Thanksgiving preparation went as smoothly as it could go (especially with the amount that was made), all baked goods had their final touches, potatoes were peeled and soaking in water, bread was diced for stuffing and set aside in the freezer until needed. It was the night before Christmas – Just kidding, Thanksgiving; and our large family dinner was all was under control. It was 9:45 on Saturday and I was calling it quits in the kitchen after a few hours of fun. Then my phone lit up and it was my uncle letting me know his girlfriend is vegan – A vegan was coming to thanksgiving dinner; a dinner that was specifically made to accent the flavour of the turkey.
Fast forward to Sunday – (it was 10:30 a.m.), the oven was on preheat, turkey was getting stuffed with various vegetables and rubbed with a selection of fresh and dried herbs. Knives were chopping, pans sautéing, parents yelling – usual pre holiday shindig in the kitchen. After realising everything was probably way ahead of schedule, the stressful aura in the kitchen disappeared. I was alone with a cutting board and a pot, wondering what to do for a vegan meal that would be filling, and kept some of the fall flavours incorporated. After a few minutes of staring aimlessly into the abyss; it came to me; a stuffed pepper, exploding with some fall favourites.
I grabbed a knife and got to it – dicing onion, potato, sweet potato, apple, and jalapeno. Once everything was prepped; I heated up my pan, coated it lightly with olive oil and sautéed the onion and jalapeno until soft and the onion was translucent in colour. After adding the potatoes and apple and letting it sweat out a tad; I measured a cup of quinoa and vegetable stock, brought it to a boil and let it rest on low until all the water had been absorbed. During the whole process I seasoned as I went, adding a majority of the same type of herbs that were included in the turkey rub – such as sage and oregano, salt and pepper.
After the quinoa was just about cooked, a can of black beans and fresh diced tomatoes were added; avocados were then diced and folded into the mixture before being put into the gutted green peppers. On a baking sheet, I had 4 peppers (tops cut off, and all seeds gutted), I lightly oiled the peppers and seasoned them with salt and pepper before adding the filling into them, the peppers were quite large so it was about 15-20 minutes before they were cooked to a consistency that I was looking for. Since I had made the filling in advance I had to also make sure that the filling was warm before taking them out of the oven, to make it faster; the green peppers could cook at the same time as the filling is being finished so both are cooked and hot and ready to serve right away.
Here is a rough estimate on how much of each ingredient I used:
- 1 medium sweet potato – diced
- 1/3 cup white potato – diced
- 1/3 cup gala apple – peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup onion – diced
- 1 Tablespoon jalapeno – minced
- 1 540 ml can black beans
- 1 540 ml can of diced tomatoes – juice strained
- 3 avocados – diced
Sautee onion and jalapeno on medium heat until onion is translucent in colour, add both types of potato and apple and sweat out until vegetables start to soften. Add preferred seasonings as you go. Once vegetables are slightly softened, add quinoa and vegetable stock; bring to a boil then let rest until water is absorbed. Mix the can of black beans and diced tomatoes, fold in diced avocado. Season until satisfied with flavour components.
The recipe turned out great for a last minute idea; fall inspired vegan stuffed peppers. This recipe makes a ton; I was able to stuff 4 large green peppers and have leftover mixture that I used later in the week for vegan tacos on Boston leaf lettuce. Alone is great as a quinoa salad, or a side to the rest of the leftovers from Thanksgiving. If I were to remake this, I would most likely change the quantity of the apple in this recipe as I didn’t get enough of the flavour; I think I would leave out the white potato and substitute for more gala apple, but overall I was very happy with how this turned out; and my uncle’s girlfriend loved it – as well as my uncle, and so did I, even 3 days later, it tastes just as good.
If you were to make this for a family of 4 and didn’t want many leftovers, I would suggest cutting the recipe in half, and if you do end up trying this; I hope you enjoy and please share with me how it turned out and if you liked it or not!