These colorful peppers make a great centerpiece dish at the holiday table when opting out of traditional turkey or ham. Flavored with onion, garlic, thyme, apple, and parsley. Use all one color pepper or mix up the colors for an eye-catching presentation!
- 1¾ cups water
- 1 cup uncooked/dry wild rice blend
- 4 medium-large bell peppers of any color
- 6 medium cremini or white mushrooms, sliced (about 2½ cups)
- 1 medium yellow or white onion (about 2 cups)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 tart green apple, cored and thinly sliced (about 1¾ cups)
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion
- ½ cup chopped parsley (curly or Italian)
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (2 ounces; optional)
- ½ cup fresh orange or apple juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
- Place the water and rice into a medium saucepan over high heat. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid on. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Ready a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Slice the bell peppers lengthwise (don’t cut the stem off first). Remove the stems from each half, as well as any seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut-side up or down on the baking sheet, and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Place 1 tablespoon of water into a soup pot over medium-high heat. When the water starts to sputter, add the mushrooms, onion, and celery, and cook while stirring for 4 to 5 minutes, adding a little water, as needed to prevent sticking. Add the apple, and granulated garlic and onion, and stir for 1 minute, adding water as needed. Remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked rice to the pot of vegetables, along with the parsley, nuts (if using), orange juice, and thyme, and stir well. Fill each pepper half with ½ cup of the rice mixture. With a soup spoon, gently press the rice down into the curves of the pepper. Distribute the remaining rice evenly among the 8 peppers, creating a little mound on top. (You may have extra rice if your peppers are not large.)
- Bake covered (to retain more moisture) or uncovered for a slightly crusty top. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot as is or sprinkled with a little chopped thyme or parsley.
Any kind of rice can be used in this recipe, but I like the wild rice blends, which are often used in holiday dishes. (For long-grain rice, I cook as above, for 45 minutes; for short-grain cook for 50 minutes.)
Fresh fennel is a fun substitution for the celery.
Any tart apple will work well, but I like Granny Smith.
If you want to use fresh garlic instead of dried, I recommend 1½ tablespoons, added between the onion and apple when cooking.
Above: The prepared raw celery, onion and mushrooms. Preparing all your ingredients before you start cooking on the stove-top works well for this recipe, since it’s a bit more involved.
Above: The prepared pecans, apple, parsley, fresh thyme, and granulated onion and garlic.
Above: The peppers have been halved, with stems removed as well as the seeds and most of the white membranes.
Above: Filled and ready to go into the oven! (I baked these uncovered.) I am using a silicone baking mat here, but you can also use parchment paper (the peppers release juice when baking, so this keeps the juices from burning).
Above: Finished and ready to eat! I grated a little black pepper on top and garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme.
If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please share a comment below or on my Facebook page. If you’d like to print this recipe, use the green “Print” button near the top-right of the recipe. Learn more about the Straight Up Food Cookbook here. Thank you!