For Whom the Bell Pepper Tolls

I promise you right here and now: This post contains absolutely no avocados. None. Avocado may be this ‘magical wonder food’ that vegetarians thrive off of always finding a way to eek into every single thing. Enough is enough. I hereby, at least for the duration of tonight’s dinner, cast off the shackles of avocado and delight in sharing something that, while green, has virtually nothing else in common with the magical staple in vegetarian diets.

This was the thought that prompted me to decide that we would have bell peppers; stuffed bell peppers to be precise. Now I know what you’re thinking and you’re right: Stuffed bell peppers are traditionally a meat based meal. However, ever since my triumph with the burgers and sweet potato meatballs (post on this one is coming soon!), I’ve started looking at those sacred ‘meat meals’ in a new light. Just because someone is a vegetarian shouldn’t exclude them from time honored dishes.

Tonight while Abbie was hell-bent on world domination (she plays Risk), I made the wisest decision I’ve made in some time: I left the room. Why? Because I know that it’s never a great idea to be in the same room with your girlfriend when she loses a major battle and subsequently all of Europe in a single round. It’s not pretty. Trust me. Knowing that she had a rather long and ‘bloody’ road ahead of her in Risk and knowing that I was basically winging the bell pepper idea, I began making dinner. Not to mention her battles added just a smidgeon of pressure. For me, that is. I mean, who in their right mind would serve the new world dictator a sub-par meal? Not this guy.

I rolled up my metaphoric sleeves and got to work on augmenting the bell pepper recipe that my mother used to make me. I’ll include the recipe in a moment but first: I know your mom probably has a bell pepper recipe too. I know this because all moms have a bell pepper recipe and each one, while exactly the same at the core, is just a tad different than all the others. I also know that you probably feel that their bell peppers are vastly superior to the one I’m about to provide and you’re probably right. My mother may be a lot of things but being a remotely decent chef is not one of them. She does however order a mean takeout.

The traditional stuffed bell pepper recipe is basically fried hamburger meat (usually seasoned in some special way), and uncooked minute rice jammed into a bell pepper. Cover the whole deal in pasta sauce and pop it in the oven for an hour at 375 degrees. Presto. Stuffed peppers.

While that may be fine and dandy for me to consume, it wouldn’t be so great for the new world dictator. Abbie’s version looked more like this:

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

4 potatoes, boiled mashed
2 cups of spinach sautéed in butter and garlic
1 cup quinoa cooked according to the package

Once everything is ready, mix together and use that as a filler for the peppers instead of hamburger and rice.

Instead of spaghetti sauce I used a custom blend of salsa (about half of a jar) and barbecue sauce (about 1/4 cup). The sauce combination is completely optional and may come off as strange to most people so do feel free to change as you see fit. A tip though, regardless of the sauce you use, when you go to bake these add a quarter cup of water to the bottom to prevent the peppers from drying out.

As I was removing the peppers from the oven I heard a sound of absolute triumph emanate from the living room. While I was making dinner Abbie had apparently reconsolidated her forces and, in just over the 35 or so minutes this takes to make, conquered the world. Let’s all hope that under her guidance, grace, and leadership we can eradicate world hunger, educate the world, reduce pollution and, most importantly, continue to defy our avocado overlords and make vegetarian friendly meals that just say no to avocado-kind.

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