Stuffed peppers have a very long history in my family. Both of my grandmothers have been making them. My father considers himself a pro. I’ve seen them cooked, baked, stewed, steamed and boiled. Stuffed with rice, millet, buckwheat groats. Covered with bright red tomato sauce, topped with braised mushrooms or crispy fried onion. I’ve seen them overcooked, undercooked, burned. They’ve been served for casual lunches, Sunday dinners, consumed as a snack and, if you’re my dad (who is a hardcore, old generation-eater) even for breakfast.
So yeah, what I’m trying to say here is that stuffed peppers are not a dish anymore. They’re an institution.
Which is exactly why I felt a little bit anxious when preparing them for dinner the other day… No, wait. I was actually petrified. Because with my own way of stuffing bell peppers, I’m both, a rookie and a rebel. There’s no rich sauces here. No long periods of stewing, broiling and boiling. And everything here is vegan (but you obviously can replace the vegan feta cheese with a regular one). So in the end, despite my fear of failing my guests’ expectations and betraying the family tradition, these peppers turn out to be delicious, nutritious and so easy to make. They’re very and refreshing, and the Kalamata olives combined with a bunch of different herbs give them this Mediterranean flavor, that will go wonderfully with your summery dinners.
- 3 bell peppers (red, green, yellow or mixed), halved
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bag white/wholegrain rice
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 small sweet white onion
- 1 medium tomato
- 1/2 cup (vegan) feta cheese, crumbled
- 5 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
Halve the peppers, scooping out all the seeds. Toss peppers with olive oil, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for 20-25 minutes (till they get soft and begin to char).
Once the peppers are in the oven, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rice accordingly to the instructions on a packaging and drain well.
Meanwhile, dice your tomato and onion. On a pan, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil and throw the onions in. When they’re soft and golden, add the tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes.
Pit the olives and cut them into smaller pieces.
Now make the stuffing, combining onion&tomato mix with rice, olives, chili flakes and herbs.
Finally stuff the peppers, drizzle with lemon and/or lime juice and top with crushed (vegan) feta cheese. Serve warm or cold, preferably with a glass of good white wine!