Stuffed Peppers with Vegetable Couscous & Leek Puree

I am loving all the flavor in this dish!  I used a generous pinch of red pepper flakes in the mushroom and kale mixture because I like that kick.  And it’s completely vegetarian but you could use a little pancetta or ground meat in it if you wanted to and omit some of the Israeli couscous.  And if you haven’t tried Israeli couscous before you should know it’s actually a tiny pearl pasta and sometimes is sold with the label ‘pearl couscous’ because it looks like tiny pearls.  This is a great dish to serve as a side dish to a main meat course or as a main course for any veggie lovers out there.  It really is a meal in itself.  The leek puree can be done ahead of time.  But don’t skip that step because it really ties the dish together.  I am definitely making this one again soon.
Roasted Leek Puree

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread the leeks and whole cloves of garlic onto the sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt or kosher salt.
  2. Roast for 25 minutes.  Remove any crispy pieces from the outside edges and place the rest in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  I like to use my Vitamix for this because it has a strong engine and really purees the mixture. 
  3. Add in the half and half and more salt and pepper.  Puree until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the edges.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  This step can be done a day ahead.

Stuffed Bell Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or using a baking dish that can fit all 4 peppers.
  2. In a large sauté pan add the butter and olive oil over medium high heat.  When hot add the shallots, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper.  Let it cook in an even layer.  The mushrooms will start to brown.  Give it a couple of stirs and let it continue to cook until browned.  Approximately 7-10 minutes. 
  3. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Then add in the wine and kale.  The kale will cook quickly if it’s tender.  Total cook time is about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the toasted pine nuts, couscous and ¾ cup Parmesan cheese.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  4. Fill each pepper with the mixture.  Place in baking pan or on baking sheet and drizzle the tops with a little bit of olive oil.  Cover loosely with foil to prevent the couscous from drying out. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pepper is tender but not mushy.
  5. Re warm the leek puree if needed and place a few tablespoons on the plate.  Place the pepper on top of that and garnish with lemon zest and shaved Parmesan.
Roasted Leek Puree

2 ½ cups leeks, rough chopped, and rinsed well, white and light green part only

2 large whole cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup half and half

Salt and pepper


Stuffed Bell Pepper

4 medium sized orange, yellow or red bell peppers, tops removed and insides scooped out

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

½ cup shallots, chopped

3 cups crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped

Pinch, red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 large clove garlic, diced

1/3 cup dry white wine

3 cups red or green Kale, chopped

½ cup toasted pine nuts

1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous, cooked according to package instructions

Zest of 1 lemon

¾ cup parmesan cheese plus more for garnish

Salt & pepper

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1 Comment

  • comment-avatar
    Mike January 2, 2015 (10:49 am)

    This is truly the best Couscous I have ever eaten!