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October 2010

Bulgur Stuffed Peppers

With a few last bell peppers still camping out in the summer garden, I snagged them all up this past weekend before they went to the ground. Initially planning on throwing them in with some other veggies and doing a veggie roast, I decided instead to do something more creative:  Stuffed peppers.

I packed the peppers with iron-rich bulgur wheat, threw in a few herbs and a fresh chili for a kick of heat, and then ended up adding some soy crumbles at the last minute for a boost of protein.  If you’re not a fan of soy protein, try tossing in beans, chopped nuts, or a combination of the two instead.

Carrying with it both a lightness of summer and a heartiness suited for fall, this was the perfect meal to end a slightly cool, late October day.  Feel free to top the peppers with cheese (such as parmesan or feta) for an extra element of flavor, or keep it vegan like I often prefer to do.

Vegan Bulgur Stuffed Peppers

  • -3 large bell peppers, or 4 small/medium-sized peppers
  • -1 small onion, chopped
  • -3 cloves garlic, minced
  • -1 chili pepper, minced
  • -1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • -1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • -1 cup Morning Star Soy Crumbles (or an equivalent soy-based crumble)
  • -1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • -1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
  • -1 cup reserved pepper water
  • -1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • -Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:  Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, slice top off of peppers, and discard seeds and membranes.  Chop excess pepper remaining around tops, and set aside.  Submerge peppers in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove and set aside, saving 1 cup of water used for boiling peppers.

Preheat oven 350F.  Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and chili pepper 6-8 minutes, until tender.  Add basil and bulgur, salt and pepper, to taste, and cook an additional minute.  Stir in tomatoes and one cup of pepper water.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add soy crumbles, and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in parsley and remove from heat.  Adjust salt and pepper, to taste.

Place peppers in a lightly greased baking dish.  Use a spoon to stuff peppers with bulgur mixture.  Lightly drizzle olive oil over top.  Cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven.  Bake 30 minutes, or until fork tender.  Remove cover and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let sit for at least 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve.

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Halloween Mix

STOP!  Don’t waste those seeds!

Carving pumpkins with your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews?  Or maybe you’re extending your youth and sculpting up jack-o-lanterns with your friends like I continue to do every year?  Either way, don’t scrap the seeds from that big orange ball waiting to be put to the sword.

Those oval seeds hidden inside pumpkins are full of both flavor and nutrients.  Pumpkin seeds are B-vitamin (needed for cell metabolism) and magnesium (playing a role in maintaining strong bones and reducing risk of metabolic syndrome–i.e. what can lead to heart diseases, stroke, and hypertension) powerhouses.  They are also rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the healthy kinds), and even lend a few grams of protein per serving.

So don’t just dump those pumpkin seeds out with the rest of your jack-o-lantern scraps.  Instead, wash those babies up and roast them in the oven.  For a real Halloween treat, follow the recipe below, throwing in a little spooky spice and sweet candy corn.  A perfect costume party nibbler and kid (of any age) pleaser.

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Mix

  • -1 1/2 cup whole raw pumpkin seeds, washed and throughly patted dry
  • -2 tsp. olive oil
  • -1 tsp. salt
  • -1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • -1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • -3 Tbsp. candy corn, chopped

Preheat oven 375F.  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss pumpkin seeds with oil, salt, curry, and cayenne.  Spread on baking sheet.  Place in oven, and bake 35-45 minutes, or until seeds are browned, stirring 2-3 times throughout.  Remove from oven, and stir in candy corn.  Cool and store in airtight container.

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