Have you ever noticed that certain genres of meals lend themselves perfectly to using up just about any leftovers?
Here’s an example. Oatmeal will accept any random leftover fruit to be stirred into the cooking process. I once found one loan pear slice stashed in the bottom of the freezer. It got chopped and added in with the rest of the dried fruit on hand.
Then there’s soup. A few extra peas leftover from dinner a few nights ago add color to a soup and texture to even a blended soup. Any random vegetable can be tossed in.
Erin has even blogged about a Shipwreck Casserole meant as a way to use up a mixture of leftovers.
Recently, I found one more carrier that is blessed to morph into an amazing meal no matter ingredients are added in. And that winner is the beautiful and colorful stuffed bell pepper.
Think about it.
They hold any cooked grain. Think risotto, rice, or quinoa (and become a fast one-dish meal if that grain is a leftover!) Bell peppers are popular in all cuisines–Italian, Mexican, and Mediterranean–which means they cook well in any sauce. And roasted bell peppers can be served hot or cold. So a chilled roasted bell pepper can be stuffed with a cold grain salad for a speedy supper that looks and tastes amazing while making your life easier because you’re cleaning out your refrigerator.
And that’s exactly how this recipe came about. My two-year-old picked out bell peppers for Daddy at the grocery store. And I came home to a half a cup of leftover homemade carrot-top pesto (which accounts for the unusually dark color) and leftover bulgur wheat from a salad.
Light bulb moments that turn into amazing suppers. That’s what this is.
Note: If you are new to bulgur wheat, then it’s sort of an alternative to quinoa as a whole wheat grain with high protein, high fiber, and low calories. A huge advantage to bulgur wheat is it’s partially cooked already so it’s quick to make!
Bulgur and Pesto Stuffed Bell Peppers
Yield – 4 servings
Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Cooking Time – 45 minutes for rice cooker bulgur, 55 minutes for stuffed bell peppers
- 1 cup cooked bulgur wheat
- 1/2 cup prepared pesto
- 2 bell peppers, halved and cored
- Grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, optional
- Extra virgin olive oil, optional
- To cook bulgur wheat, follow package directions for cooking in a rice cooker or in the microwave.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Spoon bulgur and pesto mixture evenly into each of the bell peppers.
- Top with grated cheese of choice.
- Drizzle with optional olive oil if the mixture and bell peppers look dry.
- You can cover your bell pepper with foil here to keep the peppers from drying out. But I like a crust-like top.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until peppers have a lovely wrinkled appearance and cheese browns to your liking.