could cook something like this. Thank you!
thanks so much Maria!
My hubby made this dish tonight. It was absolutely fab.
Just exactly the right balance of flavours.
Loving exploring your recipes.
Thanks so much and glad you enjoyed it!
This is a lovely recipie. There is too much content and ads on page though. It takes 45 seconds to load on a new Android and a super fast connection. Otherwise 5 stars.
Sorry Tom, there is a JUMP to recipe button at the top of each post, so you skip all the ads. 🙂
This recipe was delicious. All my kids are vegetarian all they loved it even my husband loved it and he doesn’t like this kind of food, He is very much a meat eater. Quick and easy meal will be making this often. Love your recipes.
We have ground beef to use for this recipe, how much and would you season meat at all?! We made it once already without meat and loved it!
I’d replace the chickpeas with it- so about 1 1/2 cups, browned and salted.
This was so so good. I had leftover Zhoug from our mujadara meal and so I decided to use it up while trying this recipe. OMG the whole family begged for more! I subbed cauliflower rice for the quinoa, and lamb for the chickpeas. Next time the family omnivores are away I’m going to make this again with chickpeas for a vegetarian meal. (For now though, I can’t stop sneaking into the kitchen to pick at the leftovers. )
Made this last night and my fiance got down on his knees and proposed all over again. It was so, so good. I’m still thinking about it, in fact. I had to make one tweak–he hates cilantro (I know, almost called the whole thing off when I found that out)–so I made the zhoug with flat-leaf parsley instead (the things we do for love). But, honestly, it was still fantastic. Thank you for your uncommonly delicious recipes!
Thanks for sharing- this made my day!
I really enjoyed your blog I think this is the best way of a method to cook stuffed peppers with quinoa
This was fantastic! I subbed out the chickpeas for ground beef and added a little feta. We are now eating the leftover zhoug yogurt on EVERYTHING
Bake at what temperature? THese sound delicious!
Bake at 400F.
I made this tonight. It was really good, amazing. That Zhoug yogurt sauce. I could put that on everything. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly. I cook for myself, so I just used 2peppers cut in half, and halved the ingredients for the filling. I’m a huge fan of zataar, so I kept that at 2 tbls. I have recently gone vegan, dairy free & minimal oil, so I used Kite Hill plain almond yogurt and it worked just fine. The only thing I didn’t care for were the chickpeas. They didn’t seem to belong in there. They were a bit firm and didn’t take on any of the seasoning. I think when I make it again, I will leave them out or use a softer white bean, or lentils? Or maybe, I’ll just use the Trader Joe’s vegan italian sausage? But that being said, It was really good.. really tasty and I will definitely! be making it again
Great recipe, made this yesterday and it was delicious, thank you! Also, used some left over Zhoug yoghurt and mixed it with chicken from your chicken carnitas recipe – YUM! 🙂
Oh awesome! Glad you like them and found another use for the Zhoug yogurt!
Made this for dinner tonight. Absolutely loved it although I did make a few changes, adding some olives and sundried tomatoes and serving tzatziki sauce on top of these. Also I found the quinoa & chickpea mix made way too much – I would still use 3 peppers but halve the filling in the future. Still loved it though and can’t wait to eat the leftovers 🙂
Yes enough for 4 peppers I think!
I love the idea of grilling the peppers before stuffing them, adding that delicious smokey flavor. Great idea!
When I spotted this recipe today I said ‘yes, this looks delicious’. I showed my husband and he said ‘no not vego again’. I made it today and he was pleasantly surprised on how delicious was. It was so easy to make and very tasty. I added fresh mint as I didn’t have any fresh parsley. All the family loved it. Definitely worth making again.