Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Peppers are one of my all time favorite vegetables. I think I can seriously put them in everything. I'll chop them up raw and put them in salads. I'll mix them in pasta or risotto. I'll grill them on skewers. My favorite way to eat peppers is probably to dice them up and put them in an omelet for breakfast. I don't think I have ever made bell peppers the star of a recipe though. I think its time. I've always wanted to make stuffed peppers. One day, I'll become brave and make myself some stuffed jalapenos or some other spicy pepper, but for now I think I'll start with the basic bell pepper.

The thing about peppers is that you can stuff them with anything. How about Quinoa, or ground beef, or oats? I don't know about the oat thing. I've heard of it being done but it sounds a little strange to me. Anyway, I decided I would start with rice as my base. Brown risotto rice to be specific. Get creative though, use whatever you have on hand.

Vegan Stuffed Peppers
-2 cups cooked rice- if you have leftovers, go for it. If you're making the rice though, make it just a tad undercooked since it will cook more when you bake it
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with their juice
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 short turns on a pepper grinder, or just a little bit of pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 6 medium-sized bell peppers
- about 3/4 cup grated vegan cheese

To begin, coat the bottom of a pan with the olive oil and add in the chopped onion and mixed garlic. Saute until the onions start to brown. Set aside.

Next, mix together the rice tomatoes, salt, pepper, and basil. Add in the onions and garlic. Stir it all around really well. You can do this ahead of time if you want to! Just mix it all together, put in some tupperware and pop it in the fridge.

Now is when you are going to want to preheat your oven. I set mine, since I'm currently in the UK to 160 degrees C. That converts to 320 degrees F or somewhere around there.

While you're waiting for the oven to heat up, prepare the peppers for stuffing. Cut the top off of each pepper, cutting enough so that the stem comes off with it. Save the top, because you will put it back on before baking. Empty and rinse out the inside of the pepper making sure to dry afterward. Also, make sure that your peppers can stand on their own. You may have to shave a little off the bottom. Just make sure that you don't shave off so much that it makes a whole in your pepper. Then it will be a hot mess all over your pan oven, other peppers, etc. Last thing to get your pepper prepped is to rub it with a little olive oil, or really any vegetable oil, on both the hollowed out part of the pepper and the top.

Once the peppers are all cleared out and rubbed up, fill each one
with about 1/2 cup of the filling, depending on the size of your peppers, and place them on a baking tray. It should fill to evenly line up with the top edge. Now just put the tops on and place the tray in the oven. You will bake for a total of about 45 minutes, turning the tray 90 degrees halfway through. Also, 10 minutes before they're done, take them out, take off the tops and top with grated cheese. Keep the tops off and place them beside the pepper on the tray, stem side down, and place the tray back in the oven for the remaining time. They should look a little charred in places and they should taste wonderful!

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