I have a confession to make: I’ve never had a stuffed pepper before. Ever. I know, I know, it’s practically crazy, but it’s very, very true. That being said, I took matters into my own hands two weeks ago and figured out the basics. First you take a pepper, then you stuff it, then you bake it, then you eat it. Simple enough. I think the hardest part was figuring out what I wanted to stuff it with. Rice was too conventional and polenta was too mushy. Barley seemed like the right choice. And heck, why not through in some soy crumbles and Daiya for the “beefy/cheesy” effect?
This was delicious. In fact, it was probably my favorite of my own recipes so far, besides my lasagna. I basically love anything you can cook in an oven, obviously. My only regret was that I only made two; one for me, one for mom. These peppers were really big though, even for organic ones. The good thing is that there was plenty of beef and barley stuffing left over so, I ate some of that. If you’re serving more than two people, you will have enough stuffing for about 4 large peppers.
Trust me, you’re going to want to make this.
4 large, firm peppers
1 cup pearled barley (makes 3.5 cups cooked, you can use instant barley if you want)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 package soy beef crumbles (Try: Yves Meatless Ground Round Original or Lightlife Smart Ground Original)
2 tbsp dried oregano
1/8 cup fresh chives, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 package Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Shreds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Cook the barley according to package instructions. I used pearled barley simmered in 3 cups of water for 1 and 1/4 hours. You can use instant cooking barley if you wish.
Wash the peppers and cut the tops off of each. Remove the seeds and membrane from the inside of the peppers. You may need to cut a very thin slice off the bottom of the peppers to make them stand upright on their own. Set aside.
In a non-stick skillet, saute the garlic in oil for about 2 minutes. Next, add the onions and saute for about 4 more minutes. Add the mushrooms next and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, grape tomatoes, soy beef crumbles, oregano, and salt and pepper next. Cook until well heated. Remove from heat and put into a large bowl. When the barley is done, add it to the bowl and incorporate the two. Add in the chives and mix. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, warm the vegetable broth. While this is warming, brush the inside of your peppers and the tops with olive oil. Stuff the peppers with the beef and barley mixture. Pour the vegetable broth in a deep, square casserole/baking dish (you may use two 5″ x 9″ 1.5 qt dishes, or one 2qt dish). Place the peppers, standing against each other for support if you have to, in the dish with the tops on them. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and pepper tops and sprinkle with Daiya Vegan Cheese, if using. Put the tops back on and bake, uncovered for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.