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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Brown Rice Stuffed Peppers

Last week, I roasted a huge batch of tomatoes--normal ones for Pasta alla Puttanesca and cherry tomatoes to try out The Second Lunch's Roasted Tomato and Brown Rice Stuffed Peppers. I often find time-consuming recipes that I'd love to try, but having a two year old under my feet prevents me from spending hours in the kitchen, so I've come up with some time-saving techniques to have my cake and eat it too. (This begs the question...do mothers get to eat their cake too??? I'm not so sure about that one yet!) One of those techniques is setting aside some time (perhaps naptime?) to prep ingredients for meals later in the week.

This week, my meal list had two recipes that called for roasted tomatoes. (What can I say? I'm wishing summer into existence!) So, I roasted them all at once, let them cool, and then put them in tupperware in the fridge until I was ready to use them. Looking back, I should have used that time to pre-cook the rice as well...

All of this was in preparation to make these beautiful stuffed peppers:

I grew up eating stuffed bell peppers, which was one of my favorite dishes my mom made, but I was looking for something a little lighter than what my mom made--basically meatloaf with rice in the pepper--and came across this little gem. It uses brown rice, which I've decided to try to put in my diet whenever possible, and packs quite a flavorful punch! I didn't serve this with the yogurt as suggested, but my husband and I both agreed that it would add a nice richness to the dish. The original recipe called for ground turkey, but our family just isn't into ground poultry, so I went the ground beef route. It could also be made into a vegetarian dish very easily. Either way, it's worth a try!

Roasted Tomato and Brown Rice Stuffed Peppers
adapted ever-so-slightly from The Second Lunch

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 lb. cooked ground beef (seasoned well with cumin, salt, pepper, chile powder)
1 onion
olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
a few tablespoons of freshly torn basil
salt and pepper
4 red bell peppers
A good glug of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp each of dried thyme and oregano
Small handful of fresh parsley
olive oil
plain yogurt (optional)

1. While brown rice is cooking, pop a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes in a pan with some olive oil, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and freshly torn basil. Cook at about 300 degrees F, until the rice is done, about 40 minutes. (This can be done ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.)

2. If cooking all at once, right after popping the tomatoes in the oven, start the ground turkey, first sauteeing an onion in a little bit of olive oil for about 10 minutes until soft, and then adding the ground beef, and cooking until well browned. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder to taste.

3. When the rice, tomatoes, and ground beef are done, stir together in a bowl, and add a good glug of balsamic vinegar, and the thyme and oregano.

Assembling the peppers:

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a deep baking tray or roasting tray with foil, and grease lightly.

5. Cut the peppers lengthwise, leaving the stem in place, but scooping out any seeds and excess white bits. For smaller peppers, feel free to lop off the top instead of cutting lengthwise. Place the peppers in the baking tray, season with a little salt, and pour on a little bit of olive oil.

6. Stuff the peppers with the mixture, place in the pan, and cover with foil, cook for 45 minutes at 400 F, uncover and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until top has lightly browned.


Jamie April 22, 2009 at 6:15 AM  

These look really yummy! I end up making too much plain, grilled meat for dinner and this looks like a yummy alternative with either the beef or the turkey.

Jen @ MyKitchenAddiction.com April 22, 2009 at 9:26 AM  

Looks delicious! I love stuffed peppers... Great healthy recipe!

Shannon April 22, 2009 at 1:02 PM  

I have been looking for a good stuffed pepper recipe! My dad always made them with green peppers and hardly seasoned ground beef...in the BBQ. They never really appealed to me because he always used 80/20 ground beef and the amount of fat was just too much.."flavor." Brown rice sounds delicious! I'm going to make these as soon as I can find some peppers on sale!

Chef E April 22, 2009 at 2:24 PM  

Those look great! I also loved them, but mom did not make them often...the only kind of cooked peppers I really liked...now I want one...not sure if you notice but for a while I was stuffing peppers every week :)

Mindy April 22, 2009 at 4:57 PM  

Jamie--This would even be perfect with some of those leftovers from the grill!

Jen--I've been trying to incorporate more healthy recipes into our diet, and this was a keeper.

Shannon--Maybe he got the recipe from Grandma? She made some weird stuff...Weird about the BBQ!

ChefE--Who could forget your PB-stuffed jalepenos?!

Lori April 22, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

I love roasted tomatoes. So simple, but so flavorful. Those peppers look so great. I haven't made stuffed peppers in a while. Thanks for the idea and the recipe!

Dragon April 22, 2009 at 9:23 PM  

These are spectacular!

Sarah April 22, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

These look delicious! Eventually the little one will be in school and your life will resume normalcy!

RecipeGirl April 23, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

Nice! There is really nothing better than roasted tomatoes. This looks like a good lunch too!

Mindy April 23, 2009 at 9:20 AM  

Lori--I hadn't ever roasted tomatoes before this year. I love them so much that they don't normally get as far as the oven!


Sarah--It's good to know that there's light at the end of the tunnel. ;-)

RecipeGirl--They were great for lunch! This made enough for lunch the next day too...

Mom,  April 23, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

They look beautiful!! What a great alternative to an old favorite. I'm really glad you liked my original though!!

jDub April 24, 2009 at 12:36 AM  

i normally do not like bell peppers. but when i went to greece, i couldnt get enough stuffed peppers!! i've been looking for a good recipe to try and i really want to try yours! thanks for sharing!

Diana April 24, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

I've actually never had a stuffed pepper before! Not sure why since I adore roasted red peppers and love adding them to so many of my dishes.

This recipe sounds amazing. I'm so impressed you are able to do all that work with a tot running around!

Erica April 25, 2009 at 9:26 AM  

Those stuffed peppers look delicious!
I always stuffed peppers with white rice. Great recipe!

Sam from The Second Lunch May 2, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

Awww, I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Shannon September 29, 2009 at 2:50 PM  

Yess! I have some cooked left-over "taco" seasoned turkey and I was looking for a stuffed pepper recipe to use it in. I looked at a lot but they all include cooking the stuffing in the bell pepper, so I remembered you made these and that I have been wanting to try them! I'm going to make them tonight..with spanish rice (also left over) instead of brown rice. All the seasonings are there for me so I guess it's really your method I'm using =).

I'm still going to do the roasted tomatoes...yum!

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