Growing up, my mom would always have a healthy dinner waiting as my brother and I came home exhausted and hungry from a long day of school and sports. The four of us would have dinner at the kitchen table, and without knowing it, I was instilled with the values of family and healthy eating. (Thanks, mom!) One of my favorite meals was stuffed peppers, which after simmering all day in the crock pot yielded such juicy, yummy peppers. I love recreating this dish, which can be stuffed with so many goodies. Rice, beans, meats, vegis, cheeses—whatever your heart’s desire, or more appropriately, whatever is in season or you have on hand. And if you are too rushed, lazy or disorganized (or god-help-you, all three) to get the crock pot going in the am, these cook up just as juicy in the oven. See? Options all around.
Grain & Garbanzo Stuffed Peppers
1 c water
1/2 c brown rice
3 large bell peppers
2 t olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 small squash, chopped (or zucchini, in summer)
2 t fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t salt
1 c cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 T tomato paste
15.5-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil, add the rice, cook 30-50 minutes (according to package directions). While rice is cooking, cut the peppers in half length-wise, remove the stems and scoop out the seeds. Place peppers cut side up in a non-stick baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat oil and add onion, garlic, squash, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, chickpeas, cooked rice and feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill roasted peppers with the vegi-rice mixture. Bake 10 minutes.