(Gluten Free, Vegetarian)
These baked peppers are stuffed with a delicious aromatic rice, cooked with fresh tomatoes and herbs and finally topped with melted cheese for that extra lush flavour!
Today’s recipe has been a total winner here for every member of the family, so much that I have made it twice in the space of a few days! Well, I had a lot of peppers in the fridge, as I managed to find them really cheap at the market. I always seem to be using peppers in the same foods, ie. pasta, soups, as toppings for pizza or toasted bread and I finally decided to made something a bit different with them. Baked peppers with an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G filling! Seriously, that filling is worth eating even by itself. Super simple but packed full of flavour: rice, fresh tomatoes, garlic, fresh parsley and basil, oh and a bit of tomato puree’ to give it that extra red colour ;).
Last but not least, I have topped the whole thing with just a tiny bit of grated cheese and baked for an extra 10 minutes to melt the cheese. The result? A super tender pepper with a soft centre that literally melts in your mouth!
Also did you know that peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C? Only half a pepper will provide your Daily Recommended Allowance for vitamin C! Not bad, hey?
Ok, that’s good, but it’s not complicated to make, right? Hey, It’s me you are talking, could I ever make something too complicated? No way! And when I do, you can be assured that I will give you every little detail and make it a lot easier for you. But for now, nothing too fancy or out of this world.
So, first you will have to bake the peppers. It can be quite annoying having to clean all the peppers from the seeds and chop them ( I know, I can be proper lazy sometimes, ha!), but like I already said, this time I made it simple. Just cut them in half, take the seeds off and that’s it, no more pepper chopping! Then, lay them on a well greased baking tray face down and turn them a couple of times to make sure they get covered a bit with that oil from the baking tray (you don’t want them to get burnt, do you?). Then just bake for about 35 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling. You will have to boil the rice according to instructions, but make sure you rinse the rice before and after cooking. That prevents it from becoming all sticky and mushy. I use the very cheap rice, the one that you can find in any supermarket for about 40p per 1kg bag. Which is great, if you are on a budget, but it can stick more than other kinds of rice. It usually takes 14-15 minutes to cook. Very important: do not cook it for longer, unless after that time is still very hard. Ideally it should be cooked “al dente”. We definitely don’t want to overcook it and make a big sloppy mess of a filling! Yuk! Once the rice is cooked, rinse under water and keep on the side. In a large frying pan cook the oil, garlic, fresh chopped herbs and tomatoes and then add the rice and tomato paste.
Cook for a few minutes longer and your filling is done. Once the peppers are cooked, fill them with the rice, top with cheese and bake for an extra 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Eat one, then repeat, as many times as you like!
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 peppers, any colour
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 240g rice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped in half
- 2 Tbsp tomato puree’
- 170g tomatoes, chopped (approx. 2 salad tomatoes)
- 12g fresh chopped parsley (one big bunch)
- 5g fresh chopped basil (a small bunch)
- 40g grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/gas mark 6.
- Grease a baking tray with olive oil.
- Clean the peppers, chop them in half and remove all seeds. Lay them face down on the baking tray and cook in the oven for 35 minutes, until they start to brown.
- In the meantime, prepare the filling. Rinse the rice under cold water, then cook it in plenty of salted boiling water for about 14-15 minutes, until cooked “al dente”. Drain the rice and rinse under some water. Keep aside.
- In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil and add the garlic, peeled and cut in half. Cook for a minute, then add the chopped fresh tomatoes and the herbs. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the rice with the frying pan, together with the tomato puree’ and an extra Tbsp of olive oil. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.
- When the peppers are cooked, remove from the oven and fill them with the rice mixture. Top each pepper with a tsp (5g) of grated cheese.
- Transfer back in the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!
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Have a great weekend!