savory stuffed peppers

savory stuffed peppers on a plate with a hunk of crusty bread and a glass of wineWhy have boring green peppers when you can feast your eyes on orange, yellow, and sweet red peppers stuffed with a savory rice-rich mixture? Any leftover rice mix can be baked in a loaf pan. If you use fresh herbs in this recipe, use three times the quantity.

Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients; if you prep before you start, it goes much more quickly!

1 bell pepper of each color: red, yellow, orange
1 cup wild rice blend, cooked according to directions
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
2/3 cup chopped bell peppers, any color
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ tsp. sea salt, and black pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper
½ cup tomato juice
¼ cup ketchup
½ cup TVP
1 Tbs. dried parsley flakes (3 Tbs. fresh)
2 tsp. dried basil leaves (2 Tbs. fresh)
1 tsp. dried oregano (1 Tbs. fresh)

Cut peppers in half crosswise or lengthwise. Remove stem, seeds, and ribs.

Blanch for 1 minute: Place into boiling water for 1 minute, then remove and immediately place into ice water bath for 1 minute. Set each pepper on a rack or towel to drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While rice is cooking, prep the vegetables.

In a large pan, sauté onion and chopped peppers in oil for 2 minutes.

Add spinach, mushrooms, garlic, salt, and black and cayenne pepper. Cook on medium heat until spinach and mushrooms are soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add cooked rice, tomato juice and ketchup, TVP and spices; blend well. Turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Place pepper halves in a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with oil. Stuff gently with rice mixture.

Bake, loosely covered with foil, for 1 hour.

Helen’s veggie burgers

These yummy veggie burgers were created by a student in Sue’s vegetarian nutrition class. (Helen gets an A+ for this recipe.) They are super-healthy, high in protein and fiber. TVP stands for textured vegetable protein. Helen suggests using frozen TVP crumbles to make shaping the patties easier. We used Amy’s organic lentil soup in the recipe, but you can substitute tomato for a different flavor.

This recipe makes a lot of veggie burgers. After you have shaped all the burgers you need for your meal, you can put the rest into a meatloaf pan and bake it for 25 minutes. Freeze the loaf for another day, and then slice and serve the reheated loaf with pasta sauce and linguini on the side. Add a green salad and a glass of red wine, and voila! Easy weeknight meal.

1/2 medium onion, diced
1 portobello mushroom cap, gills removed, finely chopped
1-2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 10-ounce bag TVP
1 12-ounce package soft tofu
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and mashed
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
1 15-ounce can lentil soup
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of black pepper and cayenne pepper

Sauté onion and mushrooms in oil until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside. Chop nuts in a grinder or blender, and then place in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Shape into patties. Cook in an oiled pan on medium heat until browned. Turn gently. Or cook on the grill for a couple minutes per side. Serve on a bun with lettuce, a slice of tomato, and vegan mayo, ketchup, or brown mustard.