Stuffed Peppers with Couscous, Spinach and Feta

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers.JPG
Carol Blonder
Why are we joining the Meatless Monday campaign? We do it for ourselves, (adding a variety of grains, fresh fruits and vegetables is good for our bodies), for the environment (easy way to reduce our carbon footprint), we believe in purchasing humanely raised and slaughtered animals, we love fruits, vegetables and grains, and want to incorporate a variety in our diet.

Today, a recipe for Stuffed Peppers with couscous, spinach and feta. On cold Midwestern winter days, Hungarian style stuffed peppers were comfort food in our snow- covered house, and it is still a wintertime favorite. In choosing ingredients to make this dish meatless, our thinking went more Middle Eastern, and we choose Israeli couscous and the ingredients we would use for Spanakopita to round out the filling.

follow the jump for couscous, spinach, and feta stuffed peppers

Stuffed Peppers with couscous, spinach and feta-serves 4
Ingredients
4 bell peppers, red, yellow or orange or combination
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided + extra drizzle for topping
1 Tablespoon butter
1 and 1/3 cup Israeli couscous
1 and ¾ cups vegetable broth (or water)
10 oz fresh baby spinach, washed and drained
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
4 Tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Juice from ½ lemon
4 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
1-teaspoon nutmeg, grated
8 oz can of diced tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Topping: 4 Tablespoons shaved Parmesan + 4 teaspoons panko

Cut peppers.JPG
Carol Blonder

Method:
Preheat oven to 425 F
1.Cut the top and the stem from the peppers. Core and seed the peppers, leaving them whole. Make sure the peppers stand up, if not, take a thin slice to even the bottom.
2. Lightly rub the peppers with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper-coat inside and out.
3. Place the peppers in an oven- proof dish and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes until soft. Set aside.
4. While peppers are roasting, heat a medium saucepan on the stove. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter to the pan. When the butter has melted add the diced onion and turn the heat down to medium-low. Sweat the onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the couscous and cook, stirring every few minutes until couscous is toasted. (about 5 minutes)
5. Add vegetable broth to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan, and turn down the heat. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 7-10 minutes.
6. Stir the baby spinach into the couscous. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to wilt the spinach from the steam in the pan.
7. Add the toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley, scallions and lemon juice to the couscous. Mix together.
8. Add the egg and panko and stir into the mixture. Add the crumbled feta and ground nutmeg. Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.

Pepper filling.JPG
Carol Blonder

9. Spoon the couscous mixture into the peppers, packing it down with the back of the spoon
.
10. Top each pepper with shaved Parmesan and teaspoon of panko. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil over the crumbs.

Stuffed peppers.JPG
Carol Blonder

11. Add diced tomatoes and their juice to the bottom of the baking dish.
12. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until the top is crusty, golden brown and the tomatoes are bubbling.
Serve hot with a slice of crusty bread.


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