These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are packed full of Mediterranean flavours. Loaded with quinoa, chickpeas and olives these vegetarian stuffed peppers are tasty, filling and so easy to make. Great for lunch or dinner.
I’ve been making these quinoa stuffed peppers for years, in fact, they were one of the very first recipes I shared on this blog. So they were well overdue for some new photos! But, there’s a reason these peppers have stood the test of time, they are really tasty, even meat-eaters love these!
We love these for lunch but they’re really great for dinner too. Just serve them with a crisp green salad or some baked potato wedges for a very tasty dinner. These stuffed peppers are also great for making ahead so if meal prepping is your thing add these to your list!
What You’ll Need
- Peppers – I prefer to use red and yellow peppers for this. Green peppers are not as ripe and can be on the bitter side so I tend to avoid those just for this recipe.
- Quinoa – You can use plain or mixed quinoa here. You could use couscous or rice if you want instead.
- Cheese – We like a mix of cheese in these stuffed peppers, I love feta and mature cheddar in these. You can omit the cheddar if you want or swap the feta for halloumi.
- Chickpeas – I use canned cooked chickpeas for this recipe. You can use dried if you want, you will need to cook them beforehand though. Black beans are also great if you don’t have chickpeas.
How To Make Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
This is just a quick visual guide, please see the recipe card below for full instructions and the ingredient list.
- Prepare the peppers – once you’ve cut the peppers in half and deseeded them you will need to cook them until just tender. 15 minutes should do.
- Cook the quinoa – until fluffy and leave to cool.
- Make the filling – add all the ingredients except the cheddar to a large bowl and mix well.
- Stuff the peppers – fill the peppers with the filling then grate some cheese over the top. Pop the peppers in the oven and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the filling is piping hot.
- Pro-Tip – Drain the peppers after you first cook them. When you roast the pepper you will see little pools of water in the peppers. Carefully lift or tilt the hot peppers up and the water should pour out. This will stop the peppers and the filling from going soggy.
- Leave the quinoa to cool – if you add any of the cheese to the cooked quinoa it will just start to turn to mush. It’s best to leave the quinoa to cool then add it to the rest of the filling.
- Cook the red onion and garlic – cooking the red onion and garlic before you add it to the filling results in a milder flavour. Raw red onion and garlic can be quite strong, I like to cook them up with the dried oregano and leave to cool before adding to the mixture.
- Making ahead – thos recipe is great for making ahead. You can make the filling a day ahead, just leave it to cool then fill the peppers once you’ve cooked them.
- Freezing– if you want to freeze these stuffed peppers, don’t cook the peppers first. Hollow out the peppers then fill them with the cooled filling. Skip the grated cheese until you are ready to cook. Place them on a tray then cover tightly and freeze. Once the peppers are frozen you can remove the tray. You can cook these from frozen, they will need about an hour to cook. I would add the grated cheese towards the end of cooking.
Tips For Cooking The Perfect Quinoa
- Rinse your quinoa – pour your quinoa into a fine-mesh sieve then run it under the cold tap for a minute or two. This will get rid of any bitterness.
- Add a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon to the cooking quinoa – this will add more flavour to your quinoa.
- Cook the quinoa unit it absorbs all the water – once you’ve brought the water to a boil reduce the heat to the minimum then pop a lid on the pan and leave the quinoa until it absorbs all the water. Fluff it up with a fork when it’s cooked.
Loved These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers? Try These Recipes Next.
- Quinoa Lentil Salad – A fresh and zesty salad of quinoa, lentils and tomatoes with a simple lemon and oil dressing. Simple, fresh and satisfying!
- Stuffed Squash with Wild Rice – filled with wild rice, mushrooms, walnuts and herbs, is a delicious main dish. Really easy to make, it looks gorgeous and tastes amazing!
- Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes – Oven-baked sweet potatoes loaded with a delicious mix of roasted chickpeas, creamy goat’s cheese and a delicious creamy lemon and thyme yoghurt dressing.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- 4 medium to large bell peppers ( I use red and yellow peppers) cut in half lengthways, pith and seeds removed
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil divided into two portions - 1 tbsp and ½ a tbsp
- ½ tsp sea salt divided
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper divided
- 70 g ( ⅓ of a cup + 2 tbsp) quinoa (dry weight)
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 1 medium red onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic put through a garlic press or finely grated
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 x 400g ( 15oz) can of chickpeas drained and rinsed and any shells removed
- 1 tbsp pine nuts optional
- 10 cherry tomatoes chopped
- 100 g (⅔ of a cup ) feta
- 12 pitted whole black olives sliced
- The juice of half a small lemon
- 50 g ( ¼ cup grated )mature cheddar cheese grated (optional)
- 6 or 7 medium basil leaves shredded + more for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180° C / 392°F.Place the peppers on a baking tray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the peppers and sprinkle over ¼ teaspoon each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.Place on the middle rack in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. The peppers should be tender but still firm.Once the peppers are done carefully lift them up to drain any liquid away then leave to cool.
- Make the quinoa: Cover the dry quinoa with water add 1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon. Stir well then bring to the saucepan to the boil, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed.Once the quinoa has absorbed all the water fluff it up with a fork and leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat ½ a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan add the red onion along with a pinch of sea salt. Cook until the onion is soft, stirring often. Add 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and the garlic to the pan and cook for a minute or two.Leave to cool.
- In a large bowl add the chickpeas, feta, chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, pine nuts. Once the onion and quinoa have cooled add these to the bowl and stir well. Squeeze half a medium lemon into the bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the peppers to a large casserole dish. Start filling the peppers with the filling. Don't be afraid to push the filling down. Once the peppers are full sprinkle some grated cheese over each pepper.Pop the casserole dish in the oven on the middle rack and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.Serve immediately.
- Pro-Tip - Drain the peppers after you first cook them. This will stop the peppers and the filling from going soggy.
- Leave the quinoa to cool - if you add any of the cheese to the cooked quinoa it will just start to turn to mush. It's best to leave the quinoa to cool then add it to the rest of the filling.
- Cook the red onion and garlic - cooking the red onion and garlic before you add it to the filling results in a milder flavour. Raw red onion and garlic can be quite strong, I like to cook them up with the dried oregano and leave to cool before adding to the mixture.
- Making ahead - you can make the filling a day ahead, just leave it to cool then fill the peppers once you've cooked them.
- Freezing- if you want to freeze these stuffed peppers, don't cook the peppers first. Hollow out the peppers then fill them with the cooled filling. Skip the grated cheese until you are ready to cook. Place them on a tray then cover tightly and freeze. Once the peppers are frozen you can remove the tray. You can cook these from frozen, they will need about an hour to cook. I would add the grated cheese towards the end of cooking.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online tool and is approximate. The nutrition listed is based on two stuffed peppers per person.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible.
* This recipe was first published on this blog in July 2015. Updated March 2021 with new photos, a step by step guide and nutritional information.