I took a hand at making stuffed peppers and they turned out to be very easy!
My family is Eastern European, and stuffed cabbage rolls have been a staple of our holiday celebrations for my entire sentient life. And I’ve tried not once, not twice, but three times to make a vegan version. I’ve got the filling and the sauce down. But I can’t for the life of me get the cabbage as tender as my grandma does. And when you need a knife to eat a cabbage roll, it’s less than ideal.
Luckily, bell peppers don’t have that same challenge. You can get them perfectly crisp-tender, and cut right through them with a fork. This recipe is like a samosa that’s wrapped in a luscious pepper instead of in fried dough! As for the butternut squash, well, it adds a velvety texture and a subtle sweetness without crowding out the flavor of the potato. I kind of have to put butternut squash in everything I make right now, because they’re starting to crowd us out of our apartment. See two of them looming ominously in the background of the pictures?
We served these peppers alongside collard greens that were braised with cumin seeds, onions, and coconut milk. Nothing fancy. But they can certainly stand alone, too :). As always, tweak the spices to your liking.
- 6 large green bell peppers (feel free to use other colors)
- ½ of a butternut squash peeled and cubes
- 5-6 medium potatoes, skins on, cubed
- 1 green chili pepper, diced
- 1 tb. ground cumin
- ½ tb. ground coriander
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. mustard powder, optional
- 1 tb. vinegar or lemon juice
- ¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt, to taste
- Pomegranate seeds and more cilantro, for serving, optional
- Tamarind chutney, for serving, optional (we get ours from the neighborhood Indian restaurant)
- Use a paring knife to cut a wide circle around the top of the pepper and the stem, and pull out the seeds and ribs by pulling on the stem. You may need to use your finger, or shake the pepper gently, to remove the last few seeds. For smaller peppers, instead of cutting the circle it's sometimes easier to just slice off the entire top of the pepper.
- Bring about three inches of water to a boil in a saucepan, and put all of the peppers inside (it's OK if not all of them are touching the water). Keep the water at a boil, cover the saucepan, and let the peppers cook for 5-7 minutes or until crisp-tender.
- Turn off the heat and remove the peppers with a slotted spoon (or VERY GENTLY with tongs), and set them somewhere to cool.
- Make the filling. Put the cubed potatoes and squash into a saucepan and add enough tap water to cover. Bring to a boil and let continue boiling for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and squash are both soft. Drain and add to a mixing bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except the garnishes to the mixing bowl (chopped chili peppers through salt), mashing the potatoes and squash slightly as you stir.. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Use a spoon to gently scoop filling into the hollowed out, par-cooked peppers and line them up in a roasting pan.
- Bake the peppers for about 15 minutes or until hot all of the way through. Serve with cilantro, pomegranate, and chutney if using.