Who doesn’t love delicious, fresh, locally grown garden food! For me garden veggies and grilling meals are two of the very BEST parts of summer.
Many stuffed pepper recipes out there use things that I try my best to avoid, like canned creamed soups. Instead of using artificial, processed ingredients to make the stuffing creamy and flavorful, I used chopped grilled veggies. Especially the grill-roasted eggplant adds a wonderful creamy texture and amazing smoked flavor.
Best of all, besides the cheese and quinoa, all the ingredients came from our makeshift vegetable garden. So glad you don’t have to be an expert to get a harvest! If you didn’t have a chance to garden this season, hit up your local farmer’s market for some sweet fresh produce to create your own garden veggie variation of these delicious treats.
- 4-8 bell peppers
- 1-2 onions
- 2-3 small eggplant and/or zucchini
- 2-4 medium hot peppers, such as banana
- 2-3 cups cooked plain quinoa or brown rice
- 1 lb ground pork or sausage, browned
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Monterrey Jack)
- Seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder
- Cook the quinoa or brown rice on the stovetop or in a rice cooker so that it will be ready when you go to assemble your peppers.
- Grill some veggies!! We like to quarter small zucchini squash and eggplant lengthwise to create spears that are easy to marinade in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. This shape also makes them easy to turn on the grill. You’re looking for the outside of these veggies to get roasted and slightly blackened while being cooked slow enough that the inside gets soft and creamy. You’ll also want to cut an onion or two into quarters and roast them as well for extra flavor.
- Brown the ground pork. I like adding my own seasonings, such as fresh crushed black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, sea salt and a dash of sage to create my own sausage flavor without any hidden chemicals, nitrates or additives.
- Prep the bell peppers. Each bell pepper will create two stuffed peppers, so the number you will need depends on the size of your peppers and the number of people you are serving. You will likely want to use 1-2 peppers per person. Slice each pepper vertically and carefully cut away the stem and clean out the white veins inside.
- Grill the bell peppers. Place the peppers open side face down on a medium hot grill with the lid closed for about 5-10 minutes until they are softened and slightly browned or blackened. You want the peppers to be easy to cut and chew but still firm enough to hold their shape and contain the stuffing.
- Combine the stuffing. While the peppers are on the grill, you’ll want to chop the other grilled veggies and stir them in with the quinoa (or rice), the browned pork and about a half cup of shredded cheese which adds a little flavor and helps hold the stuffing together. At this point you’ll want to taste test your stuffing and add any additional salt, pepper, garlic powder or any other herbs and spices you desire.
- Stuff the peppers and melt the cheese. When the peppers come out of the grill, place them face up on a metal pan and stuff. Sprinkle the top with cheese and place back on a warm grill with the top closed long enough for the cheese to melt (another option at this point would be to broil them for about 1 minute).