Meatless Monday: Stuffed Peppers

Fill bell peppers with brown rice, mashed potatoes and spices for an Indian twist on traditional stuffed peppers.
By: Michelle Buffardi

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American stuffed peppers are usually packed with ground meat and rice or breadcrumbs, sometimes covered in tomato sauce, and baked till they're tender. But the American way isn't the only way; stuffed peppers are common across the globe -- in Mexico, Chiles Rellenos are poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, then battered and fried. The Spanish stuff their peppers too, often the piquillo variety, filling them with rice, manchego cheese, cod or beef, and in India, peppers are stuffed with mashed potatoes, onions and spices. Spice Goddess Bal Arneson adds brown rice to mashed potatoes in her Indian-spiced stuffed peppers, making them a filling meal and a great way to use up leftover rice or mashed potatoes.

The recipe calls for pomegranate powder -- you can find that in Indian markets, health and specialty foods stores or online. If you can't find pomegranate powder, use a squeeze of lime juice instead, but if you do buy it, also try it in Bal's Vegetarian Burgers, or add a teaspoon to a fruit smoothie.

Courtesy of Bal Arneson

Serves: 3
2 potatoes, boiled and then mashed
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala
Pinch red chile flakes
1 teaspoon pomegranate powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 peppers, red, yellow or green

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the mashed potatoes, spinach, rice, ginger, garam masala, pomegranate powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well.

Cut the tops of the peppers off, removing the stems and then scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Fill each pepper with 1/3 of the potato filling and mound it around the rim. Place them in a baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the peppers are a little wrinkly and soft and the filling is golden.

Meatless Monday Movers and Shakers

This week's mover and shaker is Denise Richards: animal activist, former Bond Girl, Dancing With the Stars contestant, star of Drop Dead Gorgeous, Scary Movie 3, Wild Things, and a 1991 deodorant commercial, and most famously, ex-wife to Charlie Sheen. Denise has recently become a proponent of Meatless Monday, sharing meat-free recipes each week on her website (found in the Health and Fitness section). Denise says, in her inaugural Meatless Monday post, that her diet is 80% vegetarian, and that veggie dishes are her one of her favorite things to cook.

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