About a year ago, though, I was given a recipe for vegetarian stuffed peppers by my friend Matt (whose mom teaches the cooking class I went to a while ago), and I was intrigued. I loved his recipe, and since then have played around a few times with different ingredients. Peppers can really be stuffed with any combination of rice, veggies and protein you like, so it's fun to come up with new flavors.
I usually use traditional green bell peppers, but this week I tried using poblano peppers for something different. The result was a tasty little cross between a stuffed pepper and a chili relleno. One pepper (or two if you're Matt's size) easily makes a meal if you serve it with a side green salad, so a small batch of these guys meant dinner and lunch the next day for both of us. That's my kind of meal. :)
Makes 5 peppers
5 large poblano peppers
1 cup spicy yellow rice (I use Carolina or brown rice with cumin and cayenne pepper to taste)
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups frozen zucchini chunks, thawed
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups Morningstar Farms soy crumbles (or substitute ground beef)
1/2 - 3/4 cup canned tomato sauce (not marinara, I use Tuttorosso)
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepperDash of hot sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of water to boil; cut the tops off the peppers and scoop out the insides, then par-boil them for about 2 minutes, just until they start to soften. Drain and set aside.
Bring the water to a boil, then add the rice and cook for about 20 minutes, until all water is absorbed and rice is cooked through. Transfer the rice to a large bowl and add the zucchini, 3 oz. of the cheese, soy crumbles/ground beef, tomato sauce, cumin, garlic, cayenne, hot sauce and salt and pepper. Mix well. Stuff the mixture into the par-boiled peppers.
Set the peppers into a small baking dish so they are tightly packed (they should all be touching). Sprinkle with remaining 1 oz. cheddar cheese, then bake uncovered for about 40 minutes until cheese is bubbly.