Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vegetarian Gluten-Free Stuffed Peppers

Every time I've eaten stuffed peppers, they have been filled to the gills with either an egg-breadcrumb batter or ground meat with rice. 

chaos of my cutting board
While filling, and definitely delicious I wanted to try to come up with a recipe that was less heavy,  but still satisfying. 

When cooking for myself, I try to avoid that feeling of deprivation, the "can't have this" and "can't have that."  That is the surest thing to make you crave exactly what you're not supposed to be having. 

Right before the peppers are popped into the oven
The key, at least in my opinion, to cooking and eating within whatever your restrictions is twofold; flavor and texture.

You need to identify what flavors you like and what textures you like before you can start providing yourself with alternatives. 

The most underutilized aspect of my pantry until recently was the spice cabinet. I was comfortable with the flavors that I always used and didn't really try anything too new unless it was called for in a recipe that I was using. 

Ingredients for 'stuffing':
1 1/2 cups of chopped shitake mushrooms
2 baby eggplants grated
 1 large Vidalia onion chopped
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste

For the filling I started with a base of chopped shitake mushrooms. Then I shredded two small eggplants and two chopped garlic cloves.

Mix together with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper. 
We will call this the "dry base" going forward. 

Mix and spread out on a baking dish. 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. 

 Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for 3-5 minutes. 

While the base of your stuffing is baking/cooling. Prepare your sweet peppers by removing the tops and seeds. You can use peppers of any shape/ size. I had some bell peppers in the fridge I wanted to use, but I also had a package of the sweet peppers pictured below.

Once your peppers are cleaned and set aside, begin to prepare the moist base for your stuffing. 

Mix together the diced tomatos (about 2 cups)  and chopped green chili peppers (about 1/2 cup) together in a separate bowl. 

 Chop up the second 1/2 cup of cilantro and add to the mixture. 
Mix thoroughly. 

Mix the stuffing base into the tomato-chili mixture a little bit at a time. I like to keep them separate for as long as possible because I don't want the base of our mixture to become too soggy.

The ratio in the small bowl should be one (1) part tomato-chili mixture to two (2) parts dry base. 

Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Whatever leftovers I had from the stuffing and the tomato base, I basked with some chicken breasts. 

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