12 Meals of Christmas – Day 8 – Stuffed Peppers

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

In my vegetarian Christmas dinner, stuffed peppers are often the main event. For those of you who have never had them, they don’t sound all that filling – yet, after you’ve devoured one pepper, you’ll soon realise just how deceptive this dish can be. The beauty of stuffing any vegetable is that you can change your filling from day to day. It’s also really easy to do, making stuffed peppers the perfect dish for a midweek meal. Make batch of these and you can enjoy them right up until Christmas, saving yourself some money and time too.

Here, I’ve created a mix of colours to add a touch of extravagance to your winter afternoon. I’ve used vegan cheese to top these peppers, but cheddar, parmesan and Stilton will all do the trick just fine. If you are using dairy cheeses, pop the peppers back into the oven once you’ve grated the cheese on top and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the cheese is properly melted.

Stuffed Peppers (Serves 2) VG (Without dairy cheese)

Three peppers, halved and de-seeded

Half of a courgette, chopped into small chunks

One onion, diced

A clove of garlic, crushed

Three florets of broccoli

A teaspoon of rosemary

A teaspoon of paprika

A couple of handfuls of vegan parmesan
or 25g of grated cheddar/crumbled Stilton

A couple of lugs of olive oil

Seasoning

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5/180C. Taking your pepper halves, arrange on a baking tray and dash over your olive oil, seasoning and a teaspoon of rosemary. Pop the peppers into the oven once it’s hot enough and then start preparing your filling.

Pop another lug of olive oil into a saucepan and turn the hob onto a medium heat. Slide in your onion first, and then a couple of minutes later slide in your courgette. Fry the vegetables until they start to turn brown before removing from the heat.

Once the peppers have been cooking in the oven for around 20 minutes, take them out and start filling them with your onion and courgette and then the crushed garlic. Slide your baking tray back into the oven for a further 10 minutes, to give the onion and courgette a good colour. If you’re adding dairy cheese, grate your Stilton, parmesan or cheddar over the tops of the peppers once the 10 minutes are up, before returning the peppers to the oven until the cheese starts to brown.

If you’re doing this the vegan way, go straight to adding the grated broccoli. You want to put the florets through the smaller holes as this will create a beautiful, slightly crunchy topping. Finally, add your vegan parmesan. This combo works fantastically with the roasted peppers and flavoursome filling.

If you’re doing it the dairy way, slide your peppers out of the oven. Pop them onto a work surface and grate the broccoli over the top as a garnish.

Serve with a simple salad and dressing for the ultimate, healthy experience. You can also add fresh herby potato wedges if you want to be naughty.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

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Apple and Hazelnut Pastries

Thanks to everyone who voted over on Instagram! Here is the apple and hazelnut pastry as requested. I want to hear your thoughts – drop them in the comments below. Happy baking.

The best recipes are often accidents. In fact, over 50% of the food that I cook is improvised and, as such, doesn’t always turn out the way I wanted. Yet, in the case of these tarts, this was happy accident indeed.

Taking my spare puff pastry sheet I had in the fridge, I decided to slice up homegrown apples and arrange them on top. And what a result! These pastries are best enjoyed as a light snack, or why not eat them fresh and cover them in custard?

Apple and Hazelnut Tarts (Serves 12)

A sheet of ready-made puff pastry

Two tablespoons of caster sugar

Two apples, cored and peeled

A couple of handfuls of chopped hazelnuts

Cinnamon

An egg, beaten

Honey

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C. Next, grease a muffin tray ready for your tarts.

You want to slice your apples thinly lengthways to begin with. Set these aside and grab your ready-made pastry sheet. Before you begin cutting, take your two tablespoons of caster sugar and sprinkle them over the top of the pastry. Lightly, taking both palms, press the sugar into the top of the pastry. Using the bottom of a glass, cut out several circles and placing these into your tray, gently press them into each case.

You’ll find that you’ll have a little bit of pastry left over. Use this to line the tops of each case. Finish the pastry by glazing it with a brush and the egg yolk. Make sure that the whole tart is covered as this is what will give it that golden look later on!

Next, arrange your apple slices over the top of each tart. Scatter cinnamon, the chopped hazelnuts and the honey over the tarts before placing them into the oven for around 20-30 minutes or until golden.

Once the pastry has puffed up and the tarts look golden on the top, remove them from the oven. You can either serve them up immediately as a delicious dessert with fresh icecream or custard, or place them into an airtight container and store for up to 3 days.

 

Stay tuned for more chances to vote on the next recipes by following me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I hope you enjoy these tarts as much as I do!