I’ve avoided stuffed peppers since turning vegan, thinking they were a bit of a cliché. Since trying these, however, I’ve realised that I’ve been missing out. The intense flavour and colour in these little gems is fantastic, and they’ve made me a convert. You’ve probably all already got your own stuffed pepper recipes, but please do try this blend of aubergine and spices. With the addition of dates as a natural sweetener, these peppers have a wonderful middle-Eastern feel.
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Prep time: 15-20 minutes. Cooking time: About 50 minutes.
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions, diced
2 aubergines, small diced
50ml cold water
3 tbsp tahini
75g dried dates, roughly chopped
2 tsp garlic puree
1 tsp harissa paste
Juice of 1 lemon
50ml more water, if needed
1 mug (200g) long-grain rice, cooked (weight when raw)
Salt and pepper to taste
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish
6 long Romano peppers
A drizzle of olive oil
100g vegan feta style cheese, roughly chopped
A small handful of flaked, toasted almonds
Heat the coconut oil in a pan and fry the onions and aubergines for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Pour in the tamari and 50ml of water, then stir in the tahini, dates, garlic puree and harissa paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then squeeze in the lemon juice and add another 50ml of cold water if the mix is too dry. Allow it to cook for a minute more and then stir in the cooked rice. Take it off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix in the chopped parsley.
Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F.
Cut the Romano peppers in half, leaving the stalks intact, and scoop out the seeds. Lay the peppers on a large baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil. Mix thoroughly with your hands to fully coat them and lay them face up on the tray.
Stuff each pepper with the aubergine mixture, then sprinkle on the chopped vegan cheese. Grind a little black pepper over the top, if desired, and then drizzle on a little more olive oil. Cook in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the peppers have cooked and browned.
Top with more chopped parsley and the toasted almonds and serve immediately.