These Pearled Couscous Stuffed Peppers are an easy and delicious meatless main course or side dish. With spinach, white beans, parmesan, and a drizzle of lemon-chive vinaigrette, they’re a satisfying vegetarian alternative to the classic meat filling.
Couscous Stuffed Peppers are one of my favorite meatless dinners. While I love bold, classic stuffed peppers with ground meat and rice filling, they can be on the heavier side. When I’m looking to eat a little lighter, without sacrificing flavor, these peppers fit the bill perfectly.
They’re also quick to make. In just over 30 minutes, you can have a vibrant, healthy dish on the table for your family and friends. I keep this recipe in my back pocket for weeknight dinners as well as casual entertaining.
What You’ll Need for Couscous Stuffed Peppers
To start, you’ll need bell peppers, of course! You can use any bell pepper variety in this recipe, but I like to use red, orange, and yellow for their sweetness.
Did you know? The color of a bell pepper is determined by how long it ripens on the vine before harvesting. Green bell peppers are harvested first, before fully ripened, and are the least sweet of the bunch. (They’re also usually the least expensive.) Red bell peppers are ripened the longest and are generally the sweetest, with yellow and orange falling in the middle.
For the filling, I like to use pearled (Israeli) couscous. This is the larger, heartier couscous variety that looks, as its name suggests, like little pearls of pasta.
I toss the cooked couscous with a mixture of sautéed shallots, garlic, baby spinach, cannellini beans (great source of protein!), and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
I like to finish these stuffed peppers with a light lemon-chive vinaigrette for a pop of brightness. For this, you’ll need olive oil, lemon juice and zest, fresh chives, salt, and pepper.
Just 10 simple ingredients that combine for a stuffed pepper dish that’s big on flavor!
Looking for another recipe to make with your container of Israeli couscous? Try my Mediterranean Pearled Couscous Salad!
Making the Stuffed Peppers: Pre-Roasting Technique
Making couscous stuffed peppers couldn’t be easier. For this recipe, I like to slice the peppers in half lengthwise to create two shallow halves, removing the stems and seeds.
Since the filling is fully-cooked on the stove and doesn’t need much time in the oven, I pre-roast the cut pepper halves for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
Then, I just fill them with the couscous mixture, sprinkle with parmesan, and pop the peppers back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese and heat everything through. It’s a quick and easy process for a weeknight dinner.
Tip: You might see some natural juices pooled in the pepper cavities after roasting. Drain this before filling with the couscous mixture.
I usually cook the couscous and sauté the vegetables while the peppers are roasting. For an even quicker dinner prep, you could certainly make the filling ahead and refrigerate, gently reheating before stuffing.
Serving the Peppers
If I could make only one recommendation about this recipe, it would be to make sure you don’t skip the lemon-chive vinaigrette when serving! A little drizzle brings a wonderful brightness to the savory flavors of the filling and really takes these peppers to the next level.
We like to serve the dish with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, but any crisp white wine will complement the flavors well.
Pearled Couscous Stuffed Peppers
- 4 bell peppers , sliced in half lengthwise, stems and seeds removed
- 1 cup pearled (Israeli) couscous
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 2 shallots , minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 5 ounces baby spinach , roughly chopped
- 15 ounce can cannellini beans , rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus 2-3 tablespoons for topping
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 teaspoons, divided
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Make the peppers
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss peppers with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a few pinches of salt, and black pepper. Roast, cut sides up, for 15-20 minutes, until softened.
- While peppers are roasting, prepare the couscous. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a pot until shimmering. Add couscous, and cook, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes, until pearls begin to toast. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, water, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until water is absorbed and couscous is tender. (Alternately, follow the cooking directions as provided for the brand of couscous you buy.)
- While couscous is simmering, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallots, and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add baby spinach and 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper. Stir until spinach is wilted and tender, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir cooked couscous into spinach mixture, followed by 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano. Gently fold in cannellini beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Drain any accumulated juices from the roasted peppers and fill each half with couscous mixture, mounding slightly, and pressing gently to pack. Sprinkle peppers with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano, and return to the oven to bake until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes.
- Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons chopped chives. Season vinaigrette to taste with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over peppers and serve.