Sunday, October 20, 2013

Recipe for Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, and Feta

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, and Feta
You won't miss the meat in these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, and Feta!

Recently on the Kalyn's Kitchen Facebook page a reader asked whether I had a stuffed pepper recipe that was vegetarian.  That inquiry started the idea of vegetarian stuffed peppers swirling around in my mind, and this week when I got together with Jake for a day of cooking, we came up with these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, and Feta. The peppers are stuffed with a mixture of sauteed onion, chopped peppers and chopped mushrooms that's seasoned with Greek Seasoning and then combined with crumbled Feta.  We loved everything about this recipe, and if  you can't eat six peppers at once, take some out of the oven a little sooner and freeze for a quick dinner later.

I'd love a vegetarian stuffed pepper like this for a tasty Meatless Monday dinner, but this could also be an all-in-one side dish for most any type of main course.  (You can find more meatless recipes by clicking the label Meatless Monday anywhere you see it on the blog, and you also might like to see my Meatless Monday Pinterest Board, where there are meatless recipes by food bloggers from all over the web.)

I cooked the brown rice in my much beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker, but if you don't have a rice cooker just follow package directions to get 2 cups of cooked brown rice.

You need some chopped pepper for the filling, so don't feel bad about barely slicing off the bottom (to make the peppers stand up straight) and slicing off the top.  (You can use any color of peppers, but I bought a six-pack of multi-colored peppers from Costco.)

Clean out the seeds and inner membranes of the peppers and stand them up in a baking dish that you've sprayed with non-stick spray.  (I like the finished peppers to still retain a tiny bit of crispness so I've been stuffing them raw for years now.)

Chop up 12 ounces of mushrooms.  (I used brown Crimini mushrooms, which I think are especially flavorful.)

Also finely chop the pepper tops and bottoms and one small onion.

Saute the onions and peppers for a few minutes and remove to a plate.

Then saute the chopped mushrooms until they're starting to brown (and all liquid has evaporated.

Add the onions and peppers to the mushrooms, add the Greek Seasoning and black pepper to taste and cook about a minute more.

Turn off heat and mix in the cooked brown rice and 1 cup of crumbled Feta.

Stuff the filling into the peppers, pressing it down with a spoon.  (Remove one pepper at a time and hold it over the frying pan to stuff to keep the baking dish clean!)

Cover the baking dish with foil and cook 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 375F/190C.

Then put about 2 tsp. crumbled Feta on the top of each pepper, pressing it down so it will stay.

Bake 20-30 minutes more uncovered, until the Feta is melted and starting to slightly brown and the peppers are done to your liking.  Serve hot and enjoy!


Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, and Feta
(Makes 6 servings (one whole pepper) or 12 side-dish servings (1/2 pepper); cooked peppers can be frozen but I would cook them slightly less if you're going to freeze.  This recipe created by Kalyn and Jake with a nudge from a Kalyn's Kitchen reader.)

Ingredients:
6 fresh bell peppers, any color (bottoms and tops sliced off)
2 cups cooked brown rice (I like Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
2 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1 onion, finely chopped
12 oz. mushrooms, chopped small (I used brown Crimini mushrooms, also called Baby Bellas)
2-3 tsp. Greek Seasoning (any brand, but I love Greektown Billygoat Seasoning from The Spice House)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup + 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Instructions:
Follow package directions to cook 2 cups brown rice.  (I use Uncle Ben's Brown Rice which I cook in my Zojirushi Rice Cooker.  (I always cook the maximum amount the rice cooker will hold and just freeze any extra brown rice to use later.)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Choose the smallest possible baking dish that will hold all six peppers standing up, and spray with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.  Cut off the bottoms of the peppers, cutting off as little as possible to make a flat bottom so the peppers will stand up.  (Don't worry if it leaves a small hole.)  Slice off the tops of the peppers, cutting off just enough to cut away the stem part.  Remove any seeds and membranes from inside the peppers and stand them up in baking dish.

Finely chop the pepper tops and bottoms that you sliced off, as well as the onion.  Wash mushrooms if needed, and chop into pieces just slightly larger than you chopped the peppers and onions.

Heat 1 tsp. of oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add onions and peppers, and saute over medium-high heat until they're barely starting to soften, about 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate, add 1 tsp. more oil to pan, add chopped mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid, the liquid has evaporated, and mushrooms are barely starting to brown, about 6 minutes.

Put the sauteed onions and peppers back into the pan with the mushrooms, add the Greek Seasoning and black pepper to taste, and cook 1 minute more.  Stir in the cooked rice and add 1 cup of the crumbled Feta and gently combine.  One at a time, hold each pepper over the frying pan and fill with the stuffing, pressing it down as much as you can so it's tightly packed.  (We didn't have any extra stuffing, but if you do, just cook it along with the peppers either in the same dish or in a small casserole dish.)  When all peppers are stuffed, cover the baking dish with foil (or a lid if it has one) and cook 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove dish from the oven and remove the foil.  Put 2 tsp. crumbled Feta on the top of each pepper, pressing it down a little if needed to get it to stick.  Bake 20-30 minutes more, until the Feta is starting to melt and lightly brown and peppers are done to your liking.  Serve hot and enjoy!

If you won't be eating all six peppers at once, take some out of the oven a little sooner and freeze in an air-tight container to be reheated for a quick dinner later.  For best results, let frozen peppers thaw in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave or in the oven in a small baking dish covered with foil.

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South Beach Suggestions: 
Peppers, onions, mushrooms, brown rice, and Feta cheese are all wonderfully low-glycemic ingredients, but this recipe is limited to Phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet because of the rice.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Meatless Ideas with Peppers:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Vegetarian Greek Lentil Casserole with Bell Peppers and Feta ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Tofu and Pepper Vegetarian Tacos ~ Herbivoracious
Vegan Lentil Chili with Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, and Green Onion ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Oven-Roasted Pepper and Gnocchi with Feta Cheese ~ Nami Nami
Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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10 comments:

  1. Thank you! I do love these brightly colored red, orange, and yellow peppers.

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  2. I love stuffed peppers and this version, with it's mediterranean flair, sounds particularly delicious!

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  3. Thanks Joanne, me too. And anything with Feta is something I'll enjoy!

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  4. Hi Kalyn,
    These look amazing. Do you know what is in the Greek seasoning as we don't have that in the UK. Thyme, oregano?

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  5. Sophie, glad you like it. I included a link for Greek Seasoning so you could see the ingredients; just click the link.

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  6. Do you think you could replace the rice with lentils to make it South Beach Phase I approved? Thanks! :)

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  7. I think that's a fantastic idea! I would cook the lentils so they're still a little firm. And remember lentils are a limited food, so use a generous amount of mushrooms.

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  8. I made this for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing!

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