As has been our family tradition for the past few years, this Halloween saw carved and stuffed bell peppers on the menu. Wanting to update them somewhat, I came up with this recipe, loosely based on the first one that we ever used.
The kids have been dressing up for days. We’ve seen variations of pumpkins combined with ballerinas and Storm Trooper/Yoda hybrids, complete with Queen Elsa necklaces! There’s been more baking than usual taking place at Marzipan HQ. Today’s efforts consisted of sweet potato cookies with nuts, spices, chocolate chips and stevia. And there’s been nursery school parties, crafting, family movie nights with popcorn and Halloween themed story times.
In stark contrast to these festive activities, we have also observed the far more traditional Swedish custom of this time of year; that being the lighting of candles on Alla helgons dag, in quiet remembrance of loved ones no longer with us. This gorgeous video that I shared in a Halloween round-up post two years ago will surely illustrate the nature of this solemn yet lovely tradition for those unfamiliar with it.
And now, to this healthy, hearty, Halloween-perfect mealtime idea that is sure to please veg-loving diners of all ages…
Happy Halloween to all those celebrating and ❤ to you all regardless!
CARVED & STUFFED BAKED BELL PEPPERS
(a healthy Halloween treat!)
Prep Time: 10 Min | Cook Time: 30 Min | Serves: 3 (or 2 adults + 2 toddlers)
6 bell peppers
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 packet organic crushed tomatoes (around 390 g)
460 g mixed beans/beans of choice (approximately 2 tins, rinsed)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
200 ml cooked quinoa
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Prepare the peppers by cutting around the tops, twisting the “lids” off and removing pith and seeds (I use a small, very sharp knife for this). If carving a face, use the pointy end of a small knife, and do try to stick with carving angular shapes like triangles to make your task easier. Pop the cut pieces out with your little finger or a toothpick if they don’t come out straight away.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, then gently sauté the onion and garlic for around 10 minutes or until the onions have softened and turned translucent.
- Tip in the tomatoes. Simmer for a minute or two to reduce slightly.
- Add the drained beans to the pan and roughly mash some of them with a fork, so they break up a little – don’t overdo it, you want some to stay whole.
- Add the cumin, paprika and coriander, mix well and simmer on a low heat for around 5 minutes. Stir through pre-cooked quinoa, and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Remove pan from heat.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (fan). Stuff the mixture carefully into the peppers and top with the “hats”. You can also choose to construct your pepper by adding a heaped spoonful or two of bean and quinoa mince, followed by a little sprinkle of cheese (vegan or dairy), followed by enough mince to fill the rest of the pepper.
- Pop the stuffed, “hatted” peppers on a foiled-lined baking tray (one with higher edges works well for the peppers to lean against and remain upright) and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Serve the stuffed peppers hot, with smashed avocado on the side, if you like… and a green salad.
*Make-ahead tip: The peppers can be fully prepared and carved the night before baking and serving. Just follow step 1 above then pop the peppers into freezer bags or airtight containers, seal and refrigerate. The bean mix can also be prepared in advance. Follow steps 2-5 then allow the mix to cool a little before sealing in an airtight container and refrigerating. On the day of serving simply follow steps 6-8. So easy! This is what we did this year and it meant an impressive looking dinner that took minutes to make… the kids even helped to stuff their own peppers, which was part of the fun.