This is a traditional Greek dish served mainly in the Summer months to make use of the plethora of seasonal fresh vegetables and herbs. My version makes it ideal to be served any time of the year as a celebratory, festive and healthy main meal.
- 10 large red / yellow / green / orange peppers (you can choose 1 colour for a themed event or mix and match different coloured pepper). Alternatively, you can use, tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, onions or mushrooms (if in season).
- 500g baking potatoes, washed, scrubbed and cut in big chunks (skin on).
- 1 large white onion or half a leek finely chopped.
- 2 spoonfuls of Arborio rice per pepper.
- Olive oil and 2 spoonfuls of any other vegetable oil for frying.
- A handful of cranberries.
- A handful of roasted chopped chestnuts.
- A handful of pine nuts & walnuts roughly chopped (omit if you need to cook nut free and replace with pumpkin seeds or any other seeds you prefer).
- A small jar of sun dried tomatoes.
- 1 tin of cooked lentils.
- Salt & pepper & the juice of half an orange.
In a large frying pan add a splash of the vegetable oil and toss the potatoes for 5 minutes until lightly brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer them in a large over proof tray where you will then add the stuffed peppers.
Wash the peppers, carefully cut them open at the top, roughly 1 centimeter below the stem to create a lid. Scoop out any seeds and flesh. Arrange them nicely in the baking tray around the potatoes.
Use the same frying pan to cook the chopped onions on a slow heat for about 10 minutes until caramelized. Add the Arborio rice (calculate 2 spoonfuls per pepper), keep stirring. Season with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute until they turn slightly golden. Add the rest of the ingredients, (chopped cranberries, chestnuts, pine nuts, walnuts, chopped sun dried tomatoes and the drained and rinsed lentils). Saute for a minute or two and add 600ml of boiling water and the juice of 1/2 orange. Let them simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off. Allow to cool down for a bit.
Drizzle the peppers and potatoes with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil & a pinch of salt & pepper. Start filling the vegetables and cover with the lids. Splash them with a bit more olive oil, salt & pepper again.
Add 200 ml of water in the baking tray. Place them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 1 hour checking half way through and add some more water if necessary. The peppers should look golden brown when ready and the rice cooked through.
(If you use a fan assisted oven, please cover the tray for the first 45 minutes and cook at 170 degrees).
Place one pepper on a plate, add the potatoes and sprinkle with some more extra virgin olive oil.
Offer you guests sliced toasted bread or pitta bread with humus and Greek tzatziki (recipe here ) for a super tasty Mediterranean festive meal!
Have you ever made this dish? What are other alternative / healthier / vegan main meals you cook on special occasions? Share in the comments below or get in touch with me on Twitter @elenadaniilidou .