This is a fun way to combine a Halloween project 🎃 for the kids (or adults) and a delicious dinner! You can carve the peppers and then stuff them with whatever filling you like, from rice and veggies to meat and cheese. We really love wild rice and it goes so well with arugula, shallots, goat cheese, mushrooms and the peppers. But if you want to add meat to this mixture, that would be delicious too, or come up with your own ideas, which might include tomatoes, ground meat, cheese and spices.
We love wild rice because it tastes so delicious and nutty, but it’s also really good for the body. Not actually rice at all, but rather unrefined seeds from marsh grasses that are grain-free, wild rice is full of antioxidants and high in fiber, which is great for the digestive system as well as the heart! And if all that isn’t enough, it’s got the best bite when cooked al dente! It’s delicious in stuffings, soups and pilafs.
Plan to carve the peppers before you cut the tops. The structure of the pepper is much stronger when it is whole, and that helps when cutting out their little faces! After you’ve created your face, then you can cut the top off the pepper and scoop out the seeds and the pith.
Stuffed Jack o’Lantern Peppers
- 4 orange bell peppers Need to be orange for this recipe!
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 shallots, or one small onion, chopped
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 3 oz. goat cheese, softened to room temp
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- 6 whole cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large egg, beaten (This is optional, but holds the filling together a bit better than without the egg!)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. lemon pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Crust Topping (From The Vegetarian Epicure’s recipe for stuffed baked eggplant)
- 1 cup toasted walnuts and/or pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- 1/2 cup half and half
Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- While still whole with stem in tact, carve the eyes and mouth of your Jack o’Lantern on each bell pepper. Then slice off the top keeping the stem in tact. Remove any seeds and white pith from the inside of the pepper and finish punching out any of your carvings that didn’t come loose from the outside. Don’t worry if the stem falls away from the top, you can just rest it on top when baking and no one will ever know the difference:)
- Heat oil in skillet and saute shallots over medium heat until translucent. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for five minutes longer. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook wild rice according to instructions. When cooked, mix with all of the remaining pepper stuffing ingredients: sautéed mushrooms and shallots, arugula leaves, goat cheese, egg, Parmesan, lemon pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Stuff the carved bell peppers with the wild rice filling.
- Melt butter and mix with all of the remaining ingredients.
- Distribute the topping evenly amongst the four bell peppers and spread out over the top of the rice filling.
- Replace pepper cap with stem onto each pepper and arrange stuffed peppers into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil.
- Bake, covered, at 350 F for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, uncovered. Serve hot.