Stuffed peppers have long been considered “comfort” food, although many relate this dish to childhood version complete with pale greasy green shells filled to the brim with hamburger and rice, then topped with a hefty portion of ketchup.

A Stuffed Pepper can actually be quite delicious if we use the right pepper, the right (vegetarian) filling, and don’t overcook it. The use of orzo instead of rice provides a delicate texture to this traditional standard, and Feta adds creaminess and flavor without a tremendous amount of fat.

The garbanzos add a meatier texture to the dish and provided needed protein. The Kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes add enough salt that you do not need to add any in the cooking process unless you desire, making this a heart healthy dish as well.

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers with Orzo and Feta

Ingredients

• 4 Medium red, orange or yellow peppers, ½ inch trimmed from top, cored and seeded
• 1 Medium red, orange or yellow pepper chopped into small pieces
• 1 c. Orzo
• 1 T. Olive oil
• ¼ c. Pitted Kalamata olives chopped
• ¼ c. Sundried tomatoes (packed in oil) drained and chopped
• 1 Garlic clove chopped
• ½ Red onion finely chopped
• ¾ c. Canned garbanzo beans drained
• ¾ c. Feta Cheese

Preparation

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pan and cook peppers no longer than 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain right-side up on paper towels. Return the water to boil and add the orzo, cook until al dente. Orzo is quite delicate, so cooking any longer than al dente will lead to a mushy filling inside the pepper. Drain and set aside in a bowl.
2. Heat one T. of olive oil in small sauté pan on medium and cook onion, peppers and garlic until almost translucent. Add olives at the last moment and cook for a few seconds until they are plump.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle.
4. Mix orzo, sautéed mixture, sundried tomatoes and Feta in bowl and stir until well mixed. Fill each pepper to the brim and place in lightly oiled secure pan (muffin tins, tube pan, anything that won’t allow them to topple.
5. Cook peppers for 20-25 minutes until tops are lightly browned and cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

*Recipe courtesy of Sharon Hunter of StuffedBellPeppers.net.*