Sunday, September 11

Stuffed Bell Peppers & Creamed Kale

One of my favorite childhood dishes is my mom's stuffed bell peppers.  With a mixture of ground beef and rice, tomato sauce and cheese, it's comfort food, for sure.  Over my past 8 years as a vegetarian, only once did I try to make a veggie version of this dish.  My past mistake was the filling of the peppers.  Veggie beef tastes great, but it is not sticky or moist like real ground beef, so some adjustments need to be made.  Finally, today, I took on the challenge to try making stuffed peppers again.

Here is my own recipe for vegetarian stuffed bell peppers:

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 12 oz bag of veggie ground beef (try Morning Star, Boca or Quorn brands)
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Shredded cheese (I used a mix of mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and clean out the insides.  Submerge them fully in boiling water, and boil them for 5 minutes just to soften their skins.  

To make the mixture for the peppers, saute the onions with the veggie ground beef, garlic, and basil.  

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked veggie beef with the rice and mix in the eggs, bread crumbs, 1/2 of the can of tomato sauce, and shredded cheese.  (This is the major difference between the original version and the veggie version of this dish.  I used these ingredients to make the mixture stick together.) 

Stuff the peppers fully with the mixture, then pour the remaining tomato sauce over the peppers.  Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

After the peppers have baked for 45 minutes, remove the cover and add a generous portion of shredded cheese on top of each pepper.

Creamed Kale Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh kale
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper

The most arduous process of making creamed kale is in prepping the kale.  Wash the leaves thoroughly, then cute the spine out of each leaf.  Blanch the leaves for 2 minutes, and submerge in cold water.

Finely chop the kale, then saute the leaves in the butter.  Add 1 cup of heavy cream, and let the kale cook on medium for about 5 minutes.  Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Here are some photos of my end result.  I'm disappointed with the photos, but so thrilled with the taste of these two dishes!  The peppers came out perfectly cooked, and the mixture inside was really flavorful.

Try it!... then let me know what you think.

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