Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vegan Bell Peppers Stuffed With Orzo, Mushrooms, and Kalamata Olives

Whole wheat orzo makes a nice stuffing for these bell peppers.
There are several gluten-free brands of orzo too.

Check out my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen!

It's been a busy 2 days for Doug and I. We harvested over two and a half tons of Pinot noir on our organic vineyard here in Sebastopol. Knowing how little time and energy I'd have to cook after picking all these grapes, I made these stuffed peppers ahead of time for our meals. So if you're looking for a dish to make on Sunday and cook during the work week, try this one out!

Make-ahead meals are important when you
have a busy work week ahead of you!

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Orzo Stuffed Bell Peppers
Vegan, gluten free (with gluten free orzo)
[makes 4 servings]
Requires an 8" x 8" x 4" casserole dish with cover

4 large red bell peppers (4 lobes, 1/2 pound each)
1/2 pound whole wheat or gluten-free orzo
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 pound crimini mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
3 medium tomatoes, diced or one (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 packed cup chopped fresh basil
8 pitted kalamata olives, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds*
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

* non-vegans can substitute low-fat mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the peppers. Select big, square peppers with 4 lobes on the bottom so that they will stand up nicely in the casserole dish. 

Square peppers with 4 lobes.

Fill a medium size pot with water and bring to a boil. You will be using this same pot for blanching the peppers, cooking the pasta, and preparing the filling. I hate dirtying too many pots!

Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Boil, two at a time, for 2 minutes. Remove the peppers, leaving the boiling water in the pot. Drain the peppers well, and place in the deep casserole dish.

Place hollow, blanched peppers in deep casserole dish.

Bring the water back to a boil, add salt, and cook orzo according to directions. Make al dente.

Drain the orzo, rinse, and set aside. Dry the pot with a towel.

Heat olive oil in the pot and cook the onions for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and release moisture, about 5 minutes. Season with black pepper to taste.

Add tomatoes, basil, and kalamata olives to the pot with 1/4 cup of water and stir. If you are using a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes, you do not need to add water. Cook   for a few minutes.

Stir in orzo and mozzarella "cheese." Add salt if needed.

Stuff the peppers with the orzo mixture. You may cover and refrigerate at this point or add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the casserole dish, cover and bake in preheated oven until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and serve.

Each stuffed pepper provides 11 grams of protein
and 12 grams of dietary fiber!

Per serving: 375 calories, 9 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 101 mg omega-3 and 892 mg omega-6 fatty acids*, 0 mg cholesterol, 11 g protein, 103 g carbohydrates, 12 g dietary fiber, and 425 mg sodium.

* Essential fatty acids do not include any contribution from Daiya mozzarella shreds since that information is not available from the manufacturer.

For more delicious recipes, peek inside my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen.


Debra said...

What a fabulous and delicious looking recipe. I am going to make these stuffed bell peppers this weekend. Also, your grapes look beautiful....I want some:)

Stephanie Eastman said...

I absolutely LOVE your blog!! You inspire me on so many levels! This recipe looks simple and savory! I recently found out one of my kids can not have anything with corn in it and Daya, which we love, has 2 ingredients derived from corn. I haven't been able to find any other vegan cheese without corn or gluten, do you have any suggestions? Or, maybe do you know of a recipe to make my own so he can still enjoy homemade pizza? Thanks, Stephanie

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Hi Stephanie,
I'm so glad you are enjoying my blog. Your enthusiasm is an inspiration to me too!

It's a tall order to find a good tasting "cheese" that doesn't contain dairy, gluten or something derived from corn. Quite honestly, I rather eat pizza with lots of veggies, slices of fresh tomatoes, and tomato sauce or vegan pesto than some of the vegan cheese products on the market that don't even melt. I have a recipe in my new eBook that is for a vegan "Parmesan" topping that would be good to sprinkle on a cheese-less pizza.
Take care,