Stuffed Peppers with Rice is a great way to use the gorgeous, colourful peppers availab...' />

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Stuffed Peppers Two Ways

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Stuffed Peppers with Rice is a great way to use the gorgeous, colourful peppers available right now. But I couldn’t stop there. I tried a second filling, Italian Sausage and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, but I also filled zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. The variations are endless and I liked every one I made.

 

I remembered the first stuffed zucchini recipe I made as a young cook. It was stuffed with meat and topped with a velvety white sauce. Since I always love sauce I topped some of my stuffed vegetables with white sauce and some with a homemade rose sauce. The recipe I am sharing here should be seen as a starting point, a suggestion to use your favourite produce, stuff it and top it however you like.

 

Colourful Stuffed Peppers with rice filling.
Colourful Stuffed Peppers -photo credit Jim Little

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A Seasonal Strategy

What I mean by a seasonal strategy is to intentionally cook with fruits and vegetables when they are at their best. Plan meals that use produce in season and that will automatically add variety to the meals you serve. Sure, I buy tomatoes in winter and lemons whenever I want them but as a general rule I chose recipes that use produce at its’ peak. Right now all kinds of peppers are at the top of the list.

 

My son reminded me that not everyone knows what fruits and vegetables are in season. Yes, with so much choice at the grocery store how would you even know there was such a thing. But some of those vegetables travel a very long way to get there and suffer from the time that takes. The most obvious sign of what‘s in season is what looks best. The displays are prominent, usually big and they may include varieties you’ve never seen. Peppers right now are in the colours of the rainbow as well as shapes and sizes you don’t see during the rest of the year. Go and buy some right away.

 

Filling For Stuffed Peppers/Vegetables

This filling is simply made by cooking the rice in a pan after sautéing a bit of onion, carrot and celery. For the quinoa filling recipe I sautéed the same vegetables and simply folded in some already cooked quinoa. Both methods worked well. 

 

Add some meat to turn stuffed peppers into a main course you’ll love. I tried ground turkey one night and Italian sausage another. The Italian theme inspired me to top some of the vegetables with a homemade rose sauce I had leftover in the fridge.

 

The Sauce

No sauce is needed but it adds another element to the dish. I’m a sauce person so I made a basic white sauce (from my Mac and Cheese recipe, minus the cheese). It adds richness to the meat mixture that I love. In your kitchen you make what your family loves.

 

 Basic White Sauce

2 Tbsp butter
1- 1½ Tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
1 cup milk or cream

In saucepan melt butter. Add cornstarch, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour in 1/3 of the milk. Stir until thickened. Add the next 1/3, thicken again and then the final 1/3. Stir until sauce is thick and smooth.

 

KITCHEN TIP – Attach this recipe to your container of cornstarch or tape it inside the cupboard door. I’ve got a cryptic version of this recipe handwritten on my cornstarch container. That’s how I memorized it but I still check it just to be sure.

zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes stuffed with Quinoa and Italian Sausage
Quinoa and Italian Sausage Stuffed Vegetables -photo credit Jim Little

 

Get The Tools

When I was hollowing out vegetables and cutting peppers I was using a good Chef’s knife and a sturdy cutting board. But two tools I often use to hollow out squash, including a Halloween pumpkin, are my grapefruit knife and grapefruit spoon. They both have a serrated edge that catches the sides of the squash a little better than anything else. If you’ve got these tools try them.

 

So whether you find your peppers or zucchini at a Farmer’s Market, the grocery store or a friends’ garden this is the time to cook with them. Let me know in the comments below what you tried.


More Recipes To Fill Peppers

Fragrant Saffron Rice

A dish of fragrant Saffron Rice
Fragrant Saffron Rice -photo credit Jim Little

Kids might love Taco Filled Peppers using this filling from Turkey Tacos with cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

Gluten free turkey tacos made with homemade corn tortillas lined up in taco holders.
Homemade Turkey Tacos -photo credit Jim Little

 

Ingredients

VEGETABLES
6-8 bell peppers, halved and seeded
small zucchini, eggplant or tomatoes, hollowed out (finely chop the inside of the vegetables and reserve)
RICE FILLING
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups GF chicken stock
½-1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
QUINOA ITALIAN SAUSAGE FILLING
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped carrot
1 hot Italian sausage, casing removed (4 oz)
2 cups cooked quinoa
½-1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
OPTIONAL –white sauce, tomato sauce or rose sauce

Directions

1
RICE FILLING
2
Heat oil and butter in saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
3
Add rice and stir until grains are coated with oil.
4
Add chicken stock and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
5
Prepare vegetables while rice is cooking.
6
QUINOA ITALIAN SAUSAGE FILLING
7
Heat oil and butter in saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
8
Add Italian sausage and any filling removed from zucchini, eggplant or tomatoes. Stir breaking up meat until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
9
When sausage is cooked remove from heat. Stir in cooked quinoa.
10
Spoon mixture into prepared vegetables.
11
BAKING
12
Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish large enough to hold the peppers/vegetables.
13
Place peppers/vegetables in baking dish cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
14
Bake empty for 15 minutes.
15
Remove from oven and spoon filling into vegetables. Cover with foil.
16
Return to oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until vegetables are soft.
17
SERVING – Top with white sauce, tomato sauce or rose sauce as desired.

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