Every so often I decide that I want to be a vegetarian. Not a ‘give up anything that even remotely resembles meat’ kind of vegetarian but rather, an ‘eliminate meat for a while’ vegetarian. The feeling only lasts a day or two but it’s usually during that time frame when I discover some really great recipes that I might not have otherwise had the time (or inclination) to try.
During my last foray into the land of vegetables I fell in love with peppers—all kinds of peppers. I think that they are one of the most versatile vegetables available. In one dish they’re red and sweet, the next they’re spicy and savory and the next they’re three-alarm hot.
The only word of warning that I’ll give you about these pepper recipes is to be careful with the “hot” ones. The oils from these babies can do “damage” to your tongue and mouth. If you find yourself with a mouthful of something too hot make sure you eat or drink something dairy—do NOT drink water. Water only spreads the oil even more. Dairy products actively neutralize the problem. In the event that you don’t have cheese, sour cream or milk available, go for a nice chunk of bread—it will help.
The following recipes can all be vegetarian but since most of my readers aren’t of that persuasion, I’ve given you recipes that can be eaten either with meat ingredients or without.
PEPPERS & PASTA (pareve or dairy)
2 red peppers cut into thin strips 1 yellow pepper, cut into thin strips 1 orange pepper, cut into thin strips 2 tomatoes, chopped coarsely 1/2 cup tomato sauce 5 teaspoons olive oil 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic 1 large white onion, chopped 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes (more if you prefer) 3 small green chili peppers (jalapeno or serrano) seeded, chopped finely 3/4 cup dry white wine 1 lb curly noodles (fettuccini is ok too), cooked according to directions, drained salt and pepper to taste grated Parmesan (optional)
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, onion, and chili peppers and sauté a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and sauté, stirring occasionally for a few minutes longer. Add wine, tomatoes, sauce, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the pasta, mix to coat and serve with parmesan cheese on the top or on the side. Serves 6.
Submitted by Randi Goldman NY, NY
GARBANZO AND ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP (dairy or pareve)
16 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained 7 ounces roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream (you can use the non-dairy substitute) 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Process all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 2 cups.
My files – source unknown
PEPPERS AND POTATOES (meat or pareve)
2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup minced seeded tomato 2 cups cubed peeled baking potato, 1 cup red bell pepper, bite-sized pieces 1 cup yellow bell pepper, bite-sized pieces 1 cup orange bell pepper, bite-sized pieces 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 10 1/2 ounces (1 can) ready-to-serve chicken or vegetable broth (not condensed) 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup sliced pimento-stuffed olives or black olives (your choice)
In a large skillet with a lid heat the oil. Add the onion and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, mix to combine and sauté 1 minute. Add the tomato, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add potato, bell peppers, salt, black pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in basil and olives. Let stand, covered, 20 minutes and serve. Serves 8
My files – source unknown
SWEET POTATO KUGEL WITH RED PEPPERS (meat or pareve)
4 large (2 pounds) sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2 in. chunks 1 onion, quartered 1/ 2 to 3/4 cup parsley 1 large red bell pepper, cored and diced in 1/2- inch pieces 1/2 cup ground almonds 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth 2 eggs 2 egg whites 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon white pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 2 to 3 quart baking dish. Place 1/2 of the sweet potatoes in a food processor with 1/2 of the onion, and chop coarsely (do this in 2 batches). Add parsley and process to chop sweet potatoes finely. Spoon into a large bowl. To the bowl add the red pepper, almonds, broth, eggs and egg whites, 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Drizzle remaining oil over the top. Cover lightly with foil. Bake in preheated oven 65 to 75 minutes removing foil last 20 minutes and cook until top is golden. Serves 6 to 8
Submitted by Lori Eckstein Philadelphia PA (modified from about.com)
HOT STUFF CASSEROLE (dairy)
7 oz. can green chilies, drained 3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, sliced 4 large eggs 1 1/2 cup evaporated milk 1/4 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt sliced avocado and sour cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter an 11×7 glass baking pan. Arrange the chilies on the bottom of the casserole. Top with an even layer of the cheese and then the sliced tomatoes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they are frothy. Gradually whisk in the evaporated milk, flour and salt. Carefully pour over the layers in the dish. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve in squares and garnish with sour cream and avocado slices. Serves 6 to 8
Modified from yummly.com
SMOKY STUFFED PEPPERS (fish, dairy)
6 large bell peppers, tops cut off, seeded 12 oz. smoked white fish, broken into small pieces 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth 4 plum tomatoes, chopped 2 cup instant brown rice 1 cup chopped fresh basil 1 cup finely shredded smoked cheese, such as mozzarella, cheddar or gouda, divided
Place your rack in upper third of oven. Place peppers cut side down in a large microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with 1/2 inch of water, cover and microwave 7 to 10 minutes but no more, they still need to be somewhat firm. Save the water.
In a skillet combine the broth, tomatoes and rice. Bring the mixture to a boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes until the rice is done. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, about 5 minutes. Uncover and add the smoked fish, basil and half the cheese into the rice mixture. Mix to combine. Preheat the broiler. Place the peppers in a greased 9X13 glass baking pan. Divide the mixture between the peppers, then top with the remaining cheese. Pour the pepper water into the bottom of the 9X13 pan. Broil until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes
Modified from eatingwell.com
© Eileen Goltz bell peppers 14a