- 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 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.
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.
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