Maybe it’s just me, but do you ever go through phases of food obsession? I mean, some food obsessions are an unchanging given, like chocolate. But others seem to come and go. My current fan favorite is red peppers. Perhaps you could tell, seeing as how this is the third recipe in two months on the blog to include red peppers. The passing fancy of my own food phases makes me think of here-today, gone-tomorrow food trends I’ve seen throughout my lifetime. Maybe today’s kale and quinoa–or in my case, red peppers–are tomorrow’s pop rocks and 1-2-3 Jell-O. (Remember 1-2-3 Jell-O? Why did that have to die? ’80s kids, let’s get a petition going!)
The fact is, unlike the processed mystery that is 1-2-3 Jell-O, I’m new to the crunchy crimson veggie wonder that is red peppers. Up until the last couple of years, I ate red peppers only under social pressure, and even then would prod them around my plate like a picky toddler. I had the sneaking suspicion that people who claimed to enjoy bell peppers were trying to play a vile joke on the rest of us. But somehow–probably as a result of learning in my nutrition studies how fantastically healthy peppers are for you–I have gradually come around. It’s amazing how our mentality can change our feelings about food, isn’t it? (I draw the line, however, at mushrooms. Mushrooms are an eternal abomination.) Having developed a taste for red peppers, though, I’m now all over the map trying them in various combinations and permutations.
It was inevitable, then, that stuffed peppers would make their way into our family’s meal rotation.
This version of the classic is 100% vegetarian with a hefty dose of black beans, rice, corn, and tomatoes and a not-too-spicy Mexican flair. The rice and bean filling is delicious all on its own, but stuffing it in a tangy red pepper dripping with sharp cheddar takes it over the top. My husband–a more experienced stuffed pepper eater–says that most stuffed peppers have a softer texture than this recipe, but I for one enjoyed the not-too-squishy crunch that these peppers retained by not baking for too long. These made for a satisfying vegetarian dinner I know I’ll make again.
So how about you? Do you have a current food obsession, or a food you used to hate but have come to love? Tell me all about it!
Vegetarian Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. long-grain rice
- 1 1/4 c. vegetable broth (or water)
- 15 oz. can fire-roasted salsa-style diced tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/8 tsp. dried oregano
- 8 red or green bell peppers
- 1/2 c. frozen corn
- 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes, then add minced garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Add rice, vegetable broth or water, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 16-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the tops of the peppers and scrape out the seeds and membranes. Place peppers snugly in the bottom of an 8 x 8 glass baking dish (or larger, depending on the size of your peppers).
- When rice is finished cooking, add corn and beans to the mixture and stir to combine. Spoon carefully into peppers.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with cheddar, and continue baking another 15 minutes. Serve immediately.