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Forget the Stuffing

by Kimberly Zar

Photography by Kimberly Zar

During Thanksgiving break or anytime near the holidays, it is almost impossible to find space in the kitchen. Family members are constantly hovering, chopping this and mixing that, as they contribute to the massive feast. With all of the hustle and bustle, preparing this simple dish of stuffed peppers before heading to the Thanksgiving feast will make you the hero of the night. It’s an easy, healthy and elegant dish that everyone, especially your holiday guests, will love.

Stuffed peppers originate from all parts of the world, making it one of those dishes that you can customize to your taste. They are extremely versatile and tend to cook well with many different methods. With this dish, it is best to keep it simple to appeal to as many taste buds as possible. You can use a variety of peppers–colored bell peppers, baby peppers and even jalapenos. They can be stuffed with quinoa, crumbled veggie burgers, sautéed onions, eggplant or chickpeas and rice. For added flavor, cook the stuffed peppers in a tangy tomato sauce or vegetable stock.

This vegan-friendly recipe is simpler than any pie you may consider bringing to your Thanksgiving feast. It is also very filling and can warm up any cold fall day. Get cooking!

Easy Vegan Stuffed Peppers

(Serves four)

8 baby peppers/jalapeños or 4 bell peppers

¼ cup chopped onions

1 clove garlic finely minced

2 veggie burger patties

½ cup chopped mushrooms

½ cup chopped eggplant

2 sprigs rosemary finely chopped (or another one of your favorite fall herbs)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

½ cup water (To add more flavor to the peppers, use ½ cup of tomato sauce or vegetable stock, instead of water.)

(Salt & Pepper to taste.)

Optional: cooked rice, quinoa, corn, celery, carrots, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes

In a deep pan, begin your stuffing by sautéing onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When they begin to caramelize, add in veggie burger patties, breaking them up as they brown. Next, add in mushrooms, eggplant and any other vegetables of your choice. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, season with salt, pepper, cumin and rosemary, and transfer it to all to a bowl.

Next, slice off the tops of the peppers and discard the inside seeds and membranes. Generously fill each pepper with the stuffing and place the top back on. Pour water (or tomato sauce/stock) into the pan, arrange the peppers evenly in it, and top it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Let it cook without a lid for about 20 minutes or until the water mostly evaporates and then continue cooking it covered, on low heat for another 20 minutes.

Remove from stove, plate with rice or bread and enjoy your stuffed peppers immediately!

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