A great recipe for stuffed peppers that adds a colourful and appetising dish to the table!
4-6 sweet bell peppers (ie red, yellow, orange peppers) depending on their size
400g cooked brown rice (equivalent to approx. one mug of dried brown rice)
12-16 spring onions, chopped
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra for oiling the baking dish/tin and for brushing onto the peppers before baking
300g (10 oz) chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tablespoons of soya sauce
150g (5 oz) walnuts, chopped
200g (7oz) pitted dates, chopped
500ml vegetable stock (about 3/4 pint) made with one vegetable stock cube - ensure the vegetable stock cube vegan friendly (see note below and see Tips)
200g (7 oz) fresh spinach leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, chopped
Homemade tomato sauce (see recipes) to serve (about 1/2-1 pint for 4 peppers), depending on how much sauce you prefer.
Note - vegan friendly vegetable stock: According to Vegan Store Cupboard, the following products are vegan friendly:
Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes, Kallo Yeast Free Stock Cubes, Kallo Low Salt Stock Cubes.
Marigold Organic Yeast Free Vegetable Bouillon Cubes
Sainsbury's Basics Vegetable Stock Cubes.
Cook the brown rice and set aside. If you have time, you can prepare it earlier and keep it in the fridge - or if you are looking for a short cut, you can use a packet of microwaveable rice in a packet but you may need to use 2 packets, if you're cooking for 4.
Heat the olive oil gently in a sauteuse or heavy based pan, and add the chopped spring onions. Fry gently until softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic - and season with salt. Fry gently until softened.
Add the soya sauce, chopped walnuts, chopped dates, vegetable stock, paprika and spinach leaves. Cover, and heat gently until the spinach has sweated down.
Add the cooked brown rice and mix well with a wooden spoon. You should have a moist but not soup-like mixture. Add a little more water if it seems too dry, and simmer any excess water off if it seems too soup-like.
Add the chopped basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In the meantime, prepare the bell peppers. Cut a circle in the top of each pepper, so that you cut out the 'cap' of each pepper. Cut off any attached seeds. De-seed the pepper inside.
Using a teaspoon fill each pepper up to the rim with the rice mixture. You may have some rice mixture leftover - you can serve this alongside the peppers.
Stand the stuffed peppers upright in a lightly oiled baking tray or dish and put the caps back onto the top of each pepper. Brush each pepper lightly with olive oil.
Bake in the oven uncovered at about 220C (200C Fan) or Gas Mark 6 for about 20-25 minutes until the peppers are cooked and tender, but are not overly soft. If they are overcooked they will collapse - but they will still taste good!
When cooked serve with the hot tomato sauce. If there is leftover rice, you can serve this on the side.
Recipe by Caroline Thompson