Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers (Recipe)

No, that’s not peppers stuffed with vegetarians. It’s peppers not-stuffed with meat… or peppers stuffed with not-meat. (One of those.)

Remember the days when I used to write funny pieces on Friday—or at least attempts at humor—rather than copying out of my recipe book? Yeah, those were good times, weren’t they. But I posted a photo of this one up on my personal Facebook profile, and my Facebook friends were so enthralled that now I am compelled to afflict you with yet another recipe involving beans and/or rice.

This one is actually exceedingly simple, and still I managed to screw it up. (So you might want to use a dose of caution and common sense if you try this.) It’s roasted peppers stuffed with spanish rice. I made it up myself! And still, it tastes pretty good. (Imagine that.) For the benefit of my Facebook friends, who want the recipe, I’ll explain to you what I think I ought to have done, and how I screwed it up in real life.

Let’s start with what I should have done. (So be aware that I haven’t actually tried this recipe yet, as written.)

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

1 chopped onion
olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 large can (28 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 cube chicken bouillon (kosher parve)

1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
hot sauce (if you like, to taste)

2 cups (dry) white rice

4 large green bell peppers

tomato sauce (optional)
grated cheese (optional)
panko bread crumbs (optional)

Set the oven for 350°F.

Sweat the onion for 2-3 minutes in a little olive oil in an oven-safe pot (4 quart). Add the garlic and sweat for an additional minute or two, until the onion softens a little. Be careful not to let them brown or burn.

Add the tomatoes (with the liquid), the water, and the bouillon cube. Add the cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Heat to a boil, stirring until the bouillon cube is dissolved. Add hot sauce and salt (and adjust spices) to taste. (Remember that this is the liquid for the rice, so it should be a little on the salty side.)

Add the rice. Stir to combine. Bring back to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, open and clean the green peppers.

When the rice is done, stuff the peppers with the rice. Place in a roasting pan or cookie sheet, and cover with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until done.

If desired, remove the foil and top with sauce, cheese, and/or bread crumbs, for the last 5 minutes.

Okay… What I did: Firstly, I forgot to sweat the onions. So I added them to the tomatoes and simmered, which evaporated some of the liquid and made the rice probably a little dryer than it would have been otherwise. (But it was still tender, just a little on the dry side, and we tend to like our rice mushy and sticky.)

I also forgot to mince the garlic, so I threw in a dash of garlic powder at the last minute. Oy.

Feel free to adjust the spices, as I did. In fact, I didn’t even think about how much I wanted, just dumped a little of each in… and boy was it spicy! By the time the rice was cooked in, though, the rice had subdued the heat substantially.

You will have some rice left over, which won’t fit into the peppers, even if you choose quite large peppers, as we did… giant freaks of nature. Left-over rice is good, because it’s yummy and also makes great leftovers.

One other thing I did: I roasted the peppers uncovered, without any sauce or cheese or anything on top, and the rice at the top dried out and browned. And it was quite crunchy. Not inedible, but there’s gotta be a better solution out there somewhere.

So there you have it. If you try this recipe or anything like it, I’d love to hear about your experiences.