I make stuffed vegetables a lot. Most of the time it’s peppers, sometimes it’s eggplant, and I’ve recently decided I want to do stuffed zucchini. I like to stuff red peppers the best just because I like their sweeter flavor, but I was on a stricter than normal budget when I went grocery shopping this week, so I got the green peppers because they were fifty cents cheaper. Hey, save a little here and there, right?
I always make too many stuffed peppers for my husband and I because they are so good left over, and these were no exception. One meal prep and we have dinner for the night and lunch for the next day. I love making meals that can be stretched to two or three meals, especially now that we have a new baby and time is precious. She’s not too crazy about being left to her own devices, and I haven’t yet mastered holding a baby and chopping veggies at the same time. I’m kidding! Don’t try that.
I don’t know if I’ve ever made the same stuffed peppers recipe twice. It’s usually a conglomeration of whatever I have in the fridge and whatever I feel like putting in it at the moment. That’s generally the way I cook, but especially with a dish like this. The addition of pesto into these peppers was a last minute thought, but it was a great one! I used the premade pesto from Trader Joe’s. It’s SO good. I love it. Pesto is really easy to make at home, but I don’t make my own basil pesto because I like to do something special with basil if I’m going to work it into my budget. I like to use it fresh, and turning it into a pesto just doesn’t normally appeal to me. I do like to make raw kale pesto (you can see my recipe by following that link), and spinach pesto is another favorite.
If you wanted to make this dish vegan, you could easily leave out the pesto, or make your own homemade pesto with no cheese. Or just add a ton of basil and more garlic for the same flavor profile. Do what feels good to you!
I apologize for the poor quality of these pictures in general, but especially for the last two. I have been working my little brain trying to figure out how to get a better camera for little to no money, but nothing has come to me. So, this camera will have to do for now. I keep telling myself to cook earlier so I can be sure to catch the natural light, but I’m not exactly in control of my schedule at the moment.
I served mine with sauteed onions and mushrooms. If you make this recipe or some version of it, leave a comment and let me know how you liked it or what changes you made!
Ingredients // Serves 4
4 green, red, or yellow peppers, halved
2 medium or 3 small carrots diced
1 small onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 14oz can of tomato puree
1 heaping tablespoon of pesto
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
Preheat oven to 350º. Cook couscous according to directions. Cut the green peppers in half length wise and remove the seeds and core. Arrange the halves in a glass casserole dish. While the couscous is cooking, saute the diced carrots, onion and garlic until onions are translucent and carrots are starting to soften. When the couscous is cooked, add it to the veggies, and stir in about two thirds of the can of tomato sauce and the tablespoon of pesto, salt to taste. Save the rest of the tomato sauce for later.
Fill each half of the peppers with a heaping serving of the filling. There should be plenty. Spoon some of the leftover tomato sauce over each half. Once the peppers are filled and in the dish, pour a small amount of hot water into the bottom of the dish. It should be a very shallow pool of water, about an 1/8 of an inch. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, check your peppers. They should be soft to the touch and look cooked. If they are still too firm, then put them back in the oven for ten minutes.
Value food and cheer and song