Stuffed Peppers

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Easy, belly-filling deliciousness. I’ve been wanting to try making vegan stuffed peppers for a while, and I’m so glad I finally did. Easy, lots of room for varying the ingredients, and super comfort food. It was cold and rainy here tonight, so this was a perfect way to end the day.

4 small green peppers, tops removed, seeds and membranes removed
2 Tbs olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-oz package Smart Ground, original flavor (soy-based ground beef substitute)
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup marinara sauce
Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella-style almond cheese, or Daiya

Preheat over to 350.

Drop the seeded peppers in boiling water (parboil) for 2 minutes. Remove and drain.

For the filling, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add celery and onions and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add Smart Ground and vegan Worcestershire and sauté 2–3 minutes. Add rice, broth, and marinara sauce and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and remove from heat.

Place parboiled peppers in a baking dish (slice a bit off the bottom if you need to, to make the peppers balanced so they will stand up in the pan). Spoon filling into peppers and top with grated cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil (tent the foil so it doesn’t touch the cheese) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.

Try variations of the filling. You could substitute quinoa or barley for the rice, or mix both. Add fresh herbs, or sautéed mushrooms, or toasted pine nuts. You could use vegan sausage (such as Field Roast) instead of the Smart Ground. Or make it southwestern by adding black beans and corn and a little cumin and chili powder. You could top with buttered (Earth-Balanced) bread crumbs instead of cheese. You could even use the filling to stuff a different veggie—zucchini, delicata squash.

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