Rice and Courgette Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is an easy, colourful, delicious, filling, and spicy vegetarian dish which can be made vegan by omitting the butter.

Serve with a side salad mixed with some sun-dried tomato strips, cherry tomatoes, and the herb(s) you used in the filling.

Serves: 3

 

Ingredients

  • 3 large bell peppers, tops removed and seeded/de-pithed
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small knob butter (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 small sun-dried tomato halves, finely diced
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small courgette, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 130g cooked white rice
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (see footnote)

Kit

  • Baking dish to fit peppers (see footnote)
  • Frying pan

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C (180 C fan-assisted).
  2. Place the peppers, standing upright, in a suitable baking dish. I use a glass bread loaf dish per the picture. Drizzle sparingly with olive oil, including a bitty amount between and around the peppers. Add a small pinch of salt into each.
  3. Bake for around 10 minutes, until they are just starting to become tender but still firm enough to hold their shape. Remove from the oven and set aside. Keep the oven switched on.
  4. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, warm the veg oil plus a small knob of butter (if using; if not, use a bit more oil) until very hot. Add the onion and sun-dried tomato pieces, stir well, and reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
  5. Add the chilli and garlic and cook and stir for another 5 minutes. Increase hob heat to medium-high then add the cherry tomatoes, stir well and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the courgette and lemon juice and gently stir until the cherry tomato pieces are squidgy but still whole, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cooked rice, salt, pepper and oregano and stir well. Once well mixed, spoon the filling into the peppers. Pack them firmly, but not enough to make their sides split.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the peppers when pinched feel quite soft but still a bit al dente. Remove from the oven. Drizzle over a wee bit more olive oil, and garnish with some more herbs (see footnote).

Baking Dish Tip
If you don’t have a small enough baking dish to hold your peppers standing up, try linking them 2-by-2 with a toothpick or small cocktail stick inserted near the top.

Herb Tip
Try different herbs – marjoram works well, and you can try basil, thyme, sage, etc to your taste. You can also add 3 finely chopped chestnut mushrooms for an earthy, meatier taste (add with the cherry tomatoes in step 5).

Pepper Tip
I like to use yellow or orange peppers for a nice colour contrast with the green and red of the filling.

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