Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

by | Apr 14, 2023

These Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are the perfect vegetarian recipe to meal prep ahead of time. Not only are these stuffed peppers super easy to make, but they’re also loaded with nourishing ingredients and flavorful spices! Plus, you get to customize them with any nuts of your choice. This recipe is gluten-free and has vegan options.

Stuffed Peppers on a plate over a yellow kitchen towel

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What are stuffed peppers?

Stuffed peppers are an easy and delicious dish to meal prep. Simply hollow out pepper halves, stuff with a prepared mixture, and bake until the peppers are slightly tender. For this recipe, we’ve created a Mediterranean, vegetarian version filled with fluffy quinoa.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with feta on top

What peppers should I use?

You can use any color of sweet bell peppers including red, orange, or yellow peppers. When selecting peppers for this recipe, try to choose ones that are round, firm, and free of blemishes or soft spots. If you have an odd-shaped pepper, it will still work but it may be a bit harder to stuff.

Yellow, red, and orange bell peppers

How do you prep pepper halves?

  1. To create the hollowed pepper halves, we like to slice straight down the middle with a chef’s knife. 
  2. Then you can use a smaller paring knife to gently cut in front of the stem to remove the core.
  3. Finally, use a small spoon or your fingers to scrap out any extra white skin and seeds. You can also gently tap the back of the pepper to shake extra seeds loose.

Are these quinoa stuffed peppers healthy?

Yes! As a dietitian, I developed this recipe to highlight nutrient-dense ingredients like bell peppers, quinoa, and nuts.

  • Bell Peppers are an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and K. These vitamins are important for immune and skin health. Peppers are also high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain that’s high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. It’s also gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Quinoa is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it an ideal option for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Nuts are filled with a good amount of plant-based protein. For example, pistachios pack in 6 grams of plant-based protein per 1/4 cup. Nuts are also a good source of fiber and healthy fats. This trio of protein, fiber, and fat makes them a satiating addition to this vegetarian meal. 
Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Customize it your way

Like all of my other recipes, this Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper recipe is completely customizable. You get to choose what type of nuts you want to use. Here are some different choices:

  • Roasted and Salted Shelled Pistachios – When testing out this recipe, We especially loved using pistachios. They’re savory flavor pairs perfectly with the Mediterranean spices. 
  • Almonds – We recommend using roasted almonds if possible. It gives it an extra nutty flavor.
  • Walnuts – Walnuts provide a satisfying crunch alongside a healthy dose of protein and healthy fats.
  • Pine nuts – Pine nuts tend to be more expensive but their buttery flavor is so good! If you use pine nuts, there’s no need to chop them since they are already a smaller nut.

Can you make this recipe vegan?

This recipe uses feta cheese, which is a dairy product. However, if you follow a plant-based lifestyle, you can easily swap the feta cheese or a vegan alternative. This simple swap will make this recipe completely vegan friendly.

How do you make these vegetarian peppers?

You’ll love making these Mediterranean stuffed peppers because they use minimal dishes and are ready to go in a matter of minutes. 

1. Cook your quinoa

Quinoa can be somewhat bland, right? So we’ve decided to pump up the flavor. You can do this by first sauteing a shallot in the quinoa pot. Then, I always like to add over dry quinoa and toast it. This will bring out a deeper, nutty flavor. Finally, we like to cook the quinoa in broth but you could also swap for water. 

After about 15-20 minutes, you’ll reveal fluffy quinoa that’s ready for the rest of the ingredients.

2. Stir in spices, nuts, and feta

The less dishes, the better. That’s why I’ve made this recipe as simple as possible. After the quinoa is done, you can stir in the spices, nuts, and feta cheese to the same pot.

Cooked quinoa with pistachios stirred in

3. Spoon into peppers

This mixture is truly amazing on its own, but this is where you’ll carefully spoon it into the prepared pepper halves. I like to use a regular spoon to add it over the pepper then gently push down to get as much of the quinoa in as possible.

Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers 9Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers 17

4. Bake until tender

Add to your preheated oven and let it bake. It will take around 40-45 minutes to achieve a nice, tender texture. If you’re impatient, that’s okay. You can pull them out sooner, you’ll just have more of a raw, crunchy pepper.

Can you air fry these peppers?

We are big air fryer fans and this recipe passes the test. Simple air fry at the same temperature 325ºF for about 10 minutes.

Other tips and tricks

Here’s some tips to keep in mind for these Quinoa Stuffed Peppers:

  • We like to add the feta before baking to achieve a crunchy, slightly charred feta on top. If you prefer a softer feta, wait until after baking to sprinkle the feta on top.
  • In the instructions, you’ll notice we let the peppers rest for about 5 minutes. This lets the peppers become slightly more tender and allows the filling to set. 
  • If you want to add meat to these peppers, we recommend mixing in a small amount of cooked and cubed chicken or cooked ground beef to the quinoa mixture before stuffing the peppers.
  • We also love enjoying these stuffed peppers with a fried egg on top for breakfast!
Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers in white pan

Can you make them ahead of time?

Yes! These vegetarian peppers are an excellent option for meal prep. We like to stuff the peppers with the quinoa mixture then store them in the fridge until ready to bake.

How do you store them?

If you have leftovers, you can store the stuffed peppers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, simply microwave them for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. 

If you want to freeze the quinoa stuffed peppers, wrap them individually in plastic wrap or vacuum seal and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw them in the fridge overnight and then microwave them for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

Red, yellow, and orange stuffed pepper

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Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

These Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are a flavorful vegetarian recipe to meal prep ahead of time!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup pre-rinsed, uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup roughly chopped nuts of your choice (We especially love to use roasted pistachios but you can also use almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for topping (swap for vegan feta for vegan version)
  • 4 sweet bell peppers color of your choice, halved and seeds removed (red, yellow, or orange) – you’ll end up with 8 halves in total

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add shallot and quinoa and cook for 1-2 minutes until quinoa is slightly toasted.
  3. Pour over broth, stir, and let mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
  4. Remove pot from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. To that same pot (because we’re all about less dishes), add over all spices, chopped nuts, and feta cheese. Gently stir to combine.
  5. Add peppers to a large 9x13 inch pan. Using a large spoon, stuff quinoa mixture evenly over prepared pepper halves. Top each pepper with a sprinkle more of feta cheese.* 
  6. Bake stuffed peppers for 40-45 minutes until peppers are tender and feta cheese is golden brown on top. Remove from oven, add foil on top of pan, and let rest for 5 minutes.**
  7. Alternative Air Frying Instructions: Add peppers to air fryer basket and cook at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Let rest in the air fryer basket for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

*Feta Note:

Adding the feta before baking will result in crunchy, slightly charred feta on top. If you prefer a softer feta, wait until AFTER baking to sprinkle on top.


**Resting Note:

You can skip the resting step but I find it allows the peppers to become slightly more tender before enjoying.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 servings Serving Size: 2 stuffed pepper halves
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 29gSodium: 820mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 9gSugar: 12gProtein: 18g

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Hi, I'm Mackenzie...

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I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and recipe developer. I create simple recipes with customizable ingredients “of your choice.” I also help busy people gain kitchen confidence through my hands-on program.

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