Greek Stuffed Bell Peppers ~~ Mediterranean Flavors

Source

Peppers and Tomatoes in the Garden


If you are like me, you are getting ready to or have just put your tomato and pepper plants in the ground …or you have a friend or family member who excels at growing green things. Whatever your situation, we are all looking forward to the goodness and bright flavors of garden and family farm grown vegetables.

Three of my favorites are tomatoes, bell peppers and onions and this recipe capitalizes on all three. If you are not a gardener and don't have generous gardening friends, you can always find extremely fresh and flavorful produce from a local Farmer’s market or nearby family farm.

Source

Tomato-Pepper-Onion Trounces the Louisiana Triad


There are so many wonderful dishes that call for these three ingredients. I know in Louisiana the much celebrated and revered triad is celery, onions, and bell pepper, but they are sadly mistaken. Far superior in taste and extremely versatile is the TPO trio – tomatoes, peppers, and onion. Think Spaghetti, Fish Tacos, Chicken Cacciatore, Lasagna, Minestrone, Paella, Salsa, Black Bean Salad, Fresh Tomato Soup, Mexican Tortilla Pizza, Meat Loaf, and the All American Favorite – Chili.

Bell Peppers? Yes, if you haven’t been throwing chopped bell peppers (any color will do – red and yellow are milder, sweeter) into almost everything you cook, you have been missing a great opportunity to get more veggies (think nutrients and vitamins) into your children or husband or wife or significant other without any serious resistance --- just chop finely and sauté till well cooked, then add to almost any dish.


Source

Living on the Edge of the Aegean Sea


So my father was in the Air Force and our family had the great good fortune of being stationed at Athenai Air Base about twenty miles outside of Athens Greece for three years. There was no base housing and we lived in a Greek neighborhood and did much of our shopping in the Greek economy, especially the weekly outdoor market.

We lived in Glyfada, a small outlying suburb of Athens and six blocks from our house, just down the street, Greek farmers and vendors set up their stalls every Wednesday. The open air market, which was filled with the freshest vegetables and seafood, and the best citrus we had ever eaten, took up a block. Another six block walk and we were standing on the rocky shore of the Aegean Sea gazing at the blue-green waters and the smoky purple islands just visible on the horizon.

Source

Cooking and Taste Influences


My mother was a "Southern by birth -- Polish by marriage" cook, but she had always had a penchant for vegetables. Living in Greece supported her adventures with vegetables and cooking and soon she was a "Southern -- Polish -- Greek" cook. It was in Glyfada that she learned to make Greek Stuffed Vegetables from our neighbors.

I know you may not have known any better, so my mother and I gladly forgive you, but please, no more of those sad stuffed peppers where the recipe calls for pouring tomato sauce, or worse yet, tomato soup over the peppers.… I promise, there is something so much better. Try it and you will never go back. :) You may also come to view eggplant in a whole new light. Many people who are convinced they do not like eggplant, come to love the flavor it adds to many dishes when combined with other strong flavored ingredients.


Source

Here is what you need - Ingredients.


-- 3 large bell peppers (you may prefer red or yellow peppers which are sweeter, but a green pepper sweetens as it cooks)

-- 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped (best from garden, Farmer’s Market)

-- 2 - 3 medium yellow onions, chopped

-- 1 medium eggplant, yes eggplant – you won’t be sorry

-- 2 - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

-- 1 to 1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef

-- 1 - 2 cups cooked white (brown rice if used, will produce a sweeter, nuttier flavor)

-- 1 ½ - 2 tsp salt (I prefer sea salt , but use what you normally use)

-- 1 - 1 ½ tsp black pepper

-- 1 – 1 ½ tsp dried oregano flakes

-- 1 - 1 ½ tsp dried basil leaves

-- ½ - 1 tsp cumin

-- ½ - 1 tsp cayenne pepper

-- 2 tbsp olive or canola oil


Source

Here is what you do.


Cook the rice. Chop the onions and start sautéing them over low heat in the 2 tbsp of oil. Cut off both ends of the eggplant and slice it in half length wise. Carefully scoop out the meat, leaving the eggplant shells intact and place them in your baking dish, glass or metal is fine. Finely chop the eggplant and add it to the pan with the onions. Stir frequently and be careful that the eggplant does not burn. Finely chop the garlic cloves and add to the pan when the onions are almost translucent.

In another pan crumble the ground beef and fry until well done. Then add the spices listed above. (Start with the smaller amounts and later, after adding the rest of the ingredients and tasting, consider whether to increase the salt and spices.) When done combine the contents of the two pans in a large bowl. Dice the tomatoes - they can be peeled if you like, but that isn’t necessary. Add the tomatoes and cooked rice to the beef mixture – making sure that the ingredients are well combined.


Source

Baking and serving suggestions.


Set your oven at 350 degrees, 325 if it runs hot. Carefully slice a thin layer off the top of the bell peppers, then cut in half, seed them, and place in baking dish with the eggplant. Taste the beef mixture and adjust salt and spices as needed. Carefully mound the mixture into the eight vegetable halves in the baking dish. Add ½ inch water to the bottom of the baking dish. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 45 to 60 minutes.

If you want firm, partially cooked peppers, remove the tin foil at 30 minutes and test for done-ness by pricking with a fork (add a small amount of water if baking dish is almost dry). However, I recommend tender, “falling-a-part peppers” for the incredible flavor that develops with longer cooking. So I remove the foil at 40 minutes, pierce the peppers with a fork and usually cook them for another 10-20 minutes. If you stuff yellow or red peppers, they will become tender more quickly so keep an eye on them.

You will need a large slotted spoon to remove them from the pan to a serving dish. Serve with whatever you like, but I can recommend sautéed zucchini and mushrooms, frozen or fresh spinach with a little lemon and Parmesan, a marinated Black Bean Salad, or a Caesar Salad. And of course, don’t forget a loaf of good crusty bread. This is a great company meal, but it is also a delicious any day of the week family meal. This will serve 4-8 depending on how hungry your family is and can be easily doubled for a crowd. Enjoy!

Source
Source

More by this Author


Your comments are Welcome and Appreciated 40 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

Everything is just right with this hub PHDAST7 it catches the cadence of Mediterranean Flavors.. voted up and sure to be come a favorite in the kitchen in our household


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 3 years ago from Upstate, New York

I enjoy the introduction explaining your family background.

I am anticipating trying out this delicious recipe.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

It looks heavenly. I would definitely try this. Once the garden produces some veggies I will give this a try. Thank you, Theresa!

blessings,

bill


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

My family of origin has had "Greek Night" for probably 30 years. Everyone brings a special Greek dish. This one will fit right in. mmmmm

Thanks


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 3 years ago from New Jersey

Yummy! My step-mother in law is Greek and I am enjoying learning some new recipes ;)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Frank. Thanks for reading and your encouraging comments. :) I certainly hope it becomes a favorite in your kitchen. IT has been so for forty-five years now in my family, starting with my mother's kitchen and then continuing in mine. :) I think both of my brother's also fix this from time to time. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Afternoon Shining - So glad you enjoyed the introduction -- that was my favorite part of course. :) I hope enjoy it. And I should have said this months and moths ago, but the picture of you and your father together "always" makes me smile. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Billy. Do give it a try and adjust the spice amounts to suit your family's tastes. :) Why, I bet you will have almost all the ingredients in your own garden. :)

It is somehow conforting to know that you started out with containers, too. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Eric - What a wonderful family custom and tradition. We alternate between Greek, Polish, and Mexican. I have a brother, who is a firemen, and he makes a variety of very good Chines dishes, and the other brother is great with Tex- Mex and occasionally does Greek as well. Enjoy and you are very welcome. :)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I have a sad truth to tell, I just got close to your recipe. I cheated and went all oregano and cilantro. And white pepper from Vietnam. I substituted a weird squash for the eggplant. (hey we live a few miles from Tijuana.)

Delish!!!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Actually, Eric, you are a man after my own heart. :) That is not cheating, that is being creative. Any really good recipe (except maybe baking and souffles and stuff) ought to be flexible enough to allow for, no to encourage, substitutions. They are the very soul of cooking.

I can see cilantro for basil and any kind of pepper makes perfect sense. Its funny that you used a squash because I almost added that zuchinni makes a great substitution for eggplant. But then I thought I would just encourage people to try eggplant. :) I am so glad it was Delish! :)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I am telling you, cooking is happy time. Eating is glorious time. And so that means sharing is the epitome of happy and glory. Not to mention my happy tummy.

You share recipes like my momma used to, with a story and some heart. Muchas Gracias Nina.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Wooo, now you are talking! I have always heard that the Mediterranean diet is so healthy. This hub is making my mouth water just thinking of all the flavors together.

Thanks for the great recipe hub and sharing it with us!

Voted up ++++ and sharing too

God bless, Faith Reaper


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Ohmygoodness, Theresa! I adore stuffed peppers and these sound divine! My mouth is watering for some. I'm also a fan of Mediterranean cuisine from all sides of it. The freshness, the seasonings, the use of healthy oils and grains, - all to my liking and preference for nutritious, healthy, yummy food! Your presentation and the gorgeous illustrations are more than slightly tempting! I love the way you lead one through the cooking process, too!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Theater girl - How wonderful. :) I am sure you will learn some wonderful recipes from her. Moussaka, Pastitio, Spanokopita (one of my favorites), and Dolmades. Strangely, the one Greek food I dislike is Baklava - way too sweet for me. :) Thanks for commenting. Have a wonderful day. :)


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 3 years ago from New Jersey

You too! Thank you for all your lovely comments as always!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Oh, yes, a real dream here. My mother did the stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, and I was never thrilled with that. I would simply not even bother with it when I was doing my own cooking. Now all this, I can easily live with.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

avian - Me too. I was never interested in the peppers where they just glopped some canned tomato sauce on top. These you will enjoy and you can always adjust ingredients to suit your taste, mood, or pantry. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Faith. So good to see your smiling face. :) Mediterranean dishes are quite wonderful because they are both delicious and good for us. What a bonus. :) Thanks for the great comments, votes, and sharing. I hope you have a great weekend. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Nellieanna - I am with you. Pretty much love everything Mediterranean. Can't go wrong with garlic, tomatoes, lemons, olive oil, and citrus fruits. :) Thank you for your more than kind compliments. It was a fun hub to do. Next Sunday I will treat my extended family to Greek Peppers. :) Theresa


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I love it all - very much the flavor I crave. I only wish I had space to grow some of the veggies mentioned, that would be rich! Excellent post, dear lady.


Marcia Ours 3 years ago

Interesting. Looks delicious!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you teaches. :) I appreciate your kind words an shall hope that many friends give you vegetables from their bountiful gardens. :) Hope you have a wonderful week. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Marcia - It really is a great dish and all the credit goes to my mother a little Greek lady. :) Hope you are doing well. Theresa


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

Oh Theresa, I love this hub! I am half - Italian so I can relate to the mediterranean cooking. Yes, the Italians also do a tomato, pepper and onion salad with just oil and vinegar and either basil or mint or both on the salad. MMMMM - it is the best summer salad in the world. I know what you mean. I love eggplant and eat it as much as I can. Eggplant parmesan is better to me than with veal or chicken. I love vegetarian meals. And we eat stuffed peppers without all the tomato sauce on them too. The sauce just covers the great taste of the peppers and meat and rice. I love stuffed peppers and just had them last night for dinner. Your living experience in Greece sounded wonderful to me. I'm glad you lived off base and on the economy. You really get to experience the Greek culture that way. You are so fortunate to have grown up living and traveling to all those wonderful places. I will have to try your recipe here as it sounds and looks delicious. Thanks for sharing what I think is great cooking.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Suzette - Mediterranean flavors are the best and like you, I just love eggplant (how nice to love something that is healthy and so good for us). And I know the salad you are talking about -- tomatoes, peppers, onion, basil, oil, vinegar -- and it is wonderful. I am so glad that you enjoy stuffed peppers. :) The traveling experience my siblings and I had because my father was in the Air Force were just wonderful and quite a blessing. ;) Take care. Theresa


Elias Zanetti profile image

Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

Excellent recipe. There are many - slightly different - recipes for stuffed peppers, tomatoes and eggplants and so on but I really like yours. Afterall, the main ingredients of mediterranean cuisine are remain pretty much the same. This is also a summertime dish so the timing of discovering your hub is just perfect!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning - What a pleasure to meet you, especially when connecting over one of my family's all time favorite dishes. There is something wonderful about tomatoes, peppers, onions, and eggplant. Read your profile and you do have wonderful family origins and are quite a world traveler. It is a good life - I loved traveling and seeing the world as a young person because my father was in the Air Force. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a wonderful week. :)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Oh my--you got my mouth watering!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Well Audrey, I will take that as a very fine compliment indeed. :) Theresa


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

A little late, but I've finally planted my tomatoes, and peppers. Looking forward to making use of this delicious recipe. I followed the nasturtium flowers they'll do for the salad :).

Loved the family history.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good evening Jo. I watered my container peppers and tomatoes this afternoon and moved them around a little hoping for better sun. I have never done this before, so it will be interesting. Glad you got yours planted. So glad you enjoyed the family history -- apparently I can't do a recipe without also sharing family. lol Hope the rest of your week goes well. Theresa


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

OK: next time we do a movies and much talking session, you must make this. (How many hubbers can make this comment?) You've talked about this dish for years. Put up or ----! Beautifully done recipe !!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - OK, on the 22nd or whichever Friday we next get together, I will fix them and we will sandwich a Mediterranean Lunch between episodes of I"ll Fly Away. That would be a pretty good day. lol


smcopywrite profile image

smcopywrite 2 years ago from all over the web

it looks so great! I am so glad to see a nice and fresh recipe for an old recipe. thanks


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

HI smcopy - Glad you found the recipe. Its good any time of year. Enjoy. :)


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 2 years ago from Central Virginia

OMG, I got so hungry reading this hub. The photos made me drool. What a fantastic job you did and I can't wait to get in my kitchen and try some new recipes. Voted way up and awesome.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Linda - It is pretty wonderful stuff. :) Enjoy cooking and eating! :) Theresa


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona

M-M-M-mmm this sounds so delicious. Great hub! And I sure enjoyed being in Greece for a few moments. Voting way up, sharing and Pinning. I've made a special new board just for it on Pinterest.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Pamela - We loved being in Greece for three years and we love revisiting it with this recipe. Hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does. Don't know if I have ever been Pinned before. Thanks! Hope you have a great weekend. :) Theresa

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working