These stuffed peppers bring back memories of the holiday season, with a rich and nutty filling that’s packed with whole grains, legumes, and veggies. The sweet bell peppers pair perfectly with the savoury stuffing, and give you a complete meal in a petite package.
Hulled barley is used in this recipe instead of pearl barley, although this grain takes longer to cook it gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. You can find hulled barley in the bulk section of most grocery stores; it typically looks a bit dusty and darker in colour compared to pearl barley.
Hulled barley still retains the nutritious bran layer, which gets removed through the polishing process to make pearl barley; similar to the comparison between whole-grain brown rice and refined white rice. Even though pearl barley cooks faster, I don’t think this makes the loss of nutrients worth the convenience.
Yields: 4 servings
- 4 medium sized bell peppers (red, orange, and yellow work best)
- 3/4 cup hulled barley
- 1/2 cup dry lentils
- 1 tbsp vegan butter (earth balance is our favourite)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced
- 5 button mushrooms, finely chopped (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the bell peppers by cutting a circle or square around the stem of the pepper, and pull the stem and seeds out, keeping the rest of the pepper intact. Set aside until stuffing is finished.
2. Rinse the barley in a sieve with cold water until the rinse water runs clear. Add barley to a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 80-90 minutes; barley is cooked when tender and liquid has cooked off.
3. Rinse the lentils in a sieve with cold water until the rinse water runs clear. Add lentils to a small pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes; barley is cooked when tender and liquid has cooked off.
4. While the lentils and barley are simmering, melt vegan butter in a large pan. Add onion and cook until soft and golden, about 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook 5-8 more minutes until mushrooms release their juices.
5. Add barley, lentils, walnuts, oregano, basil, paprika, miso, and nutritional yeast; cook for 30 seconds and stir well to blend in spices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Scoop filling into the peppers using a small spoon, pressing it down firmly so filling is tightly packed. Place the peppers on the prepared baking pan and bake for 20 minutes, until peppers are starting to soften.
7. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, the inside will be piping hot! I like to slice the peppers in half for serving.
Make it gluten-free: substitute brown rice for barley
Can be refrigerated for 2-3 days, reheat in the microwave or heating up in the oven.
Nutritional facts from: CRON-O-Meter
Types of Barley. (2016) Retrieved from: wholegrainscouncil.org
George mateljan foundation. (2016) Barley. Retrieved from: www.whfoods.com