The Best Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed bell peppers are a total comfort food for me. My mom used to make them all the time when I was younger and I have always loved them. About 5 years ago, after I had transitioned to a whole foods plant-based diet, I "veganized" this recipe + used rice with a mix of mushrooms, zucchini + carrots in place of the meat. Since then, I have transitioned to being grain-free as well, so when I had a craving for stuffed bell peppers last fall, I used cauliflower in place of the rice ;)
It took a few tries to get this recipe to where I wanted it to be. My mom actually said she liked this BETTER than the way she used to make it (with meat)!
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do + I hope it brings you comfort on chilly nights! This may not be the prettiest recipe, but I promise it's delicious.
The Best Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe:
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
6 bell peppers, assorted colors (I use 2 red, 2 yellow + 2 orange)
3 celery stalks
8 oz. crimini mushrooms
2 yellow onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
24 oz. jar pureed tomatoes (I use Bionaturae, it has zero preservatives + no salt)
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
1 tsp fresh oregano + thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
TIP: Use a dish towel to squeeze the riced cauliflower to remove excess moisture. This keeps the dish from getting too watery.
Add cauliflower florets, lime juice + a handful of parsley to a food processor to make cauliflower rice. Pulse until there are no large chunks of cauliflower.
Water sauté onions + celery in a large pan for 5 minutes. (It's best to add a little water at a time to prevent burning the onions)
Add garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, 1 tablespoon of dried Italian herbs, chopped parsley, oregano + thyme to sauté pan (reserve 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley for serving). Sauté over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat + transfer to a large mixing bowl.
*Carefully* add cauliflower rice to the same sauté pan. Sauté over low heat for about 5 minutes or just until it is warmed through. Transfer to the large mixing bowl of veggies. Stir to combine.
Blanche peppers in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes then remove. Place into a deep baking dish then stuff with cauliflower rice + veggie mixture (pat the filling down as you fill each pepper, so they are stuffed to the brim). Add the rest of the filling around the peppers.
Pour pureed tomatoes into a sauce pan. Add 1 tablespoon Italian herbs + honey. Stir until combined + bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes (if you have more time, you can let it simmer for longer). This gives the pureed tomatoes extra flavor. Remove from heat + pour sauce over stuffed peppers until everything is covered. Bake at 350F for 1 hour, until the filling is bubbling. To serve, cut open each pepper once it is plated + top with fresh parsley.
*NOT the greatest picture, but I promise, these stuffed peppers taste much better than this photo shows!