I am not a vegan. However, I have always loved my fruits and veggies and have recently began making the switch to a plant based lifestyle for my own health and for the benefit of the planet. My kids have also been asking for the change so I thought, why not? I’d go into more detailed reasons but that’s not really what this post is about. It’s easy enough to google the information or talk to a nutritionist about it.
Honestly, I’m pretty terrible at it, because baked brie, taco Tuesdays and SUSHI!!!! Plus, most of my easy go-to recipes at home usually involve fish, poultry, or red meat. I’ll also probably never give up real butter, eggs, and the occasional burger or venison if given the option. But if there’s a vegan option on a menu, I like to give it a try. I’m often surprised by the complimentary combinations of vegetables that I would never think to put together nor prepare that way.
I recently enjoyed a weekend away at Woodloch in the Poconos with my whole family, celebrating my step-father’s 70th birthday. The best way I can describe this wonderland is Dirty Dancing. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it. Fun for all ages, never a dull moment, activities, entertainment, and adventures abound… Seriously, it was the best!
Each fabulous dinner at Woodloch had a vegan option, so, wanting to expand my palate and my DIY options, I gave it a go.
Deliciously satisfying doesn’t event come close to the amazing dishes! I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to recreate anything remotely close, but after scouring the internet and the awesome cookbook Thug Kitchen, I was actually able to edit recipes as needed and recreate a vegan slice of heaven!
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! I can’t wait to make it again and play with the recipe for additional variations.
- 1 cup (tri colored sprouted) quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth plus a little extra for ragout (I make my own but store bought is ok too)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 8 cloves garlic (diced and split into 2 equal portions)
- 2 celery stalks (diced…I like to include the leaves for added flavor)
- 1 small-medium carrot (peeled and diced)
- 4 bell peppers (any color)
- 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 jar roasted red pepper (drained and blended)
- 1 can white kidney (cannellini) beans (drained and rinsed)
- Cooking oil (I use olive or coconut)
- Salt (I like Himalayan grinders)
- Red pepper flakes
- Balsamic glaze (the thicker the better)
- Arugula, spinach, or green vegetable of your choice. (I used my own home grown arugula… yep…I grew something!!!!)
Materials, gadgets, pots, and all that jazz:
- 2 pots (if I had to guess I’d say 4 quarts-ish?)
- Cuisenart or blender (not necessary but super helpful. I have a mini 4 cup and that was plenty)*
- Measuring cup
- Pie dish or something that can hold up the stuffed peppers in the oven
- Knives and cutting board (duh)
- Spatula/cooking spoon
- Aluminum foil (just to cover the peppers in the oven)
- Cut off tops of peppers and remove seeds and ribs. Set aside in oiled pie dish for later.
- Chop the leftover pepper from the tops
- Heat oil (let’s go with 1 tablespoon) in pot and add in the onion and 1/2 of the garlic.
- Add a pinch of salt if you desire.
- Cook for a few minutes until they begin to brown
- Add in celery, carrots, chopped peppers and cook for a few more minutes
- Pour in vegetable broth and quinoa and bring to a boil
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until most of the broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally
- Turn off heat and gently fold in black beans
- Spoon quinoa into peppers to the top
- Cover tightly with foil and bake in oven for about an hour at 350 (until peppers are softened)
- In other pot, heat oil and add in the rest of the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook a few minutes until browning
- Add in roasted red peppers and cannellini beans and simmer for about 10 minutes
- Blend the mixture (I poured it into the 4 cup cuisenart) and continue simmering.
- Add vegetable broth if needed. Ragout should be creamy (not dry or soupy)
- Spoon out ragout on plate
- Place stuffed pepper on top
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze
- Serve with arugula or spinach or really any green vegetable
*It should be noted that I used my cuisenart to dice the onions, the garlic, the carrots, the pepper tops, and blend the ragout never needing to rinse it out as all the flavors enhance one another. I also used the same spatula for stirring.