Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Another beloved comfort food – stuffed peppers – made new.

Didn’t everyone’s grandma have a stuffed pepper recipe? It’s classic peasant food and quite delicious. But this recipe has a few twists and turns. For starters, we use red bell peppers instead of green ones. Red peppers have a sweeter, milder taste than green (but you can certainly use green if you prefer, or both!) We use brown rice instead of white, because of course. And we use faux beef crumbles instead of ground beef, because it’s our goal, and we hope yours, to eat less animal product.

Also, in this recipe I’m going to share my secret for a very quick (20 minute) marinara sauce. Perfect for those times you just don’t have hours to simmer away. One hint: it works best with a Vitamix, as does everything.

(This recipe makes enough sauce and filling for six servings – that’s three peppers cut in half. But you can make fewer peppers and have filling and sauce left over because that’s good too.)

Serving:

6 peppers

Total time:

2 hours

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 package frozen Gardein or Beyond Beef crumbles
  • 2 ¼ cups of cooked brown rice
  • A few glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • (and then later, one cup of the sauce you’re going to make)

For the sauce:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 large (24 oz.) cans whole peeled tomato
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh basil leaves, stems removed, roughly chopped
  • A few glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the peppers:

  • 3 large, lovely, super fresh red bell peppers.

Directions

(Preheat the oven to 350)

  • Get the rice cooking, according to package directions.
  • Prepare the sauce: roughly chop the onion and garlic (no fine dicing needed because you’re going to blend it in the Vitamix) and saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat, for about ten minutes, then at the last moment, add the garlic (make sure it doesn’t burn). 
  • Add both cans of whole peeled tomatoes and their juices. Add the basil, salt and pepper Cover and simmer while you make the filling.
  • Prepare the filling: sauté the onion, celery and carrot in olive oil in a deep pan. Simmer until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper. Then add the frozen faux beef crumbles. Cook over low heat until the crumbles are browned.
  • Add the rice to this mixture, one cup at a time, and stir to incorporate. Let this mixture meld over low heat for a moment, and set aside
  • Prepare the red peppers: Slice in half starting at the stem and slicing downward. Carefully clean out the seeds and cut away the stem. Cut away the white parts. Rinse and set aside.
  • Pour the marinara sauce into your Vitamix and whir it up until it’s silky smooth. Add one cup of the marina to the filling and stir.
  • Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish just the right size for however many peppers you’re using. 
  • Fill each pepper to the brim with the mixture. Press down to get as much as you can inside the pepper. Arrange the stuffed peppers in the casserole dish and ladle lots of sauce on top. 
  • Bake uncovered at 350 for one hour. Then remove from the oven and “baste” – meaning, scoop up the sauce and spoon it over the peppers.
  • Cover the casserole, either with a lid or with tin foil and bake covered, for another 30 minutes.

DELICIOUS I tell you.

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