Vegetable and Ricotta Stuffed Pepper Boats

Makes 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Cost: Guys I'm struggling here as most of my vegetables have been free, so this is a bit of a guess: $1.57

(zucchini: .15, tomato: .35, onion: .02, peppers: no idea really; I've honestly never purchased them; let's say: .40, ricotta: .50, feta: ..15)

Note: One of the great things about stuffed peppers is that you can substitute whatever you have. You can use whatever fresh veggies you've got. You can sub cottage cheese for the ricotta. You can sprinkle it with any cheese that milks your cow (although I like something with some punch like sharp cheddar, Parmesan, or feta). You can use couscous, rice, or quinoa in place of some or all of the ricotta. You can add bacon or sausage or ground beef if you wish to de-vegetarian this. Bread crumbs, sure. Paprika on top, why not? Hot peppers instead of banana, you're brave, but go for it. And, yes, you can even use just a regular old bell pepper. The point is that, if you like peppers, these babies are tough to mess up. Who doesn't love that in a food?

Note: I prepare the filling and just make one pepper at a time for lunch. So I make my pepper and then I put the leftover filling in the fridge so I can use it the next day to stuff another pepper for lunch. 

One final note: While I'm preparing the filling I like to throw the (de-stemmed, de-seeded) pepper I'm going to use into the oven while the oven heats and while I prepare the filling on the stove. This way it cooks a bit before I put the fillings in and the whole thing cooks a bit faster. 

Okay, this is really really the final note: It is possible you could skip sauteing the vegetables and just mix everything up, stuff the pepper, and then cook it a little longer in the oven. I think it goes faster with the stove to oven method, but if you've got plenty of wait time for things to cook and less hands-on time to be standing at a stove, this might be a great option for you. I've got to warn you, though, that I haven't tried it. If you do and it works as well as I think it would, let me know, would you? 

4 banana or other long peppers

1/2 C diced zucchini

1/8-1/4 C sliced onion

1 tomato, diced

1 C ricotta cheese

2 Tbsp feta cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Lay your peppers down and cut a generous sliver our of the side facing up. (Leave the stem in tact so your filling doesn't leak out.) Cut out the seeds and any ribs that are in your way. 

Heat a bit of olive oil in a frying pan. Add zucchini and onion to hot oil and saute until the onions are clear and tender. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cook another minute more until tomatoes are warm.

Put this vegetable mixture into a bowl. Add ricotta. Taste and adjust your seasonings. Stuff the peppers and sprinkle with feta cheese.

Bake in oven at 400 for 10-15 minutes.

Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate: