Capsicums (also known as bell peppers) are such versatile veggies that come in all funky shapes, colours and sizes. Yellow or orange capsicums are riper and sweeter than their younger, green siblings, but the fully ripe, red ones have the best sweetness and vitamin content. Fun fact: you can actually turn your green capsicums red by chucking it in a paper bag with a banana—the ethylene gas from the banana speeds up the ripening process.
This vegetarian stuffed capsicum recipe is a creative (and bloody delicious) way to eat capsicums (as well as zucchini and tomatoes!) and is light enough so that it doesn't leave you feeling stuffed. Plus, any leftover stuffing (cheesy, saucy rice) can be enjoyed on its own, too!
- serves 2
2 medium-large red capsicums
1/2 cup of uncooked arborio rice, rinsed
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 zucchini, grated
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
1/4 cup of grated mozzarella
40 grams of goats cheese (Meredith Dairy goat cheese is my go-to)
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional - only if you like it a tad spicy)
a generous pinch of salt and pepper
Slice the tops off each capsicum (about 2-3cm width from the top) and put aside (don't throw them away!). Gently cut the flesh out of the capsicum using a sharp, small knife and take out the seeds. Throw away flesh and seeds.
Boil water in a medium-large pot. Place the capsicums (including the tops) in the water. Cover and let them cook for about 7 minutes until they go a bit soft. Using tongs, take them of the water, shaking off any water trapped inside, and place them on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Don't throw out the boiling water!
Add a pinch of salt and the rice to the boiling water. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven on 180C. In a saucepan, add two tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat and throw in the grated zucchini. Cook for 10 minutes until softened, then add the can of tomatoes. Stir and season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if you like). Lower the heat a little and cook for about 15 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked, drain it and combine with the zucchini sauce back in the large pot. Cooking on low heat, stir in the parmesan and mozzarella. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and cayenne.
Time for the stuffing! Spoon the rice mixture into the standing capsicums until filled to the brim. Close the capsicums by placing their tops back on. Drizzle some olive oil on top and bake for 20 minutes. Take them out, turn them around (ever so delicately with tongs!) and bake for another 20 minutes or until you see the skin blacken and bubble slightly. Serve hot with an extra drizzle of olive oil on top. Enjoy with a side of salad and Greek yoghurt.