These stuffed peppers will make your house smell absolutely delicious. This is an adaptation of a Turkish recipe I saw at a demo given by the Turkish American Society of Michigan.
While the blend of mint and cinnamon was unusual and delicious, I wanted something more filling than just rice. I used walnuts because they’re healthier than a processed faux meat product— and I’m really happy with how this recipe turned out. The next time, I’d like to add more veggies to the rice filling, like spinach or more peppers.
Raw walnuts worked because they cooked with the rice, they weren’t hard and crunchy. Toasted walnuts would probably work well, as well as other nuts, if you soak them first.
One note: this recipe originally called for fresh parsley and banana peppers to go in the rice, but I forgot to buy them at the store.
Another note: this recipe makes juuuust enough stuffing for five large peppers, or 6 medium sized ones. If you want more peppers, just use more rice and walnuts. Also, make sure your peppers can balance upright. If you have a clumsy pepper, just slice of a little of the bottom to help it balance.
While this recipe is involved— soaking ingredients, a blender and steaming the peppers— the results are soooo worth it.
5 bell peppers
5 cherry or grape tomatoes, for topping
1 medium onion
1 1/2 cups rice
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
2 1/4 cups tomato juice
2 tbsp tomato paste
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsps both mint and cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
vegan butter (optional)
1. Soak the walnuts in water for 8 hours.
2. Soak the rice in warm water for 30 minutes.
3. Rinse and drain the walnuts.
4. Chop the walnuts in a blender. You don’t want super small pieces— the walnuts should be small enough to cook easily, not small enough to turn into a paste. Set the chopped walnuts aside.
5. Cut the tops of the peppers off, saving the tops. Pull out the stems, seeds and the white insides.
6. Chop the onion and saute until translucent.
7. Add the minced garlic and cook for another few minutes.
8. Drain the rice, and add to the onions. Cook for another few minutes, stirring the rice occasionally.
Note: At this point, I added the rest of the cherry tomatoes, which were diced, to the rice.
9. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and mint, stir and set aside.
10. In a separate pan, heat some vegan butter (or olive oil) and brown the walnuts with a dash of cinnamon, paprika, 1/4 cup tomato juice and 1 tbsp tomato paste. The tomato products will give the walnuts a rich brown color. Set aside when browned thoroughly.
11. Stir the rice and the walnuts together, until thoroughly blended. Let cool.
12. Now comes the fun part: stuffing your peppers! You can either use a spoon, or wait until the rice is cool enough to touch. I just used a spoon, as I kept sampling the rice as it was cooling.
13. When you’ve packed the peppers with rice and walnuts, set them into a pot. Add the tomato juice until the peppers are about halfway covered.
14. Simmer the peppers, covered, for 30 minutes.
15. Let them cool slightly before you take them out of the pot (a pair of tongs and spoon does the trick.)