Despite being a meat-eating household, I cook a lot of vegetarian meals at home. After the decadent days of summer, I always try to incorporate more vegetables into my meals, and in the busy first few days of back-to-school, I’m keen to make big batches of healthy meals so I’ll have them on hand. The challenge is keeping those batch-cooked meals interesting, but there are loads of ways to do it.
Some of my favourite veggie meals to make are dishes like ratatouille and vegetarian chilli – these are both dishes that lend themselves very well to making big batches because they always taste even better the next day, but one of the most challenging things about leftovers is making them look just as appetising as the first time you served them – especially with a vegetable dish. Those gorgeous bright veggies lose some of their colour by the following day, and even though the flavours have had time to develop overnight, it can be a hard sell to a family who has already eaten the dish once.
There are lots of ways to smarten up veggie leftovers (quesadillas, lasagne, tacos, pasta sauce) but how about adding even more veggies to those leftovers? Stuffing peppers is a great way to use up leftover veggie chilli, and if you add some crunch and flavor with other ingredients as toppings, you can transform the chilli into a totally different meal!
How to make vegan chilli-stuffed peppers
1. You can either slice your peppers horizontally or vertically. I find cutting them vertically through the stalk makes it look prettier.
2. Once you have cut the pepper, make sure the side you are going to fill will sit flat by itself on the baking tray.
3. Use a sharp knife (I like a long, thin chef’s knife or very sharp paring knife) to remove the white membrane then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds.
5. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake at 350˚F/ 180˚C for about 35 minutes – until the peppers start to soften slightly. You don’t want to bake them for much longer – if the pepper skin gets too soft they will fall apart as you try to eat them!
6. Serve with a variety of toppings like cubes of avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, spring onions (scallions), chopped fresh coriander (cilantro). These will add freshness and colour and turn what could be tired leftovers into a bright new dish!