These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers are a no brainer for me. I know that as an Arab, we are known to stuff many vegetables. Basically, anything you can think of, we have probably tried to stuff it. It's what we do. BUT stuffed peppers are constantly a go-to dish for me because they're hands down the easiest vegetable to stuff.
The stuffing for these peppers is tangy, and bursting with Middle Eastern flavors which complement the sweetness of the peppers so perfectly. The best part is not just the fact that they are prepared in about 10 minutes, but also that they cook in the oven which means your stove stays nice and clean. That's always a bonus for me.
The stuffing for these Mediterranean Stuffed peppers is inspired by my mother's dolma recipe. If you've never had dolma... it's likely because you don't have nice Arab friends like me to make it for you and/or you are too intimidated to try it. Let me tell you: it's the best dish ever. and THESE stuffed peppers are your gateway to dolma. Why? because they're much easier to make and taste so similar!
Dolma stuffing is traditionally made with ground beef, but I decided to go vegetarian for various reasons. It's quicker to make, lighter on the stomach, and lighter on the planet. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat meat, but every now and then, it's good to keep it light.
How to make Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
The process for making these Mediterranean stuffed peppers is pretty simple. I wasn't kidding when I said it takes about 10 minutes to prepare (unless you chop very very slowly). Here's how it goes down:
- Preheat your oven so its ready to go
- Hollow out the peppers, which is so easy to do. It takes a sharp knife and making a round cut around the stem. Then you simply pop the stem off and empty out any seeds
- Chop the onions, peppers and garlic that go into the stuffing, then mix all the stuffing ingredients together
- Stuff the peppers about three quarters of the way through, and place them in your dutch oven or baking dish
- Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour it inside of the peppers and all around
- Bake it and get ready to dig in
What type of peppers should I use for stuffed peppers?
My personal favorite peppers to stuff are yellow, red, and orange sweet peppers. I don't enjoy the taste of cooked green peppers, but if you do, you can certainly use those too. As for size, I like to go for the medium sized peppers you may see at your grocery stores. Not the regularly sized large peppers, nor the super small mini ones. They're medium in size and tend to be so much sweeter than the larger ones.
You can still go for the big peppers but keep in mind that you will need either more stuffing or less peppers. And it would actually be fun to do this with mini sweet peppers. I bet that would look super cute.
If you try making these Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers, I would LOVE to hear your feedback. Let me know by leaving me a comment and a review! I can't wait for you to try them!
For more Vegetarian recipes, check out:
Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers (Vegetarian)
For the peppers:
- 10 medium peppers if using large peppers, you will need less
For the stuffing:
- 2 cups rice any type - I used Basmati
- 1 onion
- 1 medium pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses see notes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon seven spice or replace with allspice or cumin if unavailable
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons oil
For the sauce:
- 1 cup tomato sauce dry cup
- 3 cups water
- 1 stock cube vegetable or chicken
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons oil
For the garnish:
- Handful of parsley or mint optional
- Start by preheating the oven to 450F
- Wash and dry your peppers, then hollow them by creating a round cut around the stem and removing it. Also remove the seeds and any extra skin from the inside
- Finely dice the onion, garlic and pepper for the stuffing
- Mix all the stuffing ingredients together well
- Stuff each pepper with the stuffing about ¾ of the way through (the rice will expand)
- Place in a dutch oven or an oven safe dish, preferably with a lid (you can also use aluminium foil to cover)
- Mix together the sauce ingredients well and ensure the stock cube is dissolved by using hot water
- Pour the sauce over the peppers, ensuring that each you pour some into each pepper then pour the rest around the peppers in the pot
- Cover and bake for 35 minutes
- After 35 minutes, uncover and baste the peppers with the sauce. Check that the rice and the peppers are soft (if not - continue baking covered for another 10 minutes)
- Bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken
- Serve with a side salad and enjoy!
- All measurements for cups are using dry measuring cups
- If you don't have pomegranate molasses, replace with 2 tablespoons lemon and 1 teaspoon sugar (mix together and add)
- This dish is best made in a dutch oven or an oven safe dish that has a lid to allow the peppers to steam well. If using aluminium foil to cover, make sure you seal it well