Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our New Favorite Veggie Meal-Stuffed Green Peppers

One of my favorite veggie meals to make is stuffed green peppers.  This has also become one of my husband's favorite as well.  I came up with this recipe while trying to come up with a substitute for his all time favorite meal, ox tails.  After we were married, I noticed that my husband loved to order ox tails everywhere we went to eat. If they had it, he would order it. But for some reason, he always found something wrong with them. They were never good enough.  So I decided to learn how to make them just the way he like them (the Cuban way with tomato sauce).  Well, after searching many recipes and after many trials, I nailed it! He loved them, and so did I.  This became my signature dish. The process of making this meal is a long one. It takes about 6-8 hours to cook them in the slow cooker to get them just right.  I would make them for him for just about every special occasion, birthday, anniversary, or just because it was date night. Well, I knew that when I decided to give up eating (and cooking) meat, that my husband was going to suffer a great loss for his ox tails.  So I thought about what can I make that can give him the same (well, as close as possible) feeling he gets from his favorite meal. 

I came up with Stuffed Green Peppers.  I know that your probably thinking how can a green pepper substitute a piece of meat.  Well, it's what's in the pepper that tastes so good.  I use the soy veggie crumbles (which is a good substitute for ground beef), brown rice, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, mushrooms, diced green peppers and corn.  Just about all of these ingredients, except for the corn, are used in the ox tail recipe so I figured I could make the flavor similar.  I used the same spices: cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and a little fresh lime juice.  And then there is the best ingredient, red wine.  I slowly cook all these ingredients together and stuffed the peppers, after boiling them for about 5 minutes.  Then put them in a casserole dish and topped with remaining tomato sauce and cover and cook for one hour.  Then I serve them with fried plantains, only because that is what I would serve with the ox tails because my husband loves them. 

The first time I served this to him, I was not sure what to expect.  I noticed he looked unsure about this new meal.  I could tell he wasn't sure he was going to like it. Well, he loved it!! I was so happy. I was surprised when my husband told me that he never thought that he would ever eat a whole green pepper, well he ate two. Success! This just insured me that I can take any meal that we used to love to eat and find a great substitute that we can enjoy just as much.  I am looking forward to creating and discovering more veggie meals for us to enjoy!

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