So, I want to tell you there is no meat in here.
THERE IS NO MEAT IN HERE.
I needed to say it like that because saying “vegetarian stuffed peppers” makes my silly brain picture giant peppers chock full of meat-averse people and “stuffed vegetarian peppers” clearly are sentient peppers who have chosen a lifestyle of avoiding meat consumption. Good for them. But that’s not what I’m trying to say.
I’m just trying to tell you that these aren’t yo’ gramomma’s stuffed peppers. These peppers are cut in half, roasted, and then topped not with meat, but with wholesome tempeh, brown rice, and a homemade tomato sauce with plenty of fresh basil. And be assured that no vegetarians are harmed in the making of these stuffed peppers.
And psst, friends, I’d like to note that this meal is one of many I did on the fly since writing my last post. I took my advice and there’s been mucho do-age ’round this here house! And I’ve also made a couple crazy things from recipes like MOUSSAKA which, by the way, was SO GOOD, but for the most part I’ve been throwing whatever tickles my fancy at hot pans and ovens with my own mind as my guide. And I’ve had some pretty tasty things to show for it (like the triumphant conquering of Bret’s hatred of okra through the copious use of Indian spices[!!]) and these beautiful roasted and stuffed peppers. Any “just do it” adventures for you this week? You know I would love to hear about them!
Feel free to consider this “recipe” more of an outline with instructions. I don’t know how many stuffed peppers you want to make–you do. I’ll just tell you how I did mine. This amount of stuffed pepperness fed two big people.
Roasted Stuffed Peppers
inspired by this recipe
2 bell peppers, any color
1 scant cup cooked brown rice
4 ounches tempeh, crumbled
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
fresh or dried herbs (for use in the sauce and on top as garnish)
salt and pepper
melty cheese for the toppins (or a vegan substitute, if you’re into that)
Preheat oven to 400.
Get started makin’ you some tomato sauce. Warm some olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender. Add the tomatoes and any seasonings you wish. I used plenty of fresh basil and a bit of dried parsley and oregano. Let sauce simmer while you prepare the bell peppers.
Cut the bell peppers in half, tall-ways. Scoop out the seeds and spongey membrane. Reserve for whenever you think pepperseed and membrane pie sounds like a good idea. (Just kidding.) Coat the pepper halves in a tiny bit of olive oil, then place face down on a baking sheet and roast until just tender, maybe about 20 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your peppers. Remove from oven and let cool (enough to handle). Keep oven on.
Brown the tempeh in a skillet with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once the tomato sauce is as you like it, combine the cooked brown rice, crumbled tempeh, and a few generous spoonfuls of the tomato sauce in a large bowl. Mixture should be moist, but not soggy. Taste for seasoning.
Spoon heaping piles of the rice mixture onto the roasted pepper halves, pressing gently to secure the filling. Top each stuffed pepper with another spoonful of tomato sauce and a bit of grated cheese, and set the peppers back onto the baking sheet. Return to oven and bake or broil for a few minutes, until cheese is bubbly and rice mixture is hot throughout. Sprinkle a bit of fresh basil on top before serving.