These vegetarian stuffed peppers with orzo, tomato, and chickpeas are from my new cookbook, The Mediterranean Dish: 120 Bold and Healthy Recipes You'll Make on Repeat. Serve them as a satisfying meatless main or elegant side dish — either way they're a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

roasted vegetarian stuffed peppers on a large serving dish with a sprinkle of feta cheese.
Photo credit: Caitlin Bensel for The Mediterranean Dish Cookbook

These vegetarian stuffed peppers from my new cookbook are a modern take on my earlier Greek-style stuffed bell peppers, where the peppers are stuffed with a seasoned meat and rice filling.  In this recipe, I decided to skip the meat and create a bold vegetarian dish that is equally satisfying and delicious. (Yes, this one is for all the orzo lovers out there).

Here, colorful bell peppers are halved and roasted until tender, and then filled with warm orzo pasta, tossed with chickpeas for protein and heft, fresh vegetables for color and flavor, and pine nuts for texture (you can skip the pine nuts if you don't have them or use walnuts or even pistachios). I toss the orzo and veggie mixture with a good drizzle of herby basil vinaigrette, then stuff the peppers with the filling, and finish with a sprinkle of creamy feta cheese (if you want to keep this dish vegan, you can omit the feta).

Like my stuffed delicata squash and stuffed zucchini recipes, stuffed bell peppers can work as a side for dishes like baked fish, lemon chicken, or grilled chicken or stand on their own. Thanks to the orzo, chickpeas, olives, and fresh herbs and vegetables these stuffed peppers will satisfy anyone who sits at your table — vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

vegetarian stuffing for bell peppers with chickpeas, orzo, toasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, chopped olives, and minced shallot. There is a small container of basil vinaigrette in the background, as well as lemon halves, fresh basil leaves, and a skillet with some toasted pine nuts.

Vegetarian filling for stuffed peppers

The filling really brings the wow factor to these hearty bell pepper boats. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Orzo pasta: You need ¾ cup uncooked orzo.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas add some plant-based protein to the filling. You can either cook them from scratch or use canned chickpeas to cut down prep time. 
  • Cherry tomatoes: These add some acidity and a pop of color.
  • Shallot: A minced shallot introduces a hint of sweetness and a slight oniony bite. 
  • Kalamata olives: For some tanginess. Feel free to use another kind of olive instead. 
  • Toasted pine nuts: While these are optional, they do add texture to the orzo stuffing. 
  • Basil vinaigrette: Adds bright and fresh herbal notes from the basil and lime juice.
  • Feta cheese: Crumble some feta from a block in the brine. I don’t recommend pre-crumbled feta – it is typically quite dry and not creamy. 

How to make vegetarian stuffed peppers

To make vegetarian stuffed bell peppers, whip up a quick orzo filling while the peppers roast, and then stuff them! Here’s what you need to do:

  • Core and roast the bell peppers. Start by cutting 5 bell peppers (any color) in half lengthwise then remove the seeds to make room for the filling. Brush the peppers on all sides with extra virgin olive oil on all sides. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with 2 teaspoons dried oregano, kosher salt, and black pepper. Bake, cut side up, in a 400°F heated oven until tender (about 30 minutes). 

    large red and yellow peppers, halved, cored, and seeded.
  • Make the orzo filling. While the peppers are roasting, cook the orzo in boiling water until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain the cooked orzo well and add it to a medium bowl, along with 1 cup chickpeas, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1 minced shallot, ¼ cup chopped kalamata olives, and ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional). Drizzle with ⅓ cup basil vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste and feel free to add more vinaigrette if you need. 

    close up of vegetarian filling for stuffed peppers in a bowl with orzo, chickpeas, olives, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Stuff the peppers. Scoop the vegetarian filling into the cooked pepper halves. Sprinkle some feta cheese on top and serve. 
vegetarian stuffed peppers on a blue and white plate with a fork. A glass container of basil vinaigrette is in the background.

Sides for stuffed peppers 

I happily serve these vegetarian stuffed peppers as a meatless main – thanks to the orzo and chickpeas, they are so satisfying! I simply add a quick salad on the side, like parmesan lettuce salad or a lemony arugula salad, and call it dinner.

But if I’m cooking for a larger group (5 peppers will serve 10 people as a side), these bell pepper boats make a delicious vegetarian side. Try them with:

Swaps and substitutions 

This recipe lends itself really well to customization! Here are some swaps you can make if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand:

  • Instead of bell peppers, you can core and stuff large tomatoes and small zucchini. 
  • Feel free to omit the bell peppers altogether and just make the orzo mixture to serve as a side. 
  • Use toasted slivered almonds (or another nut) instead of pine nuts. 
  • Swap out the orzo with rice (this is great if you need a gluten free option) or another grain like farro.
  • To make this recipe vegan, simply leave out the feta cheese. 

How to store leftovers

Leftover stuffed peppers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you only have leftover filling, that will also keep for 4 days. Serve leftovers at room temperature.

More bell pepper recipes

This recipe is from The Mediterranean Dish Cookbook: 120 Bold and Healthy Recipes You'll Make on Repeat. More about this book here.

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5 from 25 votes

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Basil Vinaigrette

Suzy Karadsheh
roasted vegetarian stuffed peppers on a large serving dish with a sprinkle of feta cheese.
These stuffed bell peppers are a crowd-pleaser! Bell peppers are roasted until tender, and then filled with an herby warm orzo pasta. Five bell peppers will serve up to 10 people as a side, and 5 people as a main dish.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 30 minutes
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern
Serves – 10 servings (as a side)
Entree, Side Dish


  • cup Basil Vinaigrette, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the peppers
  • 5 large bell peppers, any color, halved lengthwise, cored and seeded
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, optional
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked from scratch or canned
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • cup crumbled creamy feta cheese, from a 2-ounce block


  • Make the basil vinaigrette (according to this recipe) and store in the refrigerator. You will mix some with the orzo and chickpea stuffing.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush a large baking dish with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Brush the peppers generously on all sides with some olive oil and arrange them in a single layer, cut side up, in the baking dish. Season with the oregano, kosher salt and black pepper. Roast the peppers until they are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo according to package instructions or until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
  • In a small skillet set over medium heat, add the pine nuts. Stir or toss until the nuts are fragrant and lightly golden. Stay nearby and stir frequently. This will only take a few minutes. Nuts can go from toasted to burnt in the time it takes to wash your hands.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the orzo, chickpeas, tomatoes, shallot, olives, and toasted pine nuts (if using). Drizzle with ⅓ cup of the basil vinaigrette, then toss to combine. Taste and add more of the vinaigrette to your liking.
  • Spoon the orzo mixture into the pepper halves. Sprinkle a little feta on top and serve.



Calories: 141.6kcalCarbohydrates: 17.8gProtein: 4.9gFat: 6.3gSaturated Fat: 1.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.6gCholesterol: 4.5mgSodium: 231.7mgPotassium: 249.4mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 3.2gVitamin A: 346.1IUVitamin C: 51.7mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 1.4mg
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  1. Hi Suzy, I love your recipes and look forward to the weekly menu plan each week.
    I want to try this stuffed pepper but I am wondering if the time and oven temperature are the same when using tomatoes or zucchini boats. Looking forward to your response. Thank you!

    1. Interesting question, Lili. We haven't attempted either before with this recipe. I think you could bake both at the same temperature. I did a little digging around and the timing should be about the same. It just really depends on your oven, so keep an eye on things. We do have a baked stuffed tomato recipe you could use for a bit of guidance. We also have a zucchini boat recipe you might find helpful. They are a bit different that this one, but some of the information there might be helpful.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night. The filling can be used as a side salad on its own. Will be making it again.

  3. 5 stars
    Hearty, tasty, and filling. Lots of good flavor. I did use a shortcut of jarred pesto. Super easy! Following Suzy has allowed me to eat a more veggie based diet without compromising flavor.

  4. Suzy,

    Dying to make this but fresh basil is hard to come across where I am currently (even the farmers market has none). What would be a good substitute to the basil dressing?

  5. 5 stars
    Suzy, this recipe is seriously one of the most perfect meals. I've been following your website for a couple of years and all of your recipes are winners. Can't wait to receive your cookbook! xox Rona

  6. 5 stars
    Love how easy this recipe is! I used gluten-free orzo (so tough to find -- I think basmati rice would have been a much easier substitute as recommended in the recipe) and it turned out amazing!

      1. Hi, Mara. I think that would be fine. It would change the flavor profile a bit, but should still be delish!