I had no idea how nutritious red peppers are! They are an excellent source of vitamins C and A and they contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals (bad things) that cause some types of cancers and heart disease. Surprisingly, red peppers contain almost three times the amount of vitamin C as green peppers. Poor green peppers, they just aren’t up to snuff.
Traditionally, stuffed peppers are made with chop meat. I do make the meat version at times, however, I like to keep things on the healthy side over here, so I try to make it with mostly veggies now, or sometimes I will add some ground turkey. All versions are delicious. I like to bring a stuffed pepper with me to work for lunch, and since I make 4 or 5 of them I eat one a day, everyday for lunch that week. And NO, I don’t get sick of it! They are so delicious, healthy and filling. A complete meal stuffed inside a nutritionally packed red pepper. What more could I ask for?
You will need…
4 large red peppers
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 large zucchini, small dice
1 large yellow squash, small dice
1 large onion
1 small container crimini mushrooms, small dice
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed up
1/2 cup chopped baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
pinch dried oregano
In a skillet over medium heat coat pan with some olive oil. Saute the zucchini, squash, onion and mushrooms until slightly softened, roughly 5 minutes. Add grated garlic, spinach, oregano and pepperoncino and some salt & pepper. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
While the filling is simmering away, carefully cut out the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs from the inside of the pepper. It helps to have small hands! I usually discard the tops, but once or twice I did keep them and put them back on top of the peppers for decoration, like little hats. Up to you.
Once the filling mixture has cooked for awhile, add all the brown rice and parsley and stir well. Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Mix well again. I’ll tell you, this sauce (minus the rice) would be perfect over some pasta! Here’s how things should be looking at this point.
Now for the fun part…stuffing! I love stuffing these guys. I use a teaspoon for this. Basically just stuff the filling mixture into each pepper, pressing the filling down into the bottom of the pepper. Fill them way up to the top. Just like this…
In the bottom of a baking dish, I put some water and oil (and some tomato sauce if I have some left over) to keep things moist. Arrange the now stuffed peppers in the baking dish and sprinkle the tops of the peppers with some olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 – 60 minutes, or until the peppers have become slightly wrinkly and soft. I prefer my peppers to still have a slight bite to them. Some people like to cook them alot until they are very mushy, again – up to you. As I said, I like mine with a bite, not too mushy.
Get stuffing people!