These Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers are full of Mediterranean flavors! They're made with orzo, feta cheese, spinach, and Kalamata olives.
When it comes to meatless meals, it doesn't get any more fresh and flavorful than these Greek Stuffed Peppers! They're perfect served as a healthy weeknight dinner.
After a long winter, I'm ready for springtime and all of the flavors that come along with it. As soon as daylight saving's time rolls around, I find myself craving meals made with fresh ingredients.
As far as fresh ingredients and bright flavors go, you can't do any better than Mediterranean cuisines. These stuffed peppers are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, particularly by those that are popular in Greek cooking.
This dish is made with bell peppers that are stuffed with a mixture of orzo, spinach, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese. The peppers are baked in the oven until tender, along with some garlic, oregano, and olive oil.
The whole thing is topped with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. This dish basically tastes like the spring and summer months on a plate.
- Is Arborio Rice The Same As Orzo?
- Ingredients For Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers
- How To Make Filling For Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
- Should Peppers Be Precooked Before Stuffing?
- How To Make Stuffed Peppers
- How Long Should I Bake Stuffed Peppers?
- What To Serve With Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers?
- How Long Do Stuffed Peppers Last In The Fridge?
- Can They Be Frozen?
- Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers
Is Arborio Rice The Same As Orzo?
Orzo is a type of pasta that is shaped like a grain of rice. It's made from flour just like any other type of pasta even though the shape of it might suggest otherwise.
Orzo is used extensively in Mediterranean cuisines and is great for light pasta dishes, salads, soups, and recipes like these Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers.
It looks a lot like Arborio rice but the two are not the same thing. Arborio rice is actually a type of rice and is used to make dishes like risotto. It's also gluten free.
Even though orzo is shaped like rice the two are not interchangeable and orzo is not gluten free.
To make this dish gluten free, however, I simply used a package of gluten free orzo. Gluten free orzo may be available in specialty or health food grocery stores, or available for purchase online. Feel free to use regular orzo if gluten is not an issue for you.
Alternately, you can substitute brown rice, white rice, or quinoa if you are unable to find gluten free orzo. Keep in mind that these substitutions will alter the flavor slightly.
Ingredients For Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers
I love Greek cuisine, because it manages to coax big flavors out of a few simple ingredients. In general, it's clean, healthy, and made with ingredients that complement each other.
This recipe is made with bell peppers that are stuffed with a filling prepared with orzo pasta, fresh spinach, salty and briny Kalamata olives and feta cheese, and the zest and juice of a lemon.
The filling is naturally vegetarian, which makes this dish a great choice if you're looking to lighten things up after the winter months.
Here's what you'll need to make them.
- 8 oz. Gluten Free Orzo (equals 1 ¼ cups dry orzo) (use regular orzo if not gluten free)
- 3 Bell Peppers (any color)
- 2 packed cups Spinach
- 1 cup Pitted Kalamata Olives (chopped)
- 1 cup Feta Cheese Crumbles
- 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
- ¼ tsp. each Kosher Salt and Pepper
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- ½ cup Parsley for garnish (optional)
Love Mediterranean flavors? Don't miss these recipes!
- Mediterranean Veggie Naan Pizza
- Mediterranean Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Mediterranean Chicken
- Sheet Pan Mediterranean Chicken
- Sheet Pan Greek Chicken
- Kalamata Olive Tapenade
- Roasted Mushroom Tapenade
- Tahini Roasted Cauliflower
How To Make Filling For Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
The filling for these stuffed peppers is easy to make and the orzo can be made ahead of time if needed.
Cooked orzo pasta may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, so feel free to prepare the orzo ahead of time if you prefer. Make sure to allow the orzo to come to room temperature before transferring to the fridge for storage.
- To make the filling, simply prepare 8 oz. (equals 1 ¼ cup dry) of gluten free orzo pasta (can use regular orzo pasta if not gluten free) according to package directions. Cook the orzo just until al dente (it's important not to overcook it, or it may become mushy).
- Drain the orzo after it has finished cooking and pour it into a large mixing bowl.
- Allow the orzo to cool a bit before adding all of the other ingredients.
- Mince 4 cloves of garlic.
- Roughly chop 2 packed cups of spinach leaves.
- Chop 1 cup of pitted Kalamata olives.
- Add the 2 packed cups of chopped spinach, 1 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 1 cup feta cheese crumbles, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper to the cooled orzo.
- Toss the mixture until completely combined.
Feel free to substitute another variety of olives if you don't care for Kalamata olives. Green, black olives, or Castelvetrano olives are all great alternatives.
Marinated artichokes or capers may also be used in place of Kalamata olives.
Should Peppers Be Precooked Before Stuffing?
Some recipes call for bell peppers to be precooked or boiled before stuffing them. I do not find it necessary to precook or boil bell peppers before stuffing.
The bell peppers are cut in half and the seeds and membranes are removed before stuffing them. They are then arranged in a baking dish, covered with foil, and baked in the oven until tender.
I think that precooking or boiling the peppers would make them watery and mushy. The baking process helps to soften and sweeten them a bit, making for a tender and flavorful dish.
How To Make Stuffed Peppers
- You can't have stuffed peppers without the peppers, so the next step is to chop 3 bell peppers (any color) in half and then to remove the seeds, stems, and membranes.
- Pour ¼ cup of olive oil into a 9x13 inch ceramic or glass baking dish, or a cake pan.
- Sprinkle the 4 cloves of minced garlic into the baking dish, along with 1 tsp. dried oregano. Make sure that the garlic and oregano are distributed evenly throughout the dish.
- Arrange the bell pepper halves in the baking dish and add a generous amount of the filling into each one. The peppers will likely overflow with the extra filling.
How Long Should I Bake Stuffed Peppers?
Once the peppers are completely stuffed with the filling, it's time to cover the dish with foil and bake them in the oven.
The peppers take 45-50 minutes when baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The bell peppers should be soft, but not mushy at the end of the baking time.
Feel free to cook for an additional couple of minutes if necessary.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Tightly cover the baking dish with foil.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes.
- Feel free to test the peppers at the 45-minute mark and bake for another 5 minutes if you like the peppers a bit softer.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven.
What To Serve With Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers?
Once the stuffed peppers are finished baking in the oven, they're ready to serve!
I recommend garnishing them with some minced fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. The parsley complements the Greek flavors perfectly and some fresh lemon juice makes the dish pop.
Feel free to use either flat or curly parsley. Alternately, you can garnish the stuffed peppers with fresh chives or oregano. Or, you can sprinkle a small amount of dried herbs on top in place of fresh.
These Stuffed Peppers are perfect served with a bright and tangy side salad like this Easy Greek Salad, Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, or Snap Pea Mint Salad.
A vegetable side like these Ellinikos Lemoni Patatas (Greek Lemon Potatoes) or Garlic Roasted Green Beans makes for a great pairing.
Or, you can drizzle them with some Tzatziki Sauce or Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce.
Looking for more vegetarian meals? Check out these recipes!
- Vegetarian Mediterranean Pasta
- Mediterranean Lentil Soup
- Mushroom and Olive Pasta
- Cauliflower and Tomato Pasta
- One Pot Veggie Pasta
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake
- Kohlrabi Schnitzel
- Green Pasta Sauce
- Spinach Walnut Pesto
How Long Do Stuffed Peppers Last In The Fridge?
Any leftovers should last 2-3 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Be sure to allow the peppers to cool completely before transferring to the fridge for storage.
Can They Be Frozen?
Yes, these Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers may be frozen and enjoyed at a later date.
Keep in mind that freezing the peppers may alter the taste and texture a bit.
How To Freeze
- Prepare the recipe as written (baking the peppers in a freezer-safe dish) and allow the peppers to cool completely before transferring to the freezer for storage.
- Tightly cover the dish in plastic wrap and foil, label with the date, and store up to 3 months in the freezer.
How To Reheat
- Transfer the peppers to the refrigerator 24 hours before reheating. Alternately, the peppers may be reheated without thawing.
- Remove the plastic wrap, cover the baking pan with foil, and bake in an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for anywhere from 25-45 minutes. The peppers will take longer if reheating from frozen. Make sure the peppers are thoroughly heated.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon before serving.
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Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers
- 8 oz. gluten free orzo equals 1 ¼ cups dry
- 3 large bell peppers any color
- 2 packed cups spinach
- 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives chopped
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ cup fresh parsley for garnish
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare 8 oz. (equals 1 ¼ cup dry) of gluten free orzo pasta (can use regular orzo pasta if not gluten free) according to package directions. Cook the orzo just until al dente. It's important not to overcook the orzo, or it will become mushy.
- Drain the orzo after it has finished cooking and pour it into a large mixing bowl.Allow the orzo to cool a bit before adding all of the other ingredients.
- Mince 4 cloves of garlic.
- Roughly chop 2 packed cups of fresh spinach and chop 1 cup of pitted Kalamata olives.
- Use a Microplane or small zester to zest 1 lemon.
- Add the 2 packed cups of chopped spinach, 1 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 1 cup feta cheese crumbles, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper to the cooled orzo and toss the mixture until completely combined.
- Chop 3 large bell peppers (any color) in half and then remove the seeds, stems, and membranes.
- Pour ¼ cup of olive oil into a 9x13 inch ceramic or glass baking dish, or a cake pan. Add the 4 cloves of minced garlic into the dish, along with 1 tsp. dried oregano. Make sure that the garlic and oregano are distributed evenly throughout the baking dish.
- Arrange the bell pepper halves in the baking dish and add a generous amount of the filling into each one. It's fin if the peppers overflow with the extra filling.
- Tightly cover the baking dish with foil.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Feel free to test the peppers at the 45-minute mark and bake for another 5 minutes if you like the peppers a bit softer.
- Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately.
- To Serve: Served the stuffed peppers with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and squeeze of lemon juice.
EA The Spicy RD
Beautiful recipe! I am a afn of anything Greek, so these stuffed peppers look amazing to me!
Thanks so much! I love those fresh Greek flavors during the summer months. 🙂