I found this easy stuffed pepper recipe, and thought it would be a great one to share. It mixes some of my favourite recipe elements: fun spices and healthy ingredients. This dish is made with a bit of smoked sausage, but could EASILY be made vegetarian.
This recipe is a little different from most of the stuffed pepper dishes I’ve tried… and I have tried MANY, with varying degrees of success. Most of the dishes rely on a starchy rice filling, bound together with ground meat or egg. Vegetarians get the short end of the stick here, because without the benefit of the ground meat, you have to use more starchy white rice to hold it all together. The result is usually rather bland.
This dish doesn’t require that the filling have any kind of binding, because you only stuff the peppers to serve. It’s mostly for show, and I think it gives you more flexibility in the ingredients for the filling.
This dish can easily be adapted to accommodate any ingredients you have left in your fridge – veggies, meats, herbs, grains. I’ve retained most of the recipe I found (with the source clearly listed, of course!) only changing the technique and ingredients a little bit, to match my preferred method. Where it calls for ‘cajun seasoning’, you can use your favourite cajun blend. I’ve linked to my recipe for cajun seasoning, in case you want to make your own!
I liked the inclusion of brown rice, a bit of quinoa and kale in the dish, to add to the texture and add some nutrients. I actually used a blend of brown and wild rices, and it was fantastic. There is only a bit of sausage in this, and it’s used more for flavour than as a main ingredient. You could easily sauté some mushrooms in place of the sausage and add a bit of smoked paprika to achieve a similar effect. Simple!
The Verdict: This dish was very very simple to make, and looks nice enough to serve to guests! Since I didn’t have to worry about the filling sticking together, I could make it as saucey as I liked and season it any way I liked. The result was a very flavourful and healthy dish.
Cajun Stuffed Peppers
Mildly revised from this recipe on the foodnetwork.com. I didn’t change much, mostly just some of the cooking technique.
To make this vegetarian, just replace the sausage with 1/4 pound of chopped mushrooms and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
- 2/3 cup long-grain brown rice (I actually used a blend of brown and wild rices, and it was fantastic!)
- 1/3 cup quinoa
- 2 large green bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 pound smoked andouille sausage, finely chopped (can substitute other smoked sausage, like chorizo)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- large pinch of allspice (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 1 small bunch kale, stems removed, leaves chopped (about 2-3 cups)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and brown rice and cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
- In the meantime, bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a deep sauté pan. Lay the four bell pepper halves cut-side down. Cover, and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the pepper is tender but not too soft. Remove from pan, and set aside.
- In the same deep sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until softened, then add the sausage. Cook for about 5 minutes, until some of the fat is released from the sausage. Add the garlic, and spices and mix well. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly.
- Mix in the tomatoes and 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low, place the kale on top, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir, add saltand pepper, and simme for about 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low. Stir the rice and quinoa into the sauté pan. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, to allow the juices to absorb into the grains a bit.
- Spoon the grain mixture into the bell pepper halves and plate. Serve immediately.