Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers with Yogurt Sauce

Let's be clear:  I have stuffed a pepper or two.  My mom's basic recipe was my favorite in college until I stopped eating ground beef, and in the winter, I think there is hardly a nicer dinner.

I promise I really try not to post every single variation, since you can basically stuff anything delicious in a pepper and bam, dinner success! - but I like the yogurt sauce (in lieu of cheese) and flavor-packed, protein-laden filling of tonight's attempt, so here we are.


1 white onion
1 can white beans or chickpeas
1 16-oz can whole tomatoes
1 bunch torn kale
If you have some slow-roasted tomatoes, 1 cup of those (I slow-roasted grape tomatoes today and they are to die for so I threw a handful of them in).
1 tsp each paprika and cayenne (more cayenne if needed)
1/2 TB each mint and basil
olive oil
2 TB lemon juice
1 cup (uncooked) quinoa
1/2 TB cumin

Start quinoa cooking with the cumin in the water (on stove or in rice cooker).

Clean the peppers and set them upright in a deep, square baking dish.  (mine fits 4-5 peppers depending on size).  Splash a bit of water in, put lid on, and microwave for 5 minutes to begin steaming them and removing crunch.

In one frying pan, cut the onion into 8ths and cook it in olive oil on low heat to caramelize or at least soften.

Meanwhile, in another (larger) one, heat up a TB of olive oil, add drained and rinsed beans/chickpeas, add paprika, cayenne, and a few pinches of salt, and cook on high heat.  Taste and add more cayenne until there's as much fire as you like.  When the beans start to darken, scoop 2/3 of the whole tomatoes from the can and crush them with your fingers, and add them (but not their juice yet).  When the onions are ready, add them too.

Add basil, dill, and lemon juice and let this all cook together for a bit, then toss the kale in.  When the kale is cooked, add the (cooked and drained) quinoa.

Spoon filling into pepper and tuck any excess around them in the dish.  Crush the remaining whole tomatoes and pour them and their juice over the top.  Bake without lid at 425 for at least an hour - the longer the better, really (I don't think there is such a thing as too long!)

Yogurt Sauce:

Mix up the following:

Plain yogurt (trying to use up my last batch = reason for this meal)
1 small cucumber (lemon, persian, baby), chopped into very small dice
2 TB finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp ground cumin
Optional: squirt of lemon juice

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