The Washington Post

Harissa-Stuffed Bell Peppers

Harissa-Stuffed Bell Peppers 4.000

(Justin Tsucalas for the Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post)

Plant-Powered Newsletter Jul 26, 2019

These crowd-pleasing stuffed peppers are hearty, stuffed with whole-grain bulgur wheat and stretchy Muenster cheese. Fennel seed evokes Italian sausage, and the filling is dolloped with harissa, a vibrant red North African chili pepper paste.

Want more protein? Add 1/2 cup cooked crumbled sausage to the mix.

This recipe is from Week 9 of Voraciously's Plant Powered newsletter. Sign up at

Make Ahead: The finished recipe can be refrigerated overnight; the flavor is even better the second day. Reheat at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the peppers are heated through.

Where to Buy: Jarred harissa can be found in the international aisle or near the condiments; you can also find it online. This recipe calls for mild harissa: use regular harissa if you prefer a kick; also see related recipe (listed below). Bulgur wheat varies in cook time based on the type of wheat and the way it was processed. If the package is labeled, choose a medium grind. Check the package directions for cooking and pick one that cooks in 15 minutes.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes 8 halves

  • 1 1/4 cups bulgur wheat (see headnote)
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 4 large red or yellow bell peppers with stems, cut in half from top to bottom (seeded, ribs removed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • One 15-ounce can low-sodium Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped Tuscan kale (from about 2 large leaves)
  • 5 ounces Muenster cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, unsalted roasted pistachios, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup mild harissa, for garnish (jarred; see headnote and related recipe)

Related Recipes


Start by prepping the bulgur: Place it in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Allow to it to stand for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender. If it’s not tender by that point, continue to let it stand until all water is absorbed.

Next, you’ll broil the peppers before stuffing them. Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element, and preheat the broiler to high. Place the peppers on baking sheet, cut sides down, and broil them for 5 minutes. Flip the peppers, then broil for 5 to 7 minutes more, until they are just starting to blacken.

Remove the baking sheet from the broiler and drain any excess liquid from the peppers (you’ll see they’ve shred quite a bit of water). Sprinkle each pepper lightly with salt and black pepper. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Once the bulgur is done, finish the filling: Heat the oil until shimmering in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallot, fennel seed, cumin and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the bulgur, beans, kale, the 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper; cook until the kale has wilted, about 1 minute. Add the cheese cubes, stirring until they are just melted. Remove from the heat, taste and season with a few pinches of salt, as needed.

Divide the bulgur filling among the charred peppers; mounding it is okay. Cover the baking sheet loosely with aluminum foil. Roast for 15 minutes, until the peppers are easily pierced with a fork.

Top each stuffed pepper half with pistachios, then dollop with harissa (take a taste of the harissa before dolloping to assess the spice level!). Serve warm.

Recipe Source

From Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser of

Tested by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 530

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 16g 25%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 35mg 12%

Sodium: 710mg 30%

Total Carbohydrates: 77g 26%

Dietary Fiber: 14g 56%

Sugar: 6g

Protein: 25g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle