This recipe is perfect for the peak of summer when we have all colors of bell peppers in season!
You can make these vegetarian, vegan, or use a variety of ground meat to keep these interesting and fun. You can substitute mushrooms and beans and other vegetables for the meat and make these fabulous stuffed peppers in any way that suits you and your family.
Most of the ingredients can be found in the Local Food boxes right now. Plus, this is a fun one for kids to help with!
4 large red, yellow, orange, or green bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb or celery
1 cup finely chopped yellow or candy onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes OR 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot peppers
1 pound ground beef (ground chicken, turkey, lamb, and pork work great too, as well as any kind of sausage)
3/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 pound of fresh tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, white rice, or other grain you like
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley, plus more for garnish if you want
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and carefully remove the core, seeds, and ribs using a paring knife. Arrange the peppers, cut sides up, in a 9-by-13-inch pan or other baking dish where they can all fit snugly.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the fennel/celery and onions and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and hot peppers, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the meat and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until no longer pink.
Add ½ cup wine or broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid in the pan is reduced by about half.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in grains (rice, quinoa, etc), Parmesan, and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Divide the mixture among the peppers. Pour the remaining ¼ cup wine or broth into the bottom of the dish, wrap tightly with foil, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a paring knife easily pierces the peppers. Remove the foil and spoon any juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the pan onto the peppers. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly onto the peppers and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the mozzarella is melted and beginning to brown.
Allow the peppers to cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve hot.
You can also make these and freeze them individually on a baking sheet and store them in bags. Defrost them in the fridge and then bake them, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. A quick weeknight dinner!