This flavorful, meatless stuffing can be used to fill a variety of vegetables including eggplant, zucchini or bell peppers. Today we will be using a brown rice blend as a base for the stuffing, but you could also use farro, quinoa or couscous. Use bell peppers of different colors for increased eye appeal and enhanced nutrition, as each color represents unique phytonutrients. Bell peppers are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin A (carotenoids) and flavonoids.
- 3 bell peppers, any color; sliced vertically and seeded
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- ¾ cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp garlic, chopped
- ¾ cup zucchini, diced (or eggplant)
- 1 cup brown rice blend, cooked
- 1 (8-oz can) diced tomatoes, drained, preferably no salt added
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning mix
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/8 tsp salt, or to taste freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, optional; fresh parsley or basil, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place pepper halves face down in a 9”x13” baking pan. Bake in the oven until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- While the peppers are cooking, prepare the stuffing. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, mushrooms, zucchini and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms are golden brown.
- Add the rice, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and stir in the tomato paste. Remove from the heat.
- Spoon about ½ cup stuffing mixture into each cooked pepper half.
- Top with Parmesan cheese, if using. Cover with foil and bake until the peppers are heated through, about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley (or basil) and serve.
Adapted from Food Network chef Robert Irvine