Friday, September 17, 2010

Unstuffed Pepper Casserole

The first week we received green bell peppers in our CSA share last summer, I had quite the craving for stuffed peppers. Unfortunately, those yummy early green peppers were a bit too small and mis-shapen for stuffing. But the craving was not to be denied.

So instead, I cooked the filling as I normally do but diced all the peppers and added them to the pan. Then I combined them with cooked bulgur, spread into a baking dish, topped with cheese and baked it. It was delicious and easy and a great way to use up a variety of veggies. And no blanching the peppers first! For some reason, I always get hung up on that stupid extra step (even though I rarely did it, and usually made these in the crockpot because it was a hot summer day).

My version is vegetarian, but of course you can add ground beef in the beginning steps if you like meat in yours.

1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 small green bell peppers, diced
Any other veggies you have around: eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, etc.
Italian herbs of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Cooked grain, enough for 4 servings
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan or Romano

Preheat oven to 350.

Saute onion and garlic in a glug of olive oil until softened. Add tomatoes and cook about 5 more minutes; add peppers and any other veggies and cook a few more minutes, stop while the peppers are still green (before they turn that drab olive green). Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and herbs; I usually use basil, oregano, and parsley.

Meanwhile, prepare your grain. I have used bulgur, brown rice and couscous in this but I think it would also be good with pasta.

Combine the grain, veggies, and beans in a 13x9 baking dish; top with cheeses. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the entire dish is bubbling. This reheats really well so it's great for lunches all week, and makes about 6 servings.

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