Mediterranean-stuffed-peppers-without-rice

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

You will love these Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice! This recipe for stuffed peppers has a fraction of the carbs and all of the flavor of more traditional stuffed pepper recipes. So what did I use as a replacement for the rice? Read on to find out!

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What Is Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice?

This is a simple, healthy recipe that just leaves out the rice found in more traditional recipes for stuffed peppers.

In it’s place, I used a special ‘Mediterranean Diet’ staple ingredient!

Additionally, I used some other ingredients – commonly found in many Mediterranean Diet recipes – to make the stuffing.

This Orange Stuffed Pepper Is So Colorful!

I will go over all of the ingredients I used for this recipe – including the stuffing – below.

Why You Will Love These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

These stuffed peppers are:

  • Healthy
  • Delicious
  • Vegetarian
  • Easy to make
  • Simple to store
  • Taste great even re-heated

These are just some of the great things about this recipe – and we didn’t even get to the delicious ingredients yet!

What Ingredient Did I Substitute For Rice?

Couscous, of course!

Couscous is a small form of pasta that is frequently used in Mediterranean cooking.

It’s is used most commonly in Greek and Italian cuisine.

Stuffed Peppers Without Rice
Red, Orange, Yellow & Green Peppers Stuffed With Couscous Mixture

But can also be found in Moroccan dishes, as well as other recipes from the Middle East!

The Food Network’s website has all you ever wanted to know about couscous.

But couscous wasn’t the only Mediterranean Diet ingredient I used!

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice – The Ingredients

Bell Peppers Are The Main Ingredient!

This recipe starts with these colorful, large bell peppers!

Make sure that the peppers you select are firm, shiny (not dull), and fresh.

While you don’t need such large peppers with this recipe, I prefer using large bell peppers for this Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice recipe because large peppers are:

  • Easier to clean out
  • Leave more room to add the delicious stuffing
  • Make a larger serving size (one of these stuffed peppers is the perfect serving size)

Do you like using large bell peppers for stuffing?

PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW!

The Rest Of The Ingredients For Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice!

As with many (most) of my recipes, there are not many ingredients required to make these stuffed peppers without rice.

The ingredients you’ll need are:

A Few Notes About The Ingredients

The Couscous

From the ingredients photo above, you’ll notice that I used a flavored couscous.

Namely, I chose a Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Couscous.

Why?

First, because I thought these flavors would fit in perfectly well with this ‘Mediterranean’ themed recipe.

Second, by using a couscous that was flavored, it helped me eliminate the need for extra ingredients!

I didn’t have to add garlic, for example because it was already there.

The Feta Cheese

If you look closely at the ingredients photo again, you’ll notice I am using a Feta Cheese with Mediterranean Herbs.

Not only does this Feta taste incredible, it includes Mediterranean herbs, such as basil and oregano that I would have had to add myself.

Again, this cuts down on the number of separate ingredients I had to buy.

It speeds up the cooking time because there are fewer, distinct ingredients, to add.

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I strive to make the recipes on SeasonalCookbook.com as easy and stress-free as possible.

One of my main motivations – my SeasonalCookbook.com Mission if you will – for starting this site was to make my recipes approachable.

Whenever I would see a recipe online that I wanted to try, but that had a ton of ingredients, I just wouldn’t bother.

So, I try to keep things simple because…

I want YOU to actually try my recipes!

Recipe Equipment Needed

This Recipe Doesn’t Need Much Cookware!

This recipe doesn’t require much cookware.

The essential pieces of recipe equipment are:

You’ll also want the following:

A Small Sauce Pot Is Ideal For Cooking Couscous
Aluminum Foil Can Be Used To Line Your Casserole Dish
  • Small Sauce Pan
  • Aluminum Foil

It’s perfectly fine if you don’t have aluminum foil – you can still make this recipe.

The foil just helps prevent the peppers from sticking to the bottom of the casserole dish.

Alternatively, you can spray the casserole dish with a non-stick cooking spray.

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Cleaning The Peppers Before Stuffing

There are two ways to clean (de-seed) stuffed peppers and both are perfectly fine.

One way is to lay each pepper on it’s side, cut lengthwise into two halves, and clean out each half.

In this recipe, I chose the more traditional way of slicing off the top of each pepper, including the stem.

Colorful Peppers Cleaned And Ready For Stuffing!
These Bell Peppers Are So Colorful!

Then, simply scooping out the seeds and hollowing out the inside of each pepper with a large spoon.

There is no right or wrong way to clean your peppers!

So What Did I Stuff These Peppers With?

A few staple ingredients taken directly from my FREE Seasonal Mediterranean Diet Ingredients Shopping List printable PDF.

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Cooking The Stuffing Mixture On Stove

So, as I mentioned above, I used couscous instead of rice in this recipe.

Couscous is a great rice substitute and an ingredient that is consistent with the Mediterranean Diet.

In addition to couscous, I included the following ingredients in my stuffing:

  • Diced Tomato
  • Black Beans
  • Feta Cheese

All ingredients that served to give this stuffed peppers recipe a Mediterranean flair!

Making The Couscous

These couscous packs like the one I used are so easy to make.

The easy-to-follow instructions are included right on the package.

Mediterranean-stuffed-peppers-without-rice
Closeup Of These Stuffed Peppers – No Rice!

Simply fill a small sauce pot with about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of water, add 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and the contents of the spice packet.

(NOTE: A spice packet will be provided IF you are using a flavored couscous)

Bring the contents to a boil and then add in the couscous while gently stirring the mixture.

Remove from heat and set aside

Making And Adding The Stuffing

Since the filling will be baked in the oven along with the peppers, there is no reason to overcook the stuffing, beforehand.

I used used a small saute pan (see photo below) and cooked the diced tomato, black beans, and crumbled feta cheese (with herbs) over a Low/Medium Heat.

Making The Stuffing For These Peppers!
Heating The Black Beans, Tomatoes and Feta Cheese Before Adding The Couscous

And heated up for a total of five minutes.

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What Temperature Is Best For Cooking These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice?

In general, 400 degrees F is ideal for cooking these stuffed peppers without rice.

That temperature is hot enough to cook/slightly char the outside of the peppers which adds flavor.

400 degrees F also helps cook the filling (bean/tomatoes/couscous) some more so that it is hot when ready to serve.

Vibrant, colorful Orange Pepper - Stuffed Without Rice!
I Could Have Stuffed This Pepper Even More!

However, 400 degrees F is not so hot that the peppers or stuffing elements will burn.

Sometimes, a little trial and error will help with selecting the ideal temperature, but start with 400 degree F if this is the first time you are trying this recipe.

Tips & Substitutions

I mentioned a few things above, but I’ll go over some tips and substitutions here.

TIP: Use Flavored Couscous

You don’t have to use the same Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Couscous I used.

I specifically selected that flavor couscous to remain consistent with the Mediterranean Theme of this recipe

Plus, having garlic flavor already included meant I didn’t have to add garlic (I was out, anyway!)

TIP: Use Feta Cheese With Herbs

Similar to the flavored couscous, I selected a Feta cheese that included Mediterranean herbs.

In addition to making these Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice taste even more awesome, using a cheese with herbs cut down on the number of separate ingredients needed.

TIP: Use A Silicon Spatula

If you are going to invest in a decent nonstick saute pan like the one I use from Le Creuset, then I also suggest you use a silicone spatula.

This will preserve the nonstick coating on whichever saute pan you ultimately use!

TIP: What I Would Do Differently The Next Time I Cook Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

As a food blogger, I am always conscious of what makes food photos appealing.

In the case of this recipe, I specifically stuffed the couscous into the peppers last for a very specific reason.

I wanted the couscous to brown – as I knew it would from the heat of the oven – specifically to look nice for the photo.

Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

In the photo above, you can see how the couscous in the green pepper and the yellow pepper became a golden brown.

However, the result of the heat directly cooking the couscous in the oven (after it had already been cooked), made the couscous crunchy.

While adding the couscous into the peppers last makes for a nice food photo, it is NOT the best way to cook this recipe.

I strongly recommend that, instead, you fold/mix the couscous into the stuffing BEFORE FILLING YOUR PEPPERS!

Doing this will guarantee that your couscous is evenly distributed and that it won’t overcook.

SUBSTITUTION: Use Couscous Instead Of Rice

The couscous was not only delicious, it is the perfect substitute for rice.

It has fewer carbs than the rice and couscous is the perfect rice replacement to give this recipe it’s Mediterranean flair!

SUBSTITUTION: Try Different Beans

Black beans are by far my favorite type of bean, but if you prefer a different type of bean, please feel free to substitute another bean.

There are many different ways you can customize this recipe to your own taste and preference.

I specifically chose these ingredients to keep the recipe consistent with Mediterranean Diet ingredients, but feel free to experiment.

That’s enough chit-chat!

Now on to the recipe…

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

Recipe by Bill
5.0 from 5 votes
Course: AppetizersCuisine: MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

450

kcal

These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice are healthy, delicious and colorful! This recipe uses traditional Mediterranean Diet ingredients and cuts out the carbs by using couscous as a replacement for the more traditional, rice.

(NOTE: I have provided Amazon affiliate links to the ingredients I used (below). I will receive a small commission if you purchase any of these ingredients through the links below. There is no additional cost to you).

Directions

  • Clean Out/De-seed Bell Peppers
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  • While Oven is pre-heating chop/dice tomatoes (keep tomatoes separated)
  • Prepare the Couscous: There should be directions on the package, but the easiest way to prepare couscous is to put 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of water in a small sauce pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the contents of spice sack that comes with the couscous (NOTE: I like to use flavored couscous because this cuts down on the herbs and spices I have to buy). Bring this water/olive oil/spices mixture to a boil. Once boiling, slowly add all of the couscous from the package, while stirring/mixing the couscous.
  • Remove the small sauce pan with the couscous and set aside. The couscous will continue to cook and soften as it absorbs the liquid.
  • Prepare the stuffing (filling): In a small saute pan, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then, over Low/Medium Heat add the stuffing ingredients in the following order: black beans (cook for about 3 minutes), diced tomatoes (cook for 1 minute), crumbled Feta cheese with Mediterranean herbs (cook for about 1 minute).
  • Add the couscous (now cooked) from the sauce pan into the stuffing mix in the saute pan.
  • Using a soft/silicone spatula, simply stir/fold the couscous into the black bean/tomato/Feta mixture such that the couscous is evenly distributed throughout the filling.
  • (NOTE: I added my couscous into the peppers last because I wanted the couscous on top so that it would brown in the oven and make a nice food photo for the blog. This made the couscous overcooked and a bit crunchy. I strongly recommend you mix the couscous into the stuffing BEFORE stuffing your peppers with the filling).
  • Remove the stuffing/filling mixture from heat and, using a large spoon, begin spooning the stuffing mixture into each of the hollowed out bell peppers until filled to the top. Feel free to go a little bit overboard – this stuff tastes good!
  • Place the stuffed peppers into a casserole dish lined with aluminum foil (or have them already in the casserole dish lined with foil before you stuff them).
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes. (Tip: An easy way to remember the key details of this recipe is to think of 3-F’s (no, not that ‘F’ or your kid’s grades). Think F-F-F: Four-hundred degrees Fahrenheit, for Forty Minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Make sure to use large, firm, bright rainbow bell peppers like these without any signs of bruising.
  • Cut down on the number of ingredients needed by using flavored couscous and Feta cheese with herbs already included!
  • Mix/Fold the couscous into the stuffing so that the couscous is evenly distributed throughout the stuffing mix BEFORE you stuff your peppers.
  • Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for forty minutes and enjoy!

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What To Serve With Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

There are plenty of sides that go great with stuffed peppers.

Boiled baby potatoes, corn on the cob, even shrimp scampi all taste great when paired with stuffed peppers.

But if you want even more side-dish ideas, please refer to this article: 27 Sides To Serve With Stuffed Peppers.

In that post, I share a lot of creative sides, but just note that not all the sides in that post strictly adhere to the Mediterranean Diet.

Are These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice Keto?

Since this recipe specifically calls for black beans – and black beans contain carbs – this recipe is not strictly Keto friendly.

Mediterranean-stuffed-peppers-without-rice
Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Close-up!

You can certainly opt to leave out the beans and use the more traditional ground beef as a stuffing element if you’re following the Keto diet.

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Storing And Re-Heating These Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

Storing These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice

The great thing about baking just about anything in a casserole dish, is that to store any leftovers, simply cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

This is exactly how I store my Baked Rockfish and it works like a charm!

Re-Heating These Stuffed Peppers

Since you already refrigerated these peppers right in the same casserole dish they were baked in, just remove from the refrigerator and place right in the oven.

For re-heating, I generally use a slightly lower temperature for a bit less time.

Colorful Peppers Cleaned And Ready For Stuffing!
These Colorful Peppers Remind Me Of Summertime!

I like to re-heat these stuffed peppers without rice at 375 F for 30 minutes.

These peppers become even softer and tastier once they are cooked a second time!

But check the temperature of the filling to make sure it has warmed enough.

How Long Do These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice Last In The Fridge?

Peppers are a hearty vegetable that can last awhile in the refrigerator without becoming overly soft.

Bell peppers won’t wilt like softer vegetables, such as asparagus or lettuce.

Stuffed Peppers Without Rice
Stuffed Peppers Without Rice Hold Up Well To Re-heating

I have re-heated and eaten these stuffed peppers without rice up to 4 days after refrigerating them and they tasted just as good as the day they were cooked.

I don’t recommend freezing the peppers because I feel that once any vegetable has been cooked and frozen, they just don’t taste as fresh.

Just my personal preference.

Other Mediterranean Themed Recipes On SeasonalCookbook.com

Here are a few recipes that fit in with the Mediterranean Diet:

What Do You Think About This Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice Recipe?

Do you like it?

Would you recommend any different or additional ingredients?

Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper on Plate
One Last Look Before You Go!

Did you try making these stuffed peppers yourself?

Please share your thought by posting a comment down in the COMMENTS SECTION below.

Happy Cooking!

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4 Comments

  1. Hey people!!!!!
    Good mood and good luck to everyone!!!!!

  2. Glad you are enjoying this Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers Without Rice recipe!!

  3. Using couscous instead of rice in stuffed peppers is one of my ‘secret’ recipe hacks. I guess it’s not such a secret anymore! Lol…

    PS These stuffed peppers look beautiful!!

    MaryAnn

  4. Hi MaryAnn,

    Thank you for sharing your ‘secret’ with me. We’ll keep it between us (and the rest of the internet)! And thank you for the compliment on these stuffed peppers!

    Please stop by again soon,
    Bill

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