Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

So I decided to finally update here! Are you excited?? I do have some photos for this recipe, but I will upload them later.

I wanted to try being vegetarian at least once a week, but the problem is I hate beans and i have a hard time with tofu. I was thinking about what other sources of proteins there are, and the only one I came up with were nuts!

The recipe I came up with is pretty original and incredibly tasty! This is totally vegetarian, but my grandma didn't believe it, since the food was so "hearty." So here is my recipe for vegetarian stuffed bell peppers:

1 onion - diced
1 or 2 cups of fresh walnuts, ground
butter, salt, pepper, spices?
1 egg
1 large bell pepper - cut into quarters lengthwise
a splash of balsamic vinegar

Caramelize the onion with butter, salt, and pepper to taste. I don't usually add anything else, but if you think of something good to add, try it and let me know how it turns out. I use a mortar and pestle to grind the nuts, but I've also found you can use a rolling pin :). Put the nuts in with the onions, and stir a bit, then take off the heat.

While the onion-nut mixture is cooling, prepare the pepper. Cut it lengthwise into 4 "boats." This works well with the big American bell peppers, which tend to be sectioned into 4 anyway. If one is not available, you'll have to tweak the recipe, and probably use a couple peppers. Sprinkle the insides of the peppers with salt and splash them with balsamic vinegar (just a bit).

Add 1 raw egg into the onion-nut mixture and stir it in. This is your stuffing. Spoon it into the pepper-boats and bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture is solid. Yum!

Some ideas for changing things up:
1) Use pecans instead of walnuts. Or other nuts, but I wouldn't get too carried away with trying some. I experimented with peanut dishes and it all just tasted too much like peanut sauce in solid form. Bleh.

2) Add crazy spices, depending on what kind of feel you want the dish to have. For an Indian feel, you could try adding turmeric or something. For a more Middle Eastern feel, maybe mint or parsley. I suspect parsley would be the best.

3) For a more traditional stuffed-pepper taste, you can add rice or tomato sauce. But again, don't get carried away, or you will lose the integrity of the dish. The beauty of the onion-nut stuffing is how solid it becomes with the egg baked in there.

4) For a Mediterranean or Italian feel, try adding pine nuts and sun dried tomato. Yum.

By the way, if anyone has any ideas for veganizing his recipe, I want to hear about it. Vegan cooking is a bit of a stretch for me. I'm not sure what I could use to replace the egg!

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