Stuffed peppers, my friends, that’s what today’s all about.
Making this recipe made me realize that I seriously need to use lemon grass more. It’s so amazing! I’ve only used lemon grass once that I can think of and that was in this stir-fry recipe that was so good by the way, and that wasn’t even fresh it was dried. Other than that I’m pretty certain I’ve only ever tasted it in Trader Joe’s spring rolls when they finally put a store near Nashville that was near enough for us to shop at. Don’t you just love TJ’s? I used their Sprouted California Wild Rice mix for this recipe. Normal wild rice will do just fine. I just think California rice makes it sound more fun.
Oh, speaking of good old Cali, my trip to San Diego is getting really close and my sister and I are super excited. I’d love it if anyone has a recommendation of where we should eat, or fun things we can’t miss. The one time I’ve ever been there aside from airport stops, was when I was too young to remember most of the trip so this will essentially be my first time. How I managed to reach the ripe old age of 21 without visiting is beyond me, especially since my parents are from there. Although, growing up so much nearer to the East coast I can understand. If you have a big family you can probably understand too, why we’d end up driving to Florida for vacations instead of flying the whole gang all the way to California.
Another thing I realized while making this was that I don not use my spiralizer nearly enough and I really need to do some recipes with it soon Stay tuned for some zoodles, spoodles, and anything else that sounds like it came straight out of a Doctor Suess book. I’m thinking a salad with zucchini noodles would be good.
Okay, so for this recipe I honestly got a little lazy and used the cooked rotisserie chicken, which is what I had on hand, but that’s completely optional. You can replace it with beans, tofu, or tempeh. (I’ve actually never had tempeh but I was eying it at the store a few days ago. Is it any good you guys and should I try a recipe with it?) But anyway, without adding chicken this recipe becomes vegetarian and it can easily be completely vegan by using dairy free cheese in place of the cheddar or just skipping it altogether. Oh hey, and it’s gluten free too. Win, win!
My brother-in-law has talking about these stuffed peppers that I made ages ago, and I honestly don’t think I’ve made any others since then. I know, that’s really a shame, right? Well, I’ve definitely been inspired to up my pepper game because these turned out to be a very popular recipe. And can I just say that roasting veggies is basically the best thing ever. You notice this in things like garlic and peppers the most I think, but any veggie that you roast just comes out about ten times more flavorful. It’s pure magic.
My mom actually preferred the eating the rice filling for this recipe on its own and she added some corn to hers. In fact, I was planning to add corn to this but as I was making it I realized the addition of corn what probably push the summery-ness of this recipe too far for February so I changed that plan and added some pepitas instead and it worked really well, however feel free to add corn to these too. I’d recommend changing up the filling as much as you want and use what you like.
Veggies + Lemongrass Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water, lemongrass stalks, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil over medium high heat. Add the rice and reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes until liquid is absorbed. (It won't be quite done, but that's what you want.) Remove lemon grass and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). In a medium to large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the garlic and pepitas. Stir over heat for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant then add the tomato, zucchini, sriracha, partially cooked rice, stock, chicken (or beans) and 1 cup of cheese. Remove from heat and prepare the peppers.
Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds. Divide the rice filling among the peppers and sprinkle the with a handful of pepitas.
Place the peppers in a baking dish (I used a cast iron skillet to bake mine but a glass baking dish works fine) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until peppers are starting to get dark spots and look all crinkled. Remove from oven and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese and serve hot.
I used Trader Joe's blend of red, brown, and black rice, but traditional wild rice will work just fine.