Oven-baked Stuffed Peppers

*This is vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free when made with cashew cream

Ingredients:

·      1.5 cups green cabbage

·      1 onion

·      1 cup raw cashews

·      2 garlic cloves

·      2 large or 3 medium carrots

·      2 stalks of celery

·      ½ cup sun dried tomatoes

·      1 cup broccoli (florets and/or stem diced into small pieces)

·      2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

·      1 Tbsp salt

·      1 tsp pepper

·      6 bell peppers (we prefer red, yellow, or orange)

·      1 cup rice or quinoa (or mix of the two. You want 2 – 3 cups of cooked grains)

·      1 can of beans or 8 oz of dried beans (choose your favorite type)

·      optional: one can of cream of celery or cream of mushroom to substitute for the cream made from the cashews.

 

Directions:

To make the sauce

·      *If you want to skip this step, you can use a can of cream of mushroom or cream of celery in its place.

 

·      Chop 1 cup of packed cabbage and ½ of the onion into chunks.  Add to skillet with a dash of salt and pepper and 2 Tbsp of water.  Saute until tender.   If you’d prefer to use cooking oil instead of water, you can do that too.

 

·      Put cashews into Vitamix or similar blender (powerful enough to cream them).  Add enough water to cover chashews.  Add two cloves of garlic.  Mix until smooth.

 

·      When the cabbage and onion mix is ready, add 1/3 of the contents to the Vitamix (and cashew cream) and blend until smooth.  Poor into a bowl and set aside while you prep the peppers and veggies. 

 

·      Put the rest of the onion and cabbage mix into the blender and blend until creamy.  Add a little water if necessary.

 

Prep the peppers and the rice and/or quinoa

·      Make the rice and/or quinoa according to instructions.  I prefer a mix of the two, but I’ve made it with each alone and it is still great.

 

·      Cut the tops off of the peppers by using a small knife (paring knife suggested). Cut in a circle around the stem. Pull the stem out of the pepper.

 

·      Use a spoon or your finger to scrape along the inside of the pepper to remove as much as the inside flesh (the lighter colored stuff that grows toward the center) and the seeds.

 

·      Rinse peppers inside and outside.  Turn upside down to let drain.

 

·      Once drained, put peppers in a baking dish.  You’ll either want a dish or pot with a lid that is oven safe or use aluminum foil to cover dish when you are ready to bake. You can see in my photo that I removed the handles from my dutch oven and cover to make them oven safe.

prepped veggies and pan for stuffed peppers

 

Prep the other veggies

(you want everything to be pretty small.. maybe ¼ inch sized pieces)

·      Peel and chop the carrots

·      Chop the celery

·      Dice the other ½ of the onion

·      Cut sun dried tomatoes into smaller pieces

·      Cut the remaining cabbage into smaller pieces

·      Chop the broccoli into smaller pieces

·      Put all of the veggies into a bowl, add 1 tsp of pepper, 1 Tbsp of salt, and the Italian seasonings.

·      You can add or substitute any vegetables you love 🙂

·      Mix

prepped veggies in bowl for stuffed peppers

Finish the pepper stuffing

·      Add the cooked rice or quinoa to the veggie mix and stir.

·      Add the sauce mix in the bowl (or the cream soup) to the mix and stir.  You may not need all of the sauce.  You want it to be moist, but you don’t want veggie soup.

·      Once it is all mixed, use a spoon to stuff the peppers.  Stuff them until they are full.  Then use the remaining veggie and grain mix to pack in the pan around the veggies.  Often, I use a pan that ends up completely full – in which you can’t even really see the peppers because they are buried in the mix.  If you don’t have enough for that, it is okay.  They will bake just fine without a full pan.

Stuffed uncooked peppers

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

 

While baking the peppers, prep the beans.

·      Cook dry beans according to directions, which means you may be starting this the night before for soaking.    You want them to be soft and ready to eat.

·      If using canned beans, drain the liquid off of them.

·      Add beans to a small saucepan.

·      Add the remaining onion, cabbage puree (and any left over cashew cream if you didn’t use it all)

·      Simmer on low until peppers are finished. 

 

When the peppers are done, you can assemble the plates or let your family and guests do that for themselves.

stuffed baked peppers

The idea is to put a little of the bean mixture on the plate first, then scoop a pepper out of the pan and lay it on top of the beans.  Enjoy!

 

Nearly all of my guests will spoon extra filling on to their plate right away or wait until they finish their first serving and eat more of the stuffing mixture on its own.  It also makes for a great leftover the next day.

pepper and beans on plate

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