Israeli Couscous Stuffed Peppers

I’ve been searching for a flavorful stuffed pepper recipe for a while – one that avoids bland, mushy fillings.  This is it – the israeli couscous adds texture, while the fennel adds a unique spicing.  Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 c Israeli couscous
  • 6 large bell peppers, mixed colors
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise then sliced thinly
  • 1/2 t fennel seeds
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 c feta, crumbled
  • 3 T tomato puree/paste
  • 1/3 c pine nuts, toasted
  • olive oil for cooking
  • optional: 1/4 c black olives, quartered

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C, and coat a small baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add a dash of olive oil and salt, and cook Israeli couscous for approximately 8 minutes, or according to instructions on packaging.  When al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and prepare peppers: cut stems and top 1/2″ of red peppers, clean inside by scooping out seed and membranes.
  4. Boil trimmed peppers for 5 minutes, then drain and set to dry upside down.
  5. Heat a splash of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, add onions, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add zucchini, fennel seeds, oregano, and salt, and cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
  7. Remove from heat, and stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, tomato paste, feta, pine nuts, and olives (if using) – then add the couscous, and mix gently to combine.
  8. Place peppers upright in baking dish (if they fall over, crumble up foil to keep them in place), and ladle couscous mixture into peppers.
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until peppers look heated through and slightly browned on top.

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