A few weeks ago we made a twist on a classic Greek Salad – serving it over a bed of massaged kale instead of lettuce. The results were fantastic, and the combination of kale, olives, and feta is worth repeating. If you’re a CSA member you’ll have noticed that we are having an amazing year for red and yellow peppers! Stuffed peppers are a natural go to for this gift of the harvest.
I have to be honest, traditional stuffed peppers (you know green peppers with ground beef and tomato paste, stuffed vertically and baked until brown) have never appealed to me. I started stuffing halved peppers years ago and filling them with flavorful grain mixtures instead. For me the peppers are more visually appealing this way and easier to eat! Bonus – if you only have 2 peppers in your CSA you can still serve 4 people a satisfying dish. The stuffing for this pepper mixture will leave leftovers, so if you have more peppers stuff them or just eat the leftovers as a salad.
To make the stuffing we start with massaged kale, just like in the salad. Have you tried massaging your kale? I know, I know it sounds weird, but just try it. It breaks down the kale and softens it, much easier than grabbing another pan and sauteing it. Mix with shredded chicken, the marinated grilled chicken we used was so flavorful, but you can also take a shortcut and use leftover shredded chicken if you have it. By the time the peppers are done baking you’ll have everything ready.
Peppers Stuffed with Greek Quinoa
4 bell peppers, any variety
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
5 kale leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
half a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
For the chicken: 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar juice from half a lemon 1 grated garlic clove 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon salt a few grinds fresh ground black pepper
Make the chicken: Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the chicken in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over the top. Marinade at least 2 hours and up to 1 day, flipping the chicken occasionally.
Grill the chicken: Heat a grill to medium high, then grill the chicken about 5 minutes per side. An instant read thermometer should read 160°F in the thickest part. Let rest for 5 minutes (the temperature will rise to the USDA recommended 165°F). Slice or shred the chicken into bite size pieces.
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
Preheat the oven to 400°F Prep the peppers: Slice the peppers in half vertically, then use a paring knife to remove the seeds and membrane. Slice the edge of the stem if necessary. Oil a baking dish then, place the peppers cut side down and drizzle with oil. Bake for about 15 minutes until the peppers are softened, but not collapsing.
Make the stuffing: Remove the stems from the kale and thinly slice. Place the kale into a large bowl, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice (save the rest of the lemon for dressing the stuffing mixture). Massage the kale for 1 minute with clean hands, then add the quinoa, chicken, feta, olives, and oregano leaves to the bowl. Stir to combine, and add the remaining lemon juice and olive oil to the bowl. Stir again, then taste adjust lemon, olive oil, or salt if necessary.
When the peppers are ready, remove the oven and flip over. Mound the stuffing into the peppers and then return to the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
For a vegetarian version, use a can of chickpeas or white beans in place of the chicken.