Love and Olive Oil

Kale Pesto Couscous Stuffed Peppers

Kale Pesto Couscous Stuffed Peppers

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers. If they’re chopped and the flavor dispersed in whatever I am eating, that’s fine. But if there are big chunks in my soup or stir fry, I’ll end up picking around them even if I’m not doing it consciously.

Don’t even get me started on green bell peppers.


This dish was made out of necessity – we couldn’t think of anything else to do with the bell peppers from our CSA. And while, I admit, I ate the entire thing, if you’re not a pepper fan you can easily treat the pepper as an edible bowl and simply eat the couscous with a spoon.

Because let me tell you about this couscous. It’s incredible whether you stuff it inside of a pepper or not.

In my ongoing efforts to create pesto out of every green available, this time I turned to kale. A mix of kale and basil make for an earthy pesto that still has plenty of the classic pesto flavor. But you could use all basil if you wanted, or even swap in another green for the kale (spinach or arugula, perhaps?) The couscous then gets tossed with some diced tomato and kalamata olives for even more flavor.

It’s worth stuffing yourself for this stuffing.

Kale Pesto Couscous Stuffed Peppers

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  • 1 bunch kale, large veins removed
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, divided, plus more for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous, prepared according to packaged directions
  • 4 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and core removed
  • 1 tomato, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add kale leaves and blanche for 1 minute or until bright green. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon, squeezing out excess water. Place in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Repeat with basil leaves, blanching for 30 seconds.
  3. Add olive oil, garlic, and 1/4 cup parmesan to food processor and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss pesto mixture with couscous until evenly coated. Stir in diced tomatoes, olives, and remaining parmesan.
  4. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet. Pack couscous into peppers, filling full to the rim but not overflowing. Top with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve warm.
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  1. I love your blog and your pictures are fantastic!!

  2. This was the perfect way to use the last leaves on my summer basil plant — I made these last week for dinner with some late-season farmer’s market tomatoes and WOW. This was delicious. Seriously the best thing I’ve made in the last 6 months. This is going in the permanent dish rotation for sure!

  3. Yum! I’m so making this for dinner next week!

  4. I’ve felt guilty for years about disliking kale, but putting it in pesto is brilliant! Yay! No more farmers’ market shame for me! Yet another food problem is solved by the application of plenty of olive oil, salt, and garlic. Thanks!

  5. Looks great! I just posted about my version of kale pesto, which I simply had on pasta. This sounds like one for me to try next.

  6. I am making these for dinner tonight- they look delish! No kale in the house though, so I’m gonna try just using straight up pesto! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Is was just looking at a very similar recipe on a famous cookbook, it involved tomatoes and not peppers though. I’m guessing it’s about time to give it a try thn!

  8. Looks delicious and fresh! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. I can’t stand green peppers either. My best bet is to let them ripen and eat raw with hummus, or char them over a flame to throw in soup or sauce.

  10. Peppers are heaven for me- yum! But I know what you mean with trying to finish up CSA veggies!

  11. I have done the same thing in the past, making pesto out of every green possible: broccoli rabe, kale, spinach, arugula, edamame (not a green, but is the color green!).

  12. This sounds amazing! It doesn’t hurt that I do love bell peppers, especially red ones. :) But kale pesto couscous? Sign me up!

  13. I made the inside filling tonight for dinner (sadly, no peppers around to stuff) and it was awesome! I used a Quinoa/Sprouted Rice mix I bought yesterday instead of couscous. LOVE it!! Thank you for the idea!

  14. This looked so good I had to copy it. Thanks.

  15. Bell peppers are hit and miss for me. I’ve had them in dishes I love where the flavors are prominent, but most of the time I’m indifferent. But I love the idea of this dish even with the pepper!

  16. I love love love couscous!!

  17. This looks and sounds amazing! I love stuffed peppers and I love your different twist on them!

  18. Stuffed peppers are so boss. And these look absolutely perfect. Save me 25.

  19. This sounds so delicious! Love this idea!

  20. Sounds good, but I think I’ll stuff it in a nice juicy tomato instead!

  21. Great idea, but hold the olives for me :)

  22. I haven’t made pesto in ages – must change that asap. And you’re not a fan of peppers? omg I just made something with them and went out of my way to buy a couple yesterday!

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