These Spanish Stuffed Mini Peppers feature a creamy goat cheese and Spanish chorizo stuffing with a date and sherry vinaigrette drizzle. These little stuffed sweet peppers make a simple but elegant tapas or appetizer. Serve them as part of your tapas menu for New Year's Eve, or easily transport them to a party!
Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well & serenely, & with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day... is too dear with its hopes & invitations to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays.~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Stuffed Mini Peppers Recipe Inspiration
NOTE: This post was originally published in December 2016, before Beyond Mere Sustenance became a full-time endeavor. It's a really nice appetizer, and I felt like it deserved a complete update.
On the threshold of a new year, soul-searching seems compelling and unavoidable. 2016 was something of a roller coaster for this girl - adjusting to life in a very different place sans many dear ones, relationship challenges, the birth of our first grandchild, a trip back to Seattle after 25 years away, an election that has rocked me to the core, my youngest son graduating from college... "Tomorrow is a new day." Yes. Indeed. I will greet this New Year with "hope and a future."
Cooking feeds my soul. It is difficult to describe how the act of creating and preparing food brings the peace and satisfaction that it does. I began thinking about this recipe prior to our Christmas trip on December 20. I had already purchased the ingredients.
Sometimes, life happens, and the recipe didn't. 😉 It's all good. December 21, our youngest son Gerritt (we have 4) graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. This was a very poignant moment for his momma. This young man has overcome so much in his 26 years - a devastating paintball accident at the age of 13 that left him blind in one eye, surgeries, drug addiction, rehab in both North Carolina and California, sobriety, and finally a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Why is this important? He found his passion, and he shares it with his mom. His passion provides the focus he needs to tackle the challenges he regularly faces. Food. Family. Faith. Together around the table.
So, back to this stuffed mini peppers recipe? I love Spanish flavors! A few of my favorite Spanish recipes: Spanish Mussels, Spanish-Style Chicken and Chick Pea Stew With Grilled Bread, Spanish Fish With Chard, Cannelini, and Tomatoes. Disclaimer: These are old posts with old photos!
The very typical Spanish ingredients I've chosen for this dish include mini (or piquillo) peppers, Spanish chorizo, olive oil, sherry vinegar, dates, and optional Spanish olives. I keep them in my well-stocked pantry.
🌶️ Mini Peppers vs Piquillo Peppers
Mini sweet peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are small, edible fruits that are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Originally from Central and South America and believed to be a hybrid from the wild bird pepper and bell peppers, Mini sweet peppers are grown on small bushes and are favored for their small size, bright colors, and sweet flavor.~~ Specialty Produce
Mini peppers are smaller, sweeter, and milder than the more familiar large bell peppers, but what I really like about them is their cavity has little or no seeds, and few lobes (veins). This makes them really easy to stuff!
Piquillo chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are a mature, sweet variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as Pimiento de Piquillo de Lodosa, Piquillo translates from Spanish to mean “little beak, which is derived from the pepper’s similarity in appearance to a pointed bird’s beak. Piquillo chile peppers are very mild, ranging 500-1,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, and are popularly roasted, peeled, and preserved in jars to develop a sweet, smoky and tangy flavor.~~ Specialty Produce
Piquillo peppers originated in the north of Spain. They're sweet, with very mild (if any) heat, and have a subtle smokiness to them. These peppers are small and roundish, making them a perfect size and shape for tapas! They can be eaten raw or roasted and peeled. Most commonly, you'll find them roasted, de-stemmed, and peeled then water-packed in a jar.
This mini stuffed pepper recipe works well with either fresh mini peppers, or the water-packed piquillo peppers. I've done them both ways. FYI: The fresh peppers are quicker and less messy to stuff.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- Spanish chorizo - Spanish chorizo is a cured chorizo. DO NOT MISTAKE IT FOR MEXICAN CHORIZO! I'm not yelling, but Mexican chorizo is a raw chorizo, and will not work in these stuffed mini peppers. See What is Chorizo?
- shallots - Red onion is the best substitute.
- goat cheese - The texture and flavor of chêvre really makes the filling, and I highly recommend sticking with it. Cream cheese is the best substitute for fresh goat cheese that comes in a log.
- fresh thyme leaves - The filling really benefits from fresh herbs. If you need to substitute dried thyme, use ⅓ of the amount, and add with the shallot and chorizo.
- flat leaf parsley
- Spanish olives - Olives are totally optional! I've done this recipe with and without, so it's a matter of personal preference.
- peppers - I updated this recipe to work for both fresh mini peppers and water-packed piquillo peppers. The fresh mini peppers require par cooking before filling.
- pitted dates - This is non-negotiable if you're making a date vinaigrette.😊
- sherry vinegar - If you don't have sherry vinegar, substitute champagne or good quality white wine vinegar.
- olive oil
- dijon mustard
- garnishes - fresh thyme leaves, flat leaf parsley, toasted slivered almonds.
- Do the prep - Set the goat cheese out to soften (if you haven't already!). Preheat the oven, mince the shallot, dice the chorizo, chop the herbs.
- Sauté the chorizo - Sauté the diced chorizo over medium-high heat until fat begins to render. Add the shallot, and sauté until soft.
- Stir in the Spanish olives if using. Drain on paper towels. Cool completely
- Par cook the mini peppers - If using mini peppers, bring to a boil, then gently boil for 1 minute. Drain. If using piquillo peppers, make a lengthwise slit. Rinse, and drain.
- Make the filling - Add the cooled chorizo mixture, softened goat cheese, and chopped fresh herbs to a prep bowl.
- Mix thoroughly - Using a wooden spoon or spatula, combine the filling ingredients until you no longer see the white color from the goat cheese.
- Stuff the peppers - Using a generous amount of the goat cheese and chorizo filling, stuff either the mini pepper halves or the piquillo peppers. Place in an oven proof dish. NOTE: I like my cast iron for this task.
- Finish the peppers - The sweet mini peppers need a little more time than the piquillo peppers - 20 and 15 minutes respectively. The filling needs to be hot throughout. While the peppers cook, make the vinaigrette. If the vinaigrette is too thick, add a little water to bring it to the desired consistency. It should be fairly thick. Plate the peppers, and drizzle with that luscious date vinaigrette. Garnish as desired. Enjoy!
Can I make these stuffed piquillo peppers in advance?
Yes. Stuff the peppers, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Drizzle vinaigrette, fresh herbs, and almonds just prior to serving.
Can I use this filling for regular bell peppers?
Can you? Yes. Should you? I don't suggest it. The filling is quite rich, and would be overwhelming IMHO.
Important note: This recipe specifies cured Spanish chorizo, not to be confused with un-cooked Mexican chorizo.
If you anticipate leftovers, hold off on the vinaigrette and garnishes until after you gently re-heat them. I usually dress them as I serve them...
Depending on the size of your pitted dates, the vinaigrette may be too thick to drizzle. Add a little water to get it to a thick but pourable consistency.
A squeeze bottle is ideal for drizzling the date vinaigrette.
🧂 Useful Stuff
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🍷 Pairing Suggestions
As I mention in the intro, these stuffed peppers make an awesome small plate/tapas/appetizer. However, you can make them a main course with a green salad. We love this dish with a dry Spanish rosé.
Spanish Stuffed Mini Peppers
- 4 ounces Spanish chorizo - ¼" dice
- 2 shallots - minced
- 8 ounces goat cheese (chêvre) - softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves - stripped from stems
- 2 teaspoons flat leaf parsley - finely chopped
- ¼ cup Spanish olives - sliced (optional)
- fresh ground pepper
- 12 peppers - cut a lengthwise slit if piquillo peppers, or slice in half lengthwise if fresh mini peppers
- 6 dates - pitted
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves - ¼ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley - minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- several grinds pepper
- ¼ cup slivered almonds - toasted
- fresh thyme and/or parsley - chopped
- Par cook the peppers if using fresh. Bring them to a boil over high heat. Gently boil about 1 minute. Rinse with cool water.
- If using piquillo peppers, rinse and drain. Pat dry.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
The Goat Cheese Filling
- Sauté the diced chorizo over medium-high heat until fat begins to render. Add shallots, and cook until shallot is soft (about 2 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to lift the chorizo/shallot mixture out of the fat, and add to a medium prep bowl.
- Add the softened goat cheese, chorizo, shallot, chopped olives (if using), fresh herbs, sea salt, and several grinds of pepper to a mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine.
Assemble the Mini Stuffed Peppers
- Your peppers - whether using fresh or piquillo - should be prepared at this point!
- Spoon the mixture into the peppers. Arrange in the roasting pan.
- Place in preheated oven, and cook until warmed through for piquillo peppers (about 15 minutes), or about 20 minutes for fresh peppers.
The Date Vinaigrette
- Meanwhile, add the vinaigrette ingredients to the bowl of your blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture is very smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water to thin it.
- Drizzle each pepper with some of the vinaigrette. Garnish with toasted almonds and chopped fresh herbs as desired.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
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