Stuffed Bell Peppers and Family Dinners

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Family dinners have always been a tradition in our family. We always came home from school or work and ate at the table together. We hardly ever ate out and both my parents loved to cook (maybe thats where I get it from?). So it was really strange for me when I would go over to friends houses and they would eat in the living room in front of the TV or in their rooms. I quickly learned the importance of family dinners because I would listen to my friends talk about their families and realized how disconnected certain families were. Dinner was the time for us to all come home from a long day and talk about our experiences and laugh and tell jokes. We would cook together and clean up together before my brother and I rushed off to do our homework.

I love that my parents created this structure in our lives and taught us the importance of spending time together.

When I transitioned to a vegan diet I worried it would make these dinners difficult. You know, having to cook two separate meals or always cook something for myself, but it’s actually been relatively easy. We’ve always eaten pretty vegetable heavy meals and so it’s easy to switch out proteins or add in something separately to accommodate everyone’s desires. It’s also been fun expieremneting with meals that everyone likes and are totally vegan.

After snagging a bag of green bell peppers from the discount organic produce rack at a local co-op these vegan stuffed peppers were born, and everyone loved them.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers:

5 medium sized green bell peppers

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 small red onion chopped

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp tomato paste

3/4 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup kale chopped and tough stems removed

1 tomato chopped

3 servings of Italian Seitan by Upton’s Naturals

1 small zucchini finely chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt

black pepper to taste

1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeño, seeds removed (optional)

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Steps: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove stems and seeds from peppers by cutting around the top of the stem. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan at medium heat and then add garlic and onion and dried basil. Saute until onions soften.
  3. Add mushrooms, zucchini, tomato, seitan and kale. Saute for about 7 minutes and then add in rice and tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste, as well as jalapeño if using. Reduce heat to low and toss so rice is well seasoned.
  4. Stuff the mixture into the peppers until full and place peppers in a casserole dish standing upright. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until peppers are softened. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before eating.

And if you choose to top them with sriracha like me that’s fine too. 😉

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These were very tasty and simple and the seitan pleased the omnivores in my family. You could easily switch out the filling for whatever veggies you have on hand but I highly recommend keeping the mushrooms! They also make great leftovers for an easy lunch the next day!

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