Meatless Monday's Stuffed Peppers

The Orginal Stuffed Peppers The one and only Chef Elizabeth Weaver brought many memories back when she noted a recipe of Stuffed Peppers on our menu last week of “all things stuffed” for a Kids Camp.  The peppers I...

The Orginal Stuffed Peppers
The Orginal Stuffed Peppers

The one and only Chef Elizabeth Weaver brought many memories back when she noted a recipe of Stuffed Peppers on our menu last week of “all things stuffed” for a Kids Camp.  The peppers I remember as a kid were stuffed with rice and chopped meat and finished with a tomato sauce.  I also remember that strips of bacon lined the bottom of the Dutch oven before these peppers were stacked in to simmer.  In this new life-style, I am taking some liberties with Elizabeth’s original recipe and creating one that is loaded with veggies over hers that features meat, cheese and bread crumbs. Chef Elizabeth made this original recipe healthier, and I am taking it a step further and making some added substitutions for my Meatless Monday’s campaign.

The Tomatillo Sauce is a MUST!  I might even suggest doubling this recipe!

The Updated Baked Bell Peppers
The Updated Baked Bell Peppers

Baked Bell Peppers – Shared by  Elizabeth Weaver – Elizabeth’s Edibles 

Ingredients:

Quinoa:

  • 1 cups low-sodium chicken broth  -- I would substitute low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup red quinoa – the coloring is key in a récipe like this, look for the red variety!

Peppers:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey – See my suggested substitutions below – Yellow, Red and Orange Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms and roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ginger ale or white wine as a substitute
  • 1 large red bell peppers
  • 1 large green bell peppers
  • 1 cups lightly packed stemmed and julienned kale leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
  • 3/4 cups finely ground panko breadcrumbs, I would omit these breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, I would omit this cheese
  • Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce, recipe follows, for garnish
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish

Roasted tomatillo salsa
Roasted tomatillo salsa

Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium tomatillos (about 4 ounces), husked
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, coarsely chopped and seeds removed
  • 1/2 sweet onion, like Vidallia, rough chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

Peppers:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the quinoa:

  1. Over medium-high heat, bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. As the broth is coming to boil, add the quinoa, then stir and cover.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and steam the quinoa until the grains pop, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

For the peppers:

  1. Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add the turkey, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes, while stirring with a wooden spoon and breaking up the pieces.
  5. Deglaze with the wine.
  6. While the turkey is browning, rinse the peppers and pat dry.
  7. With the pepper lying down on its side, cut off the top and remove the seeds and membrane.
  8. Repeat for the remaining peppers. Leave the stem on the top for presentation. Set aside.

Meatless Monday Substitutions:

  1. Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add the chopped vegetables in yellow, orange and red peppers, mushrooms, onions, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes, after the peppers, onions, mushrooms are sautéed, add in a can of fire roasted tomatoes
  5. Deglaze with the wine.
  6. While the vegetables are browning, rinse the peppers and pat dry.
  7. With the pepper lying down on its side, cut off the top and remove the seeds and membrane.
  8. Repeat for the remaining peppers. Leave the stem on the top for presentation. Set aside.

Once the turkey is browned ( or the veggies) , shut off the heat and fold in the quinoa, kale and pepitas. Mix to incorporate all ingredients thoroughly. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if required.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko and Parmesan. Add a drizzle of olive oil to lightly moisten and season with salt and pepper. Set the peppers on a roasting tray cut-side up and stuff each with about 1/3 cup of filling. Top each pepper half with about 2 tablespoons of panko-Parmesan topping. Cover loosely with foil, place in the center of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. When the peppers are tender and cooked through, remove the foil and turn on the broiler. Cook under the broiler to brown the panko breadcrumbs and crisp up, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to rest before serving.

Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce:

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the tomatillos onto a baking sheet. Toss the tomatillos with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place into the oven. Roast until nicely charred, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the tomatillos, 1/4 cup water,( I suggest using the pan juices from roasting the tomatillos over water)  cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, avocado, garlic, jalapenos, onions, lime juice and cilantro in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Place in the refrigerator and allow the sauce to settle before serving, so it is smooth.

Stuffed Peppers – Healthier version on the Meatless Monday’s  Campaign

Stuffed peppers
Stuffed peppers

 

To present these stuffed peppers, place  about 1/4 cup of Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce on a plate and place the roasted, stuffed pepper halves in the middle of sauce. Garnish with parsley sprigs and / or Cilantro.

*** I might suggest doubling the batch of Tomatillo Salsa as it is an excellent complement to these stuffed peppers.

Enjoy!