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5 from 8 votes

Stuffed Mini Peppers With Goat Cheese

Stuffed mini peppers with goat cheese and pesto are delicious and easy one-bite appetizers for your next holiday or dinner party. Only 20 minutes (with a few good shortcuts).
Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 16 pieces (6-8 servings_
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 8 mini peppers (3-4 inches/7.6-10 cm long) any color (about 1/2 lb.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Goat Cheese Mixture

  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (3 oz), Note 1
  • 2 tablespoon pesto (or more to taste), Note 2
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (about 1 green onion)

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional), Note 3
  • Balsamic reduction drizzle, Note 4

Instructions

  • TURN ON BROILER in oven. Move the oven rack to broil position, about 6 inches from the top. Line pan with foil for easy clean up.
  • PREPARE PEPPERS: Cut off tops/stems of mini peppers. Slice peppers down the middle lengthwise to make two halves. Using clean fingers and nails, scrape out seeds and soft ribs. Place on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Drizzle oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
    Turn peppers face side down in single layer on pan. Broil 3 minutes. Turn peppers over. Broil 3 minutes on side facing up or until peppers begin to char. Remove from oven.
  • MAKE GOAT CHEESE-PESTO MIXTURE (1 min): While peppers are broiling, combine goat cheese, onions and pesto in small bowl. Microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften. This makes it easier to stuff the peppers. Mix well.
  • STUFF AND BROIL: Spoon a teaspoon of mixture into each pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if using. Broil for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until starting to brown.
  • SERVE: Drizzle balsamic reduction in zigzag or cross hatch pattern on cutting board or platter. Transfer peppers with small spatula. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Substitutes for goat cheese: Use ricotta cheese if you prefer a milder cheese. Just add a pinch of salt (and a squirt of lemon if you like) to boost the flavor of the ricotta. Feta cheese, stronger than plain goat cheese, should work fine too. Cream cheese can also be used, but keep in mind that goat cheese is healthier - lower in fat and calories, higher in protein and calcium. It will work though - rich and creamy.
  2. To make your own pesto:  You can use a good store-bought brand or try our classic basil pesto recipe.
  3. Parmesan cheese: You can add a tablespoon directly to the goat cheese-pesto mixture. Instead, I sprinkle a bit on top before broiling. You can leave it out altogether, if you prefer.
  4. Balsamic reduction: I use a store-bought version in a small squeeze bottle that is perfect for drizzling. If you prefer to make your own (or can't find it), here's how to make balsamic reduction: Bring to boil a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoons honey or brown sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for about 6-8 minutes until it reduces by half to a syrup consistency (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). 
  5. Make Ahead: The recipe can be made ahead up to the point of broiling the stuffed peppers in the final stage just before serving. Alternatively, make the full recipe and serve at room temperature. Do the balsamic drizzle just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. 
 
Nutritional value estimates do not include the balsamic drizzle.
Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 549IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg