greek-style stuffed peppers

Friends, I am no stranger to stuffed peppers.  And you probably aren’t either.  So I think we can all agree that there’s something nice about the predictable light sweetness of the baked pepper stuffed with hearty beef or turkey and some spices.

But while a familiar meal like this warms a certain nostalgic part of my heart, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved upon.  I would like to submit for the record this recipe for greek-style stuffed peppers as Exhibit A.

There are so many flavors working in this dish, and they’re all in harmony.  Beef, zucchini,  onion,  Italian bread crumbs (or bulghur, if you follow the original recipe),  spinach, oregano, and egg complement my personal additions of crushed red pepper, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of the feta you’ll be topping the peppers with later on.

The best part about this recipe?  It’s from Ellie Krieger.  As in, health-nut cook on the Food Network Ellie Krieger.  Which means you should definitely indulge in as many stuffed peppers as you see fit.  You know I won’t stop you.

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

2006, Ellie Krieger with a few Katie additions

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup bulghur or Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, cores and ribs removed
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium stewed tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese

Directions

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the beef, spinach, zucchini, onion, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian bread crumbs/bulghur, egg, 1 oz of the feta, oregano, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Arrange the pepper halves cut side up in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and fill each pepper half with the meat mixture. Pour the tomatoes over the peppers and sprinkle with the feta cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the meat mixture is completely cooked and the peppers are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

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