Over the past few months I’ve cut down a lot on my pasta intake. My Italian roots won’t be happy, but my tummy certainly is. My health hasn’t been that great this year, so without going into too much detail in this post, I have tried to cut out certain foods within my diet. And (I’d never, ever, EVER thought I’d say this) one of them is gluten. And before you think oh here we go another food blogger jumping on the bandwagon of healthy eating, it was 15 years ago that I was told I had a gluten intolerance by a holistic doctor. After a stint of 90’s gluten free bread, which was so heavy it could’ve killed a duck if you threw it some breadcrumbs and no alternatives to pasta, I went about a month before I caved in. It was never spoken or thought about again. Until now that is.
Apart from pasta, I’ve realised that actually lots of the food I cook is naturally gluten free, including this recipe. My stuffed peppers are another Turkish inspired dish from my family archive. My auntie passed it onto my mum, who adapted it for her café customers, who then passed it onto me, who has now adapted it from white rice to brown as well as vegetarian to vegan. They’re great served as part of a mezze (I say this about all my recipes, I think I’m obsessed with mezze eating!) Or serve with a nice big salad. No Bread.
6 Bell Peppers
1 Small courgette
1 Small onion
3 Garlic cloves (crushed)
225g Brown rice
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Sumac (optional)
1 ltr Vegetable stock (I use Bouillon)
Salt and pepper
Method – Makes 6
- Cook the brown rice for half of the time it suggests on the packet.
- While the rice is cooking you can prep the peppers and filling – Wash the peppers and cut the tops off, making sure the green stalk is still attached so you can use the top of the pepper for a lid. De-seed and place all six in a saucepan so they stand upright. Set aside.
- Dice the onion and gently fry in a medium sized frying pan with a little olive oil. Dice the courgette into small pieces and add to the pan along with the crushed garlic. Add the currants and spices.
- By this time your rice should be ready. Drain it and add it to the pan. Stir to combine everything, turn up the heat and add your stock. Once it starts bubbling turn down to a low heat and let simmer until the liquid has evaporated and the rice has fully cooked. Add more liquid if needed. Once cooked, taste and season.
- Spoon the rice into the peppers, filling them to the top, then place the top of the pepper back on. Repeat, so all six peppers are filled.
- Carefully pour some boiling water into the saucepan, which the peppers are sitting in, making sure not to pour it over the peppers. The water should come up to about half the height of the peppers. Put a lid on, turn the hob onto a medium heat and let them simmer for 30 -45 minutes until the peppers have softened.
Tips: *If your peppers don’t sit upright in the saucepan because there is space around them, then squeeze an onion or a potato in next to them to make them sit tight.
*Add some olive oil to the pan of boiling water the peppers cook in. This will add a bit of flavour and soften them up nicely.
*If you’d prefer to use white rice, just cut out the first stage. Add your rice into the onion mixture without pre-cooking it.
*If you eat diary, then add some feta to the rice, just make sure you don’t over salt when seasoning.