If you have an outdoor Farmers’ Market in your city, make sure you don’t miss it especially during the summer months. It really is an amazing experience. Next to growing and picking your own vegetables, a Farmers’ Market will give you the next best experience. It’s actually sort of gratifying to put a face to the guy who cultivated your food, don’t ‘ya think?
And you will almost always see something new, I promise. I found purple bell peppers at our market one day. Aren’t they pretty? They smell good too. Just like regular peppers, but with a subtle fruity note.
The pictures don’t do it justice, they are prettier in person!
I knew it would be a crime to just cut them up and put them in some dish. So I decided to stuff them. Believe me, stuffed peppers are way more easier than they look.
You can make a bowl full of your favorite stuffing and use a little for a couple of stuffed peppers whenever needed. Refrigerate the leftover filling and use it up over a few days.
I decided to stuff the peppers with bulgur wheat and more vegetables from the Market, combining them together to make a light pilaf. It’s super easy, filling yet light, packed with nutrients and tastes absolutely amazing. Use stock or broth to cook the bulgur, it really adds to the flavor. The pilaf is good enough to be eaten alone as well. I seem to be using bulgur wheat a lot nowadays, in savory and sweet dishes.
You can top the peppers with cheese or not, but adding cheese helps keep the pilaf stuffing moist or else the top layer might end up slightly dried and crunchy. I don’t use cheese much in our diet, but I have cheese slices in the fridge for the occasional craving. I cut them up and use them on the rare occasion a recipe calls for cheese. I use them in pasta sauce as well, it is one of the easiest cooking hacks ever!
Back to the recipe now.
BULGUR WHEAT VEGETABLE PILAF STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
You will need: (For 4 large peppers, with a little leftover filling)
For the pilaf,
- Bulgur wheat – 1 cup
- Stock or water – 2 1/2 cups
- Butter or oil – 1 tbsp
- Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
- Garlic – 2 pods, finely chopped
- Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
- Cilantro leaves – a small handful, finely chopped
- Salt – to taste
- Cherry tomatoes – 6 (or 1 regular tomato), chopped
- Jalapeno peppers – 1, de-seeded and finely chopped
- Vegetables of choice – a small handful (like green peas, corn, chopped zucchini, etc)
For stuffed peppers,
- Bell peppers – 4
- Shredded cheese – a handful (or use 4 cut up cheese slices)
- Oil – for brushing
- Heat a skillet on high and lightly roast the bulgur wheat. Keep stirring constantly till you get a nutty aroma and the bulgur turns a light golden color, 3-4 minutes tops. Remove and keep aside.
- In a large pot, bring the stock or water to boil. If you are using water or unsalted stock, add 1/2 tsp salt. Turn the heat all the way down and add the roasted bulgur wheat. Stir well and close the lid. The bulgur will absorb all the liquid, in like 5-10 minutes (depending on the coarseness of the bulgur, so keep checking in between). Open and fluff lightly with a fork. Remove from heat and keep aside.
- In the skillet you used earlier, heat the butter or oil. Add onions and garlic and saute till onions are translucent. Add cumin powder and cilantro leaves. Add all other vegetables except tomatoes and stir well. Season with salt (and black pepper too, if you like).
- Add this vegetable mixture to the cooked bulgur. Add the tomatoes too and combine well. Your bulgur vegetable pilaf is now ready. Allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 375 deg.F.
- Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove their seeds and veins. Microwave them on high for a minute, just to get them slightly tender. Spoon in the filling into each pepper and top with shredded cheese. Brush oil very lightly on the pepper skins and tops.
- Place them upright on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or till the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
- Remove from oven, let cool slightly, top each bell pepper with the cut-off portion (as mini hats!) and serve.
- For a non-vegetarian filling, add browned meat like chicken, ham or turkey to the filling mixture.
- Replace bulgur with your favorite grain. Brown rice and quinoa will be excellent choices.
- Make a huge batch of the pilaf just to eat it as such. It’s really delicious!
Such a nutritious and flavor-packed light meal, don’t you think?!!
Tell me, have you tried stuffed peppers? What did you think?
Do you like bulgur? Try this easy recipe to get started with cooking bulgur wheat, a really great addition to your diet.
Do let me know your thoughts!
I am linking this up to parties at these awesome blogs.
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- By Stephanie Lynn