Cheezy Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are another classic dish I wanted to recreate. I love bell peppers and I add them to so many meals as a mix-in, especially tofu scram. But I’ve only had stuffed peppers a couple of times, and that was in my pre-vegan days, so they were stuffed with ground beef. I was curious as to how this would turn out when “veganized”, although I shouldn’t have been because, as I am quickly discovering, many classic dishes taste pretty much the same even after you make them vegan! Which is why you should all go vegan! I made the horrible mistake of using a non-vegan cheese in the original recipe. I was in what I thought was the “vegan area” of one of TJ’s cold food sections, and thought everything there was vegan — little did I know that the shredded cheese I grabbed in fact did contain milkfat — why?!?! I didn’t realize what I had done until after I added the gooey but not-at-all vegan cheese on top of the peppers; but thank goodness I realized what I’d done before devouring them! I had no choice but to give the peppers away, but they went into good hands. This was yet another annoying but well-learned life lesson reminding me to always read the label. I’ve already mentioned that this necessary task sometimes escapes me, but I’m getting there, I promise!

Stuffed Peppers

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of cooked white rice
  • 1 package of Upton Naturals Italian seitan in crumbles
  • 1 cup vegan shredded cheese (I used So Delicious shredded cheddar jack)
  • 3 large organic bell peppers (preferably of different colors!)
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, medium to finely chopped (I use Earthbound organic baby spinach)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of white button mushroom, diced (baby bella mushrooms can also be used)
  • 1 cup of (vegan!) tomato sauce (I used Rinaldi Sweet and Tasty sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon essential seasoning blend*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • small to medium, deep baking dish (to put peppers in)

What to Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare rice (boil water, add rice, stir and bring to a boil again, turn heat to a low simmer, cover and let simmer for approximately 20 minutes or so– use approximately 1 3/4 cup of water for every one cup of rice).
  3. Transfer rice to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat a skillet over low to medium heat, with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Once hot, add diced mushroom and saute for approximately 1 minute.
  6. Add white onion and continue to saute  for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add in crumbled seitan — the Italian flavored setian is already pre-seasoned but we are still going to add some seasoning in the upcoming steps.
  8. The seitan is also already in crumbles, but if you like, you can crumble the pieces further with a spatula.
  9. Saute the seitan and veggie mix for about 3 minutes; finally, add the chopped spinach and 1/2 tablespoon of the essential seasoning blend — stir in seasoning and continue to saute the seitan and veggies until onions are translucent, the mushrooms have browned, and the spinach becomes tender, stirring occasionally.
  10. Remove the mixture from heat and add to rice.
  11. Add tomato sauce to the bowl  along with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of the seasoning blend, and stir all ingredients together well. Set aside.
  12. Slice the top off of the bell peppers, cutting about 1/2 to 1 inch down from the stem.
  13. Use a spoon or fork (be careful not to puncture the sides if using a fork) to hollow out the centers of the peppers, removing the harder white flesh and seeds.
  14. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the seitan and rice mix into each pepper. You may be able to add more or you might have to add less depending on how large your peppers are, but try not to over stuff them too much.
  15. Once the peppers are filled, place them next to each other in the baking dish.**
  16. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the over for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
  17. Remove the peppers from the oven, and remove the foil.
  18. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over all the peppers.
  19. Place peppers back in the oven uncovered, and bake for another 15 minutes until peppers are tender and the cheese is fully melted.
  20. Transfer peppers to a serving dish — I plated mine over a bed of spinach, and garnished with the bell pepper tops and sriracha. Bon appetit!

* Essential seasoning blend can be found on the recipes page.

** You can also use aluminum foil instead of a baking dish — my dish was too large and the peppers were falling over, so instead I took a larger sheet of foil, placed it in the dish and placed the peppers really close together in the foil. Then, I quickly pulled the foil up on all sides and closed it at the top. If you use this method, make sure the foil is sealed completely at the top to keep the moisture in.

Date posted on Instagram: 6/16/18

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