Meet challenge with easy, tasty veggie dishes
Penne with garbanzo beans: Eliminating some animal proteins and fats are a good way to achieve healthy eating goals. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
So when my daughter requests meatless mains every now and then, I'm happy for the challenge. Plus, eliminating some animal proteins and fats might be the simplest way to achieve our healthy eating goals and cut calories.
The first time I made meatless stuffed peppers was decades ago as a newlywed. I smothered beautiful cheese-stuffed peppers in white rice and heavy cream. Unforgettable — as much for the richness as the too-crunchy peppers. These days, I roast the peppers to render them tender and replace the hunks of cheese with a mixture of corn and edamame flavored with some shredded cheese. I also swap brown rice for the white for its nutty texture and nutritive value.
As much as I like cream, I can't bring myself to pour a cup over anything anymore, so I use chicken broth to moisten the whole dish. A drizzle of thinned sour cream makes an elegant garnish.
The only tricky part to this recipe is preparing the peppers. Select elongated peppers that look nice and straight for easy stuffing. I like to use peppers with pretty stems for an attractive plate. Red or yellow bell peppers make sweet alternatives to the oft-zesty poblano.
Another mainstay in our meatless repertoire combines whole grain pasta, beans, cheese and tomatoes. Take note: Leftovers make great lunches.
Cheesy stuffed peppers with brown rice
Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Note: You can substitute half of a 16-ounce bag of frozen succotash for the corn, edamame and diced bell pepper.
4 poblano peppers or medium red or yellow bell peppers with nice stems, about 1 pound total
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup shelled edamame, baby lima beans or green peas, thawed if frozen
¼ cup diced roasted red bell peppers, bottled is fine
¼ cup each, chopped fresh cilantro, green onions
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheese, such as brick or Monterey jack