Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Stuffing peppers with nutrients: Protein-rich wild rice in peppers makes a powerful, tasty and colorful everyday meal

Shake up your routine this school year with a healthy and delicious weeknight meal the whole family will enjoy.

All too often, a family’s busy routine doesn’t allow for much time to create a meal the kids will enjoy, especially if the meal involves a vegetable. I’ve created an affordable recipe of fresh green peppers stuffed with a wild rice mixture that’s topped with marinara sauce. It is a colorful dish that’s also a real time saver in the kitchen.

Green peppers are a rich source of vitamins A and C, and when cooked al dente, they retain their crunch and slightly sweet taste. Wild rice contains approximately twice the amount of protein and fiber as brown rice. Tomato sauce and cheese are the perfect complements to bring all the flavors together for a meal every family member will enjoy. After all, the most important ingredient is the love shared when family and friends eat together.

Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers with Marinara
Makes 4 servings

4 large green peppers, cored with tops cut away and seeds removed
6 cups prepared wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
Sea salt, to taste
Maria’s marinara sauce (see recipe below) or your favorite jarred marinara sauce (heated per instructions)
Grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, enough to fit 4 peppers. When water boils, drop in peppers and parboil until al dente, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the peppers with tongs and drain upside down on paper towels.

In a large bowl combine wild rice with olive oil and feta cheese. Season with salt, to taste.

Heat up marinara sauce or prepare my homemade marinara sauce (below) ahead of time.

Stuff peppers whole with wild rice, packing the rice mixture in with your hands.

Gently cut peppers in half and lay them on a serving tray. Top peppers with warm marinara sauce, garnish with Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Maria’s Marinara
Makes 4 servings

6 medium-size ripe tomatoes, roasted (directions follow)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
Red wine (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Chicken seasoning powder (Knorr recommended), to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds (optional)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Arrange the tomatoes on the sheet pan and roast for 30 to 35 minutes. When tomatoes have cooled, remove peel, core and purée in small batches in a blender.

Transfer tomato purée to a large saucepan. Bring to a slow boil and add tomato paste. Using a whisk, add water until you reach desired consistency. (I like to substitute a bit of red wine for some of the water). Add remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat covered for about 25 to 30 minutes.

*This story by Maria Desiderata Montana first appeared in the U-T San Diego.