Searching for a recipe that will tickle your traveler’s delight? Our vegan couscous stuffed peppers will not only quench your desire for exotic locations but will also deeply satisfy your senses with Middle Eastern spices and tantalizing textures! If you usually only savor extraordinary meals on special occasions, I highly recommend that you nominate today as a day to celebrate!
Stuffed peppers are surprisingly filling and super fun to eat. You can easily double the recipe and serve these up along with a super fresh green salad, a rich, creamy nut cheese, and a generous splash of fresh lemon.
Because the couscous is so quick to cook up and combine with other ingredients, this is the absolute best recipe for batch cooking on a weekend evening. Consider convincing your family to each take a part in the process and you’ll have an amazing amount in no time—just have one person roast the peppers, someone else to handle the veggies and you can stuff these perky little peppers yourself before baking.Print
These vegan couscous stuffed peppers are packed with enticing flavors that will take you straight to the Middle East. This makes a spectacular main or side dish and might easily become one of your favorite dinner party recipes.
For the roasted peppers:
- 3 romano peppers (cut in half lengthwise and deseeded—as pictured)
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
For the couscous stuffing:
- 6 oz of cooked couscous
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 small carrot (peeled and diced)
- 1 cup of mushrooms (diced)
- 6 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of vegan butter
- Fresh parsley (chopped, for garnish)
- Lemon wedges (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Toss the peppers with oil, salt, and pepper, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until softened. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In the meantime, heat a medium saute pan over high heat and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the mushrooms and carrots and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and mix the sauteed veggies with the cooked couscous. Add the vegan butter and mix until combined.
- Stuff the peppers with the couscous filling and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and sliced lemon.
For those unfamiliar with this gracious little grain, couscous is made of durum wheat flour that is crushed and formed into little spheres. These slightly nutty spheres are similar to pasta or rice, being mostly neutral in taste, and also serve as a convenient pantry staple with a longer shelf life.
The most common type found in grocery stores is Moroccan couscous and is quick to cook because it’s pre-steamed and dried. Though not gluten-free, this unrefined grain is high in fiber, protein, and low in fat, making it a great choice for including in savory stews, warm soups, and satisfying fillings.
Couscous originated with Muslim Berbers in the 11th or 12th century in Maghrib and still a staple food with the peoples of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Libya. Traditionally, couscous is eaten on Fridays along with vegetables (like carrots, potatoes, eggplant, and cabbage), beans (green peas, chickpeas, fava beans), and tomatoes with aromatic spices (saffron, cumin, black pepper) and also the addition of zesty lemon juice and full-bodied olive oil.
Romano Peppers – a small and sweet red pepper that is long and firm enough for stuffing and boasts a lovely, aromatic scent and pleasantly plump texture.
Couscous – a less refined grain with a neutral flavor and a tender, but slightly chewy bite makes this the perfect background for the herbs and spices in this recipe.
Mushrooms – diced mushrooms help to give the filing a more hefty character while also adding a satisfyingly savory, umami note to the dish.
Cherry Tomatoes – all great dishes have a balance of acid and fat. The little bursts of extra juice and brilliant color truly brighten up this Middle Eastern filling!
Carrots – these orange beauties not only boost the nutrition content with beta carotene, vitamin K, potassium and fiber, but their fantastic crunch is an excellent complement to the softness of the mushrooms and tomatoes.
Oregano – this earthy, green and minty spice adds an astringent note to the pepper filling with a slightly bitter and pungent flavor. From the Greek meaning “joy of the mountains,” it pairs wonderfully with the flavors of tomato and pepper.
Vegan butter – this is easy to find at most grocery stores. Choose your favorite brand —a few favorites include: Earth Balance, Melt, Miyoko’s, Forager, and Milkadamia. You can find more in our vegan butter guide. You can even make your own homemade vegan butter! Or you can substitute vegetable oil (like olive oil, canola oil, or refined coconut oil).
How to Serve it Up
These vegan couscous stuffed peppers are substantial enough to be their own main meal, but if you have extra mouths to feed or are looking for leftovers during the week, try out these tempting options!
- Pair these couscous stuffed peppers with a large, crispy salad, crumbled vegan feta cheese, and super soft Filipino Pandesal bread.
- Add each pepper (with stem removed) to a delicious, homemade corn tortilla and top with bright green butter lettuce and warm roasted chickpeas.
- Perfect for lunchboxes! Just include a generous dollop of olive hummus, a handful of crunchy cashews, and julienned carrots.
- Love spicy dishes? You can easily add a dash of fiery cayenne pepper, tangy habanero hot sauce, or sweet smoked paprika. All three would actually be a fabulous combination!
These perky little stuffed peppers store well in the refrigerator for a few days in a sealed container. To reheat, simply place on a baking sheet or casserole dish and pop back in the oven at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. You could also microwave them in a glass dish for a minute or two, although they will not be as firm as heating them in the oven.
Red romano peppers have their origins in the Mediterranean region (specifically Italy and Spain) and are a creation of cross-breeding multiple types of peppers introduced from the New World in the 15th and 16th centuries. The first stuffed pepper recipes were featured in a Jerusalem cookbook by renowned chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
Romano peppers are most commonly known for how well they hold up to baking and roasting because of their low water content and firm flesh. These adorable little peppers contribute such a rich color and flavor to any recipe, which is only enhanced after cooking. Though more sweet than spicy, the flavor is fantastic and these small red jewels are even delightful in their raw state, especially drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
More Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes to Try Out:
We want to thank our amazing recipe testers Helen Di Renzo and Ramona Pedrick for helping us perfect this recipe!
Vegan Couscous Stuffed Peppers recipe and photos by Zhoro Apostolov for World of Vegan. Copyright of World of Vegan™, all rights reserved. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links that support our work at World of Vegan.