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Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers


Stuffed Peppers

Easy, cheesy, beautiful | Photo by HFLP

I hope everyone out there had a great Memorial Day weekend.  We spent a lot of time on the boat, the jet ski and in the pool, saw some old friends, caught a Rays game and ate lots of good food – which was as good a break as I could hope for from the heat and tedium of school in Gainesville.

We went bowling, too, which is something that, despite my enthusiasm for, I am absolutely terrible at.  You’d think rolling a ball in a straight line would be easy, but it ain’t.  I did, however, win $1 during the aptly-named “Strike it Rich” competition held Saturday nights at that bowling alley, which was enough to make me smile but not quite enough to get a pack of gum from the vending machine.

Back in Gainesville now, and back to the blog.

Before we left, I whipped up some stuffed peppers, which is a great thing to make if you’ve got a few peppers around and don’t want to the grocery store.  Really, you can stuff them with anything you’d like.  I used a hefty amount of yellow rice, but brown rice works great as well – some people even like to use quinoa or cousous.  Feel free to experiment.

Also, this particular recipe made more stuffing than I could fit in four peppers.  I could have used more peppers, but decided instead to save the extra stuffing to make a burrito the next day – which was delicious.

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 large bell peppers of any color
  • 3 cups cooked rice (I used yellow rice, but brown is good as well)
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz crushed tomato (jarred or fresh tomatoes crushed by hand)
  • 1 cup cheese (Mexican blends are good, but whatever you have handy works)
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapenos (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Serve with salsa and sour cream
  • 1/2 packet or a few shakes of fajita seasoning (optional)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside.

Step 2) Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and white stuff.  They need to be softened before being stuffed, so either steam them for a few minutes or boil them (which I did) for about 8 minutes.  You want them “soft” but not “floppy.”  They should still stand up by themselves and hold their shape, but they shouldn’t be “crisp.”  That’s the best I can do – use your judgement :)

Step 3) In a small fry pan, sautee the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until the onions become translucent.

Step 4) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, sauteed onions, garlic, jalapenos, black beans, corn, fajita seasoning and 1/2 a cup of cheese.  Stir it up good.  This is your filling.

stuffed pepper filling

Filling for the peppers | Photo by HFLP

Step 5) When the peppers are softened, stand them upright in a baking dish and fill them with stuffing mixture and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

uncooked stuffed peppers

Pre-cheese, pre-oven

Step 6) Pour a 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the dish around the peppers (this creates a steamy environment and prevents the peppers from browning too much).

Step 7) Cover with foil, but make sure not to let the foil sit on top of the peppers or your cheese will melt to the foil.  Set the oven to 350 degrees, and bake covered for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown.

stuffed peppers in the oven

Vegetarian stuffed peppers | Photo by HFLP

The water in the bottom of the dish should have cooked off, and the peppers should be tender but not mushy.  Serve with a little sour cream and salsa, or hot sauce if the jalapenos didn’t do the trick.

Thanks for reading!

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