Vegan Stuffed Pepper and Tomato (Cafe Natasha)

First Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:00 am  STL


Yield: 2 to 4 servings

1 cup TVP (texturized vegetable protein; see note)

1 cup boiling water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon pressed or crushed fresh garlic

1 cup tomato paste, divided

1/4 teaspoon dried mint leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried savory leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup yellow split peas, cooked and drained (see note)

1/2 cup cooked basmati rice (see note)

2 medium green bell peppers (about 3 inches in diameter)

2 medium tomatoes (about 3 inches in diameter)

1 small onion, peeled and diced fine

5 to 6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced fine

1 teaspoon advieh Persian spice blend (see note)

1. Place TVP in a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over TVP and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Combine vegetable oil and olive oil. Heat 6 tablespoons of the oil mixture in an 8-inch or 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, reduce the heat to low and stir for 3 to 4 minutes, until garlic is fragrant and soft.

3. Stir the TVP into the skillet, and mix well with a spatula, breaking up the TVP until the texture is fine.

4. Increase the heat to medium. Add 1/2 cup tomato paste, mint, savory, salt and pepper. Cook until tomato paste is incorporated, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add cooked yellow split peas and turn mixture with a wooden spoon. Carefully stir in cooked rice with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if using a clear glass pan).

6. Slice off and reserve green pepper tops. Remove the seeds and the membranes. Slice off and reserve tops of medium tomatoes. Seed and core medium tomatoes. Hollow out those tomatoes. Reserve tomato pieces, but not the seeds and juice.

7. Stuff tomatoes and peppers with rice mixture. Replace the top on each vegetable. Place in a 3-quart casserole with a lid. Cover; bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. The tomatoes may be done first; if so, remove from the casserole dish and return the peppers to the oven.

8. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 3-quart pan. Add onion; cook for 5 to 8 minutes over medium-low heat, until the onions turn translucent. Add diced plum tomatoes and tomato pieces from the medium tomatoes. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

9. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup tomato paste. Stir in advieh. Cook until the sauce is thick and dark red, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

10. For each serving, place a stuffed pepper and/or tomato on a plate; top with sauce. Pool additional sauce on the plate. Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 2): 975 calories; 56g fat; 8g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 40g protein; 85g carbohydrate; 25g sugar; 23g fiber; 1,335mg sodium; 250mg calcium.


• TVP is available at Whole Foods Market and from Bob’s Red Mill.

• Any long-grain rice may be substituted for basmati rice. Yellow split peas and basmati rice are available at Jay International Foods, 3172 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis; and at Global Foods Market, 421 North Kirkwood Road in Kirkwood.

• To make your own advieh spice blend, stir together equal parts ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground cumin and ground dried rose petals (optional). Store in an airtight container.

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