Well, September arrived & so did summer! My oh my has it been hot here in San Diego, & with no sign of relief in the forecast. Unlike most parts of the country, it takes a bit of time for summer to wind down in here Southern California, & believe it or not September & October can be the hottest times of the year. I often crave living in a place where you really see & feel the seasons change, as our seasons here are not very distinct. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining, as I know how lucky I am to live where I do, but, I am really ready for Fall….bring on the boots, hats, scarves, winter squash, chai tea lattes, & warm spices. Do you hear me manifesting & willing it to be?
Ahhh, well, until then, I must make the most of the warm days & summer produce. I’ve had an abundance of peppers arrive in my CSA delivery ~ red, yellow, green, orange…just about every hue! I haven’t been getting very creative with them, as I’ve been so very (insert dreaded & overused word here) busy (sorry, but it is true!) so I’ve simply been chopping them & adding into salads, quick roasting on the stove (for tacos that I’ll share soon!), or quite frankly ignoring them all together (especially the green ones). To be honest, I’ve been really stressed out…my energy is being pulled in a multitude of directions, my calendar is jam packed, & I haven’t had much time to breathe, let alone cook. I work all day, sometimes two jobs back to back, come home for an hour or two & then am usually off to evening yoga to decompress. I try to bulk cook on the weekends, when time allows, so I can ensure that a quick meal can be reheated & eaten on the fly. But that doesn’t always happen. And, admittedly, I’ve been skipping meals quite a bit which is a habit I need to break!
Last night, my plan was to write my final paper for my yoga teacher training (graduation is this weekend), catch up on emails, & try to squeeze in a favorite yoga class, but as I left the parking lot at work, the car turned left, when normally I guide it right & we ended up at Trader Joes. Scratch the to-do list, & forget-about-it! I just wanted to cook. Cooking is one of my favorite ways to relax & destress. Being in the kitchen & creating a healthy meal that I can share here on the blog gives me so much joy. I’ve been struggling with some personal issues & some life decisions & I just needed to get out of my head for a bit. As the green peppers had been awaiting some much needed attention, I scratched my mind for how to prepare them…fajitas? Tacos? Pizza? My scattered mind couldn’t decide. Of course there is also the old stand by ~ stuffed peppers ~ & I eventually to settled on that. I was thinking healthy ~ perhaps some lentils, rice, & tomato sauce. But while grabbing a container of my favorite sprouted tofu, the soyrizo caught my eye. Mmmmm…Trader Joes makes the tastiest soyrizo! I’ve been wanting to make my own (via the Vegan Tacos cookbook) as my goal has been to eat a little cleaner, less processed, & more whole foods, but as I am short on time, every once & a while an quick & easy indulgence is in order. And frankly, I could indulge on worse foods than a stuffed pepper filled with packaged soyrizo & vegan cheese! But to keep things in balance I mixed the soyrizo with quinoa, black beans, onion, garlic & cilantro. I added in a bit of packaged vegan “cheese” for good measure. And just like with soyrizo, I am called to make my own when the opportunity arises, but now & then quick & easy is key! Again, worse choices could be made!
To maximize the color & flavor profile, ( & clean out the crisper) I used both green & red peppers & love how beautifully they turned out. The flavor difference is subtle, with the red peppers being a bit more sweet of a carrier to the spice mixture within & the green peppers more mild. Either way, the result was a delicious.
- 4 green bell peppers
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 Tbsp. safflower oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ yellow onion, fine dice
- ½ package soyrizo
- ½ can black beans rinsed & drained.
- 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup vegan shredded cheese, plus more to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cut the tops off of the peppers, & remove seeds. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain & cool. Set aside.
- In a large chef's pan heat 1 Tbsp safflower oil In a large chef's pan saute garlic & onion over medium-high until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add soyrizo & cook until heated through. Fold in black beans.
- To a large mixing bowl add 1 cup cooked quiona, 1 cup soyrizo mixture, cilanto & vegan cheese. Mix well.
- Stuff each pepper with the soyrizo & quinoa mixture, & place peppers open side up in a baking dish. Sprinkle with vegan cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until heated through & cheese is melted.
Any ideas for peppers other than filling them with stuff? Would love to know your ideas! I am always looking for a bit of variety in my arsenal. But any kind of stuffed pepper is a great last resort. And these are quite delicious if I do say so myself! Here’s to the last days of summer.