You MUST make these peppers!! They are on the cover of the latest edition of the Food Network Magazine and they are AMAZING. I swapped the rice in the original recipe for quinoa and essentially kept everything else the same. They have an incredible amount of flavor and all of my favorite things about Mediterranean food–lemon, dill, feta, and even cinnamon. I thought I would freeze half of them to have on stand-by for weeknight dinners, but I loved them so much that I couldn’t bear to part with them.
Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty: Easy; Makes 6 Peppers)
For the peppers:
- 1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 c. organic raisins
- coarse sea salt
- 1/2 c. walnuts
- 1/2 c. fresh dill
- 1/2 c. fresh parsley
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- 6 medium bell peppers (any color)
- 8 oz. all natural free range ground turkey
- 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz.)
- 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- Freshly ground pepper
For the sauce:
- 1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen fire-roasted)
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. organic honey (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the peppers: Combine 2 cups water, the quinoa, raisins and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, 15-18 minutes. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then transfer to a large bowl to cool. The refrigerator can help speed this up.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast until lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool, then finely chop. Pile the dill, parsley and scallions on a cutting board and finely chop.
Cut off the top of each bell pepper, reserve the pepper tops and discard the seeds and white membranes. Put the turkey in a large bowl; add 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup feta, the quinoa, walnuts, all but 2 tablespoons of the chopped herbs, the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gently mix with your hands. Stuff each bell pepper evenly with the mixture; cover with the pepper tops.
Make the sauce: Whisk 3 cups water, the tomatoes, olive oil, cinnamon, and honey (if using) in a wide, deep saucepan. Arrange the stuffed peppers upright in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low; simmer until the peppers are soft and the filling is cooked through, about 1 hour.
Preheat the broiler. Carefully remove the peppers from the sauce and transfer to a baking dish; remove the tops and set them aside in the baking dish. Toss the reserved 2 tablespoons chopped herbs with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup feta in a small bowl and sprinkle over the filling. Broil until melted, about 2-10 minutes depending on your broiler. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve the peppers in shallow bowls with the sauce.