Stuffing peppers is a fun way to serve a perhaps otherwise overlooked grain salad at your next backyard get-together. Cubanelle peppers are an ideal choice thanks to their mild spice, thin walls and narrow cone-like cavity.
1/2 cup each cooked romano beans and chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans; or BPA-free no-salt-added canned beans, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil (about 5 medium leaves)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt, optional
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Cut tops off peppers, about 1/2 inch. Remove and discard stem and seeds. Dice tops of peppers and transfer to a medium bowl. Set aside bowl and cored peppers.
In a small saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tsp oil on medium-high. Add garlic and couscous and stir until garlic is light golden and fragrant. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and steam for 8 to 10 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and couscous is al dente. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, grill peppers and zucchini: Grill cored peppers for about 8 minutes, turning occasionally until all sides are lightly charred. Remove peppers from grill and allow to cool at room temperature. Brush zucchini with 1/2 tsp oil and grill for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and tender. Let zucchini cool slightly, dice and add to bowl with diced pepper tops.
Add couscous, beans, chickpeas, feta, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, remaining 4 tsp oil, black pepper and salt, if desired, to pepper-zucchini mixture. Mix well.
Stuff about 3/4 cup pepper-zucchini mixture into each grilled pepper; lightly pack filling throughout entire pepper until filling reaches the top. Wrap each pepper tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or a maximum of overnight. (Alternatively, carefully lay stuffed peppers in a shallow tray or dish, cover and refrigerate.)
Sweet bell peppers are tasty little vessels for this Southwest-style stuffing, chock- full of fiber-rich corn, black beans and cilantro. Plus, there’s no need to parboil the peppers to give them tenderness, since they’ll be slowly simmered all day in a smoky tomato sauce.
Jalapeños tend to grow like mad once they get going, so here’s an easy (and delicious!) way to use up 10 peppers at once. Grilling brings out corn’s inherent sweetness and gives the rich stuffing a smoky flavor you’ll love. Serve as a fun party appetizer, or as a side with grilled chicken or pork.