Brown and wild rice stuffed peppers might just be the perfect vegan (and gluten-free) main dish to serve for holidays and special occasions.
Stuffed peppers have endured as a special-occasion meatless main dish — without becoming a culinary cliché — simply because they’re so festive and tasty. These are filled with a delectable combination of brown and wild rice embellished with red onion, apple, nuts, and a hint of citrus.
Each stuffed pepper yields one serving, so for those times when you’d like to serve a bigger crowd, double the recipe. I’ll be honest — stuffing 12 peppers is more of a project than a half dozen, but as you can see, it’s a dazzling dish and the effort is well worth it.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
A few tips:
- When cutting the tops of the peppers, do so with a good, sharp knife to get a neat edge. The wide opening makes it easy to reach into the peppers and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Make sure to rinse the interior of the peppers to remove any stubborn seeds.
- Cut very thin slivers from the bottoms of the peppers so they’ll stand more securely in your parchment-lined roasting pan.
- Though you can certainly use peppers all of one color, using 2 or 3 different hues as shown here is more festive.
- 1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
- 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 finely diced celery stalk
- 1 medium tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/4 cup orange juice (from 1 large orange)
- Pinch each: cinnamon and nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 6 medium bell peppers, any color, or a variety
- Combine the wild rice and the bouillon cube with 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the brown rice, return to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. If the grains aren’t done to your liking, add 1/2 cup more water and cook until absorbed. Repeat as needed.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and celery and sauté over medium heat until the onion is golden. Add the apple and sauté for 5 minutes longer.
- Stir in the cooked rice mixture along with the juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sauté over low heat, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Stir in the parsley and pecans.
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- Cut the tops of the peppers off, about a half inch down from the stem. Set these “caps” aside. Reach into the peppers and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Rinse out to remove any stubborn seeds.
- Cut very thin slivers from the bottoms of the peppers so they’ll stand more securely. Arrange on a parchment-lined roasting pan.
- Stuff the pepper halves generously with the wild rice mixture (likely there will be too much — but better too much than too little — it’s delicious eaten on its own), then top with the reserved stem ends. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender but still retain their shape.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until the tops peppers begin to pucker slightly and are touched with golden spots. Transfer to a serving platter or Serve straight from the pan.
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