Monday, 22 November 2010

My first stuffed peppers - Latin style.

I can't remember if I mentioned this, and I can't be bothered to look it up. Every time there's a thread on the PPK along the lines of "What will I be served at this omni event?", someone always suggests stuffed peppers. It seems to be a thing for some people that they're always served stuffed peppers. Well, I have never been served a stuffed pepper. Even when I was omni, I never ate a stuffed pepper, not even chiles rellenos.

Truth be told, I didn't like bell peppers for a long damn time, so it's kinda understandable. But I've liked bell peppers long enough, and have been vegan long enough, to have been served this supposedly omnipresent omni stand-by. But no, no omni (or vegetarian, or vegan, for that matter) has ever offered me a stuffed pepper.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to take matters into my own hands. But having never been served a stuffed pepper, I didn't know what I should stuff in my peppers. So I asked the PPK. I ended up not using any of their suggestions, mostly because they were suggesting quinoa (I have a sensitivity) and Daiya (not available in the UK). But they did give me ideas.

There were two things that I felt my stuffed peppers needed. First, I had a block of tempeh that I bought on a whim and then didn't know what to do with, so I wanted to use that. Second, I knew I wanted to use brown rice as a grain. For some reason, I decided that I would use recipes from Viva Vegan!. This is what I came up with:

Latin Stuffed Peppers


one recipe Yellow Rice with Garlic made with brown rice
one recipe Tempeh Asado (see below)
one recipe Simple Latin Tomato Sauce
4 bell peppers (green or red, however you roll), cleaned, halved, and de-seeded
mozzarella-style cheeze


The best way to do this is to make the tempeh ahead of time so it can marinate for a while. I suggest making it the night before (which I didn't do), though you can probably make it no less than 30 minutes before assembly. Follow the recipe for Tempeh Asado, with the exception that you chop your tempeh roughly into crumbles to put in the marinade, then let sit for 30 minutes or more.

For the rice, you could also make that the night before. You can do brown or white rice - use about 2 1/3 c water if you do brown (rather than the 1 2/3 c called for in the recipe).

Make the tomato sauce while your oven pre-heats to 375F / 190C, after the rice is relatively cool (if you made it the same night). While the sauce simmers, you can clean et al your peppers and make the stuffing. Combine the tempeh with about 2 cups of rice (I just eyeballed it, but I didn't use all the rice I made), then add in about a cup of shredded mozzarella (or whatever cheeze you prefer). At this point, you should also line a lasagna pan with foil.

When your sauce is done, coat the bottom of your pan with a thin layer of sauce. Put the peppers cut side up in the sauce. Scoop about 1/4 c (more or less, depending on the size of your pepper) into each halved pepper. Spoon the rest of the sauce over the stuffed peppers. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the peppers are relatively soft. Sprinkle additional cheeze over the peppers and bake for another 5 minutes or until melty.

You might want to serve these with something green like the Swiss Chard with Capers or the Brazilian Shredded Kale, but you've basically got everything you need - veg, protein, whole grains, and deliciousness (that's a vital nutrient, right?).

In case you couldn't guess, I loved my first stuffed pepper. I don't know how often I'll make them, though, because Mike didn't. Oh well, I can always invite friends over.

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