Stuffed Peppers (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

When I make stuffed peppers, I have to make two varieties.  My husband likes the traditional pepper stuffed with a tomato-based rice while I prefer them with a cheesy rice stuffing.  We don’t have them often since he’s diabetic and all that rice isn’t good for his blood sugar so I’ve revised my recipe to include only half the rice using quinoa for the other half.  Adds more protein while cutting the carbohydrates.  So here are both recipes.  Makes two servings with a little extra stuffing.

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium peppers, whatever color you like
  • 1 cup cooked ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef or pork)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cheese sauce (see Macaroni and Cheese recipe)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (see Spaghetti and Meatball recipe or use one from a jar) plus 1/2 cup for the bottom of the baking dish
  • 1/2 cup diced onion, sautéed
  • Salt, pepper, and herbs to your taste
  • Sliced non-dairy provolone or shredded mozzarella for the tops of the peppers

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the tops off your peppers and scoop out the seeds, cutting some of the white inside rind away as well (it can be bitter).  Place them in a 2 quart pot with water filling the peppers and covering them.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until just tender; since you’re also going to bake them, don’t overcook them, just want them parboiled.  The 10 minutes includes the time it takes for the water to boil.

Mix together the onions, meat, brown rice, and quinoa, and herbs in a bowl.  When mixed, divide into two bowls and add the cheese sauce to one bowl and the tomato sauce to the other.  Mix thoroughly and fill the drained peppers.  You should have some extra stuffing for serving with them (I usually cut them in half when serving and add the extra stuffing on the top, with more cheese, if you like.

Put the 1/2 cup of extra tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.  Add the peppers and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until very tender and the cheese melts.

Try to choose peppers with flat bottoms but if you can’t find two like-sized peppers with flat bottoms, cut the bottoms to flatten them trying not to cut into the pepper itself.  When I can’t find peppers with flat bottoms, I will often cut them in half and stuff the halves and bake them lying on their sides.  Or, of course, one could cut the bottom off entirely and place the peppers into the baking dish before filling them, allowing that the stuffing could run out during baking.

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