I like to make a colorful pan of stuffed peppers vegetarian, served with a nice salad. The secret is tempeh, a fermented soy product available in the tofu section of the produce case. Tempeh can be crumbled and used like ground meat, and its nutty flavor is delicious played off the sweetness of the bell peppers and fresh tomato sauce. Healthy, tasty, and very good for you, you won’t miss the meat. (Of course you can use ground meat if you wish.) You can make these ahead without placing in sauce. Wrap the stuffed peppers individually in clear wrap or a plastic bag; refrigerate or freeze.
21. Blanch seeded pepper halves by boiling five minutes. Handle carefully with tongs. Shock in icewater. Drain well.
33. In a large skillet, place olive oil, and heat on medium till shimmering; add onions and garlic,, stirring often, for about four minutes till soft. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Add tempeh and press with a fork to improve the crumble texture.
44. Add mushrooms and ½ cup reserved sauce, stirring to coat.
55. Add bread crumbs, ¼ cup of the parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir well.
66. Fill pepper halves with tempeh mixture, dividing evenly. Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes or till sauce is bubbling and peppers are tender.
77. Mix mozzarella with remaining parmesan. Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese mixture; return to oven till cheese is melted and browning. Serve orzo pasta topped with a pepper half or two and a dollop of sauce.
If you need to double the servings to six peppers (12 halves), you can increase the filling without needing more tempeh by adding 6-8 more mushrooms, a can of well-drained petite diced tomatoes, and a half bag of washed baby spinach. Increase oil to 3 Tbs and double the breadcrumbs and cheese. Cooked rice can also help stretch it.