Many of you have been asking for more “meatless meals,” and here is a beautiful one to add to the menu — Mediterranean Orzo and Chickpea Stuffed Bell Peppers!
Quite frankly, the orzo and chickpea salad is delicious enough to eat alone, but to make a more well rounded, veggie-filled dinner, stuffing it in the roasted red bell pepper is a great choice.
Mediterranean Orzo and Chickpea Stuffed Bell Peppers
For the Peppers:
- 4 red bell peppers sliced lengthwise, seeds and white membrane removed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Dressing:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
For the Filling:
- 1 cup dry orzo
- 3/4 cup Castelvetrano olives, halved lengthwise
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped oregano
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley plus more for serving
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for topping
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp lightly crumbled saffron threads
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, optional for serving
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Place bell pepper halves in a 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake until peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, saffron threads, turmeric and Dijon mustard. Stir to combine. Set aside, allowing the flavors to meld and the saffron time to bloom; about 5 to 7 minutes.
- While your saffron is blooming, cook the orzo. When the water reaches a boil, add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl with the dressing. Add the olives, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, shallot, oregano, parsley, cayenne and feta. Toss until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Evenly distribute the orzo mixture into each of the bell peppers; you may have leftover filling depending on the size or your peppers. Top with extra feta if desired and pine nuts. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the feta is golden brown. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, serve and enjoy!