Orzo Stuffed Peppers

Adapted from Giada’s Kitchen

Not only is this a very pretty dish, it packs a solid nutritional punch with the addition of zucchini. Because the zucchini is grated, you don’t even know it’s there – critical for the green-averse wee people in your life!

  • 1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 cups orzo
  • 4 sweet bell peppers, any color you like
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, zucchini, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well.
  • Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Cook the orzo for 4 minutes. It won’t be done, but it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain the orzo through a sieve, preserving the broth. Add orzo to the tomato mixture. Put the reserved vegetable broth in the bottom of a shallow 3-quart baking dish.
  • Slice the tops off the peppers and remove seeds and ribs. You may need to cut a little slice off the bottom of the peppers to ensure that they stand up in the dish.
  • Stuff each pepper with the orzo mixture and put the peppers in the baking dish with the broth. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the tops of the pepper with cheese and bake another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and brown. Remove from the oven and place on plates. Add chopped basil to the tops.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. If you think your children will be spooked by seeing their dinner served in a pepper, bake the filling alone in a shallow dish and serve it with a little pepper on the side. They may be more willing to eat the filling – which closely resembles the ever-popular child favorite of pasta and sauce – if it’s standing alone. It looks like pasta…but there is hidden zucchini in there! Shhh…
  • 2. To make leftovers for lunch, use a total of 6 peppers and stuff the other 2 peppers (if you do this, you won’t have enough filling to do the first tip above so keep that in mind).
  • 3. I like to use a couple colors of peppers because it looks pretty. My favorites are red and yellow. Orange is nice too. I’m not a fan of the green, but if you are, by all means use them!

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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