These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are my take on a Greek Salad in a pepper. A perfect vegetarian meal that makes the best leftovers! This recipe is so delicious and satisfying you won't even notice they are meatless. Omit the cheese and turn this into an impressive vegan meal.
These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers check all the boxes for an easy, colourful, healthy meal that will even satisfy the die hard meat eaters in your life. They may insist on having it with a side of steak...that's okay. They're perfect as a side dish too! That way you can satisfy your meat eating and vegetarian guests with one dish. Boom!
The Best Way to Cook Quinoa
Want to know the secret to getting perfectly cooked quinoa that isn't mushy or clumpy? Cook it like pasta. I honestly have no idea why all the instructions I read about how to cook quinoa call for it to be cooked with the water absorption method, like rice. No. Just no.
If the package says "pre-washed" or "pre-rinsed" I recommend still rinsing it. If it doesn't say that you will want to rinse it really well. Rinsing well removes the bitter taste. After rinsing, cook it in boiling water for 12-15 minutes depending on your preferred amount of crunch. I cook mine for 12 minutes. Once done, drain and rinse under cold water. For this recipe we are heating up the grains again later but if you are serving quinoa warm as a side then no need for rinsing.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Please refer to the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and quantities.
- Quinoa - any variety works for this recipe. You could also use rice or grains like farro or bulgur wheat.
- Bell peppers - a variety of colors looks pretty but you can use any color peppers here. You can also use portobello mushrooms or carved out zucchini boats instead of peppers.
- Red onion- red onions are a classic Greek ingredient but any type of onions work. Including green onions which should be sliced and added to the already cooked filling.
- Fresh basil and parsley - 1 teaspoon of minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried would be a classic flavor addition.
- Mini bocconcini cheese - these add a little cheesy surprise but small cubes of feta cheese would be a perfect alternative.
How to make this recipe
Please see full instructions in the recipe card below.
First cook the quinoa and set aside while you prepare the other vegetables.
Partially cook the pepper halves in a hot oven or on the barbecue before adding the filling.
Next make the filling by sauteing the vegetables in a frying pan then adding the quinoa, tomatoes and cheese. Season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Be sure to taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. You can add more salt, pepper, herbs, and fresh lemon juice if desired.
Now you are ready to stuff the peppers. Fill them with as much filling as you can fit. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until warm. After baking top with a good dose of feta cheese. Extra filling is delicious eaten on it's own as a salad or side dish.
Serve these with Easy Tzatziki Sauce (recipe below). Make extra. It's great with everything, is super easy and keeps for a week in the fridge.
Make it Vegan - Omit the cheese or replace it with a vegan alternative. The tzatziki sauce can be made with dairy free yogurt or cashew cream.
Make it into a salad - Simplify this recipe by making it into a salad. Instead of roasting the peppers dice them up and add them to the frying pan with the zucchini in step 5. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss together and serve as a salad or side dish.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- ½ cup quinoa, uncooked
- 4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 4 large bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, cored and seeded.
- 1 cup red onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup tomato, chopped
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 tablespoon each fresh basil and parsley, chopped. or 1 teaspoon each dried.
- 10 balls mini bocconcini cheese, or cubes of feta cheese cut in half
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ lemon, juiced, about 2 tbsp
- 100 g feta cheese, to crumble on top
Simple Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 3" piece cucumber
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped. fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
- ¼ lemon, juiced
- 1 sm. clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
For the stuffed peppers
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Rinse quinoa in a sieve under cold water for at least 2 minutes. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook quinoa for 12-15 minutes. Strain and rinse under cold water. Leave it in the strainer and set aside.
- Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and core. Leave the tops on. In a large bowl toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place pepper halves on a lined baking tray, cut side down. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until just starting to soften. Remove from oven, flip over and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add red onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and zucchini. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes more.
- Remove from heat and stir in cooked quinoa, tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs, and bocconcini cheese, 2 tablespoon olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- In an oiled baking dish, place the peppers together snugly but with enough room to add filling. Fill each pepper generously. At this point peppers can be covered and refrigerated overnight if making ahead.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until filling is warmed through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. These can be served warm or at room temperature.
Simple Tzatziki Sauce
- Grate the cucumber and place in a sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to an hour. Squeeze out any excess water.
- In a medium bowl combine the drained cucumber with yogurt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Stir together. This sauce keeps in the fridge for one week.