When I was younger my mother used to make stuffed green peppers. Her recipe was very basic. As a child I hated it, because it had ground beef in it. I hated meat when I was younger, which was my original reason for being a vegetarian. It wasn't until adulthood that I discovered there are sooo many more reasons not to eat meat (thanks to my wonderfully ethical and educated husband:). I later tried my mother's recipe and liked it--with soy ground beef. I've modified her recipe to work with soy meat. When you are using real beef, the recipe can be simple, because the beef adds flavor. Soy beef can be bland, and needs a little kick. I add tons of herbs. It is delicious.
1 bag of Morningstar ground beef 1 c. uncooked long grain white rice 2 c. water 6-8 green bell peppers 2 (14.5 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes 1/4 c. white cooking wine 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 onion, chopped finely 1/4 c. pine nuts 1 tblsp. dried tarragon 1 tblsp. dried oregano 1 tblsp. dried sage 1 tblsp. dried basil 1 tblsp. dried fennel seeds 1 tblsp. dried dill weed 1 tblsp. dried mint 1 tblsp. dried parsley 1/2 tsp. turmeric 1 tsp. cumin salt and pepper to taste
If using soy beef, defrost the the soy beef by putting it in the refrigerator a day ahead.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic until evenly browned. Remove 2 tblsp. of the onion/garlic mixture for the sauce and set aside. Add a little more oil and add herbs and pine nuts and saute for about 1 or so minutes. Add the soy beef, and saute only until the beef looks warmed. Remove from heat and mix with cooked rice.
For the sauce, mix the crushed tomatoes and reserved onion garlic mixture in a sauce pan. Add salt to taste. Also add white wine and cook until reduced a bit.
Cut the tops of the peppers off and remove the seeds and membrane inside. Reserve the tops for later, but cut the seed portion off. Fill each pepper with the rice and soy beef filling. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers slightly if necessary so that they will stand upright.)
Pour the tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers. Top the peppers off with the reserved tops.
Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce in the dish every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.
Cook's Note: This recipe is easy to be creative with. Try adding some goat cheese, feta, lentils, garbanzo beans, or olives to the filling.