I don’t make stuffed bell peppers very often because I don’t like green peppers and red ones are frequently about $1.50 each around here, which just seems silly. Last time I went to the store they were $0.68 though and I greedily grabbed 4, knowing exactly what their future would be.
The other reason I haven’t made stuffed bell peppers in awhile is because the absolute best way to do so is to cook them in a crock pot. It softens them to a melt in your mouth texture, while keeping the stuffing moist and flavorful. And the problem with my crock pot is this…
I may have accidentally melted the control part of my crock pot by having it too close to something cooking on the stove. Now it only sometimes turns on when I plug it in. And when it does turn on it only works on one setting. The worst part? I had only had this for about a month when this happened: Andrew bought it for me to replace my old one, which I dropped and shattered the insert of.
I’m accident prone, but I digress. Onto more cheerful topics, like Thai flavored stuffed peppers!
This recipe is adapted lightly from an amazing cookbook called Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. It is one of my favorites, full of simple and delicious things you can throw together in the morning and come home to dinner waiting for you.
Bell Peppers Stuffed with Coconut Rice, Black Beans, and Mango:
*4-6 large bell peppers (I prefer red, which are not only sweeter but also higher in vitamins A and C than green, but you can use whatever color you like), tops sliced off and diced, hollowed out.
*2 cups cooked basmati rice
*1 cup cooked black beans (I threw in a few garbanzos, too, because I needed to use them up)
*1 large red onion
*1 large mango (use Manila or Champagne mangos if you can find them. They are much smoother in texture than regular mangos) —–> for the best way to chop a mango neatly, click here.
*1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
*1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil (preferably Thai Basil) or cilantro
*1 teaspoon agave nectar (you can use sugar if you dont have agave, or leave it out, but it helps round out the flavors)
*Optional: to give these an extra kick, add 1/2 to 1 minced chili pepper, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot chili powder such as cayenne, or 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce.
*1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil, plus extra for greasing the crock pot or pan.
*salt and pepper to taste
1.Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add the onion and bell pepper. If you are using jalepenos, add them now. Cover and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
2. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the rice, coconut, beans, mango, half of the juice from the lime plus a bit of lime zest, agave, basil, and spice if using.
3. Spoon mixture into prepared peppers and arrange upright in a lightly oiled slow cooker. If you have extra rice you can serve it warmed with the peppers or reserve it for another use. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. I haven’t made these in the oven, but if you don’t own a slow cooker or are short on time, I would imagine they could be cooked at 350F for 45- 60 minutes. If anyone tries it, let me know!