Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Recipe - Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

What to have for supper? My Farmers' Market is tomorrow, and I want to avoid going out to the grocery store today if possible. What is in my refrig, freezer, and pantry that I can use without needing to go to the grocery store today?

Here is what I came up with for a Stuffed Pepper recipe that was easy, delicious, and combined the use of some fresh veggies, left-overs, food from the freezer, and even one jar of freshly processed tomatoes that did not seal.

1 very large green pepper (I mean large - this pepper was probably the size of my 2 fists put together)
1 medium onion, small dice
3 small cloves fresh garlic, peeled and smashed or diced small
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup from 2 cups of left-over cooked brown rice
1/2 cup of cooked pinto (or other variety) beans (I cook mine from scratch and store them in ziploc bags in the freezer so I can shake out just the amount I need for a recipe)
1/2 cup of 1 pint of canned tomatoes (if using store-bought canned tomatoes, open a 15 ounce can) - I used the heritage variety called yellow Kellogg Breakfast tomatoes from our garden, a variety originally developed by the Kellogg family here in Michigan
4 veggie "meatballs" from the package in my freezer (I used those made by Green Giant)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

To assemble:
Cut the green pepper in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds, pare out any white pulp.
Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened, maybe 5 minutes, taking care not to burn
Place onion and garlic in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup rice, beans, 1/2 cup tomatoes - mix and smush the tomatoes if needed
Spray a medium size baking dish with no-stick spray (I use olive oil).
Place green pepper halves into dish, open side up.
Place 2 "meatballs" into each empty green pepper half.
Then spoon the rice and bean mixture into each tomato half.
If there is any extra mixture, place it into the baking dish. Add the rest of the tomatoes and rice to the baking dish around the green peppers.

Bake covered at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until filling is hot and green pepper is soft and easy to cut.
After removing cover, grate a bit of cheese over the pepper filling. It should melt in a minute if you replace the cover while setting the table.

This was a great supper for two people. I served small slices of whole wheat sourdough bread to sop up all the extra sauce, water and some red wine and fresh fruit. Yum, yum!! Even my husband commented that this was the best stuffed pepper recipe we have ever made.

Notes: I think it really helped to even out the cooking of the peppers by having the rice already cooked instead of counting on it cooking during the baking of the pepper. One thing I always do is make a big batch of rice in my rice cooker so that I have extra to use during the week. Here was a recipe made easy and delicious because I had the rice cooked up and ready to go. Canned beans and canned tomatoes could also be used and are always be on my pantry shelf or in the case of beans, in my freezer when I am organized!

Enjoy, enjoy the cornucopia of the end of summer harvest! Find your local Farmers' Market and purchase one or a bushel of something to eat tonight and also put away for a taste of summer in January!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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