Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | gluten free | vegan

You need to make these tonight. Spicy peanut sauce coats zucchini noodles stuffed inside sweet roasted capsicums for a vegan, gluten free dinner that tastes sinful, but is secretly healthy – and super easy!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love peanut sauce dishes. You can just put another notch in the ‘Things Amy loves that contain Peanuts’ list that I’m sure everyone is keeping. Basically the list reads: everything. If there is a way to add peanut butter to a dish I will find it. This dish is no exception. The peanut sauce that coats the zucchini noodles is everything a peanut sauce should be: deeply peanutty with a hint of sweetness, a dash of astringency, and a good dose of spice. I have so many memories of a peanut satay sauce that my sister and I were both in love with during high school. I don’t think either Mum or Dad were particularly fond of it, but they let us ride out our teenage cravings. Plus, they were getting dinner cooked for them, so I guess that was a win on their behalf 😉Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFast forward to today and I’d much rather create my own sauces than get them from a bottle – it’s all about customisation, and avoiding any unnecessary additives, right? And making your own spicy peanut sauce is easier than getting the ‘safety plastic’ off a shop bought bottle. Anyone else unable to get that stuff off? Just me? Moving on.

These roasted capsicums are fancy enough to serve to company, but easy enough for everyday, and while the peanut sauce is decadent, they are actually quite healthy! Rather than using noodles I made zucchini ‘noodles’ and coated them in the peanut butter sauce then stuffed them inside the roasted capsicums. Result: delicious and healthy.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe spicy, savoury peanut sauce coated noodles are a great contrast to the sweet roasted capsicums. And the capsicums act as perfect containment for every single drip of peanut sauce. You can’t let that deliciousness escape!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis dish comes together in six simple steps:

  1. Cut capsicums in half and remove seeds.
  2. Bake.
  3. Prepare noodles and sauce and mix.
  4. Stuff capsicums.
  5. Bake again.
  6. Serve.

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFor those six simple steps you are rewarded with layers of flavour in every single bite. To take this to the next level I couldn’t help but garnish it with extra salted peanuts and some chopped spring onions for a little extra crunch. Every bite is a mouthful of molten sweet roasted capsicum, spicy peanut sauce soaked zucchini noodles, crispy spring onions and salty-crunchy peanuts. It’s everything a Wednesday night needs without being so heavy you want to hibernate for the rest of the week. Bonus: your kitchen will smell like the best Asian restaurant in town as these flavours mingle in the oven.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums

Gluten free | Vegan | Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a light meal or appetiser | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size red capsicums (bell peppers)
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Sprinkle of chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Cut your capsicums in half and remove the core and seeds. I like to leave the little green tops because I think they look cute.
  3. Place capsicum halves cut side down in an ovenproof baking dish. Mine was about 6 x 8 inches.
  4. Bake capsicums for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven.
  5. While the capsicums are baking, prepare your filling.
  6. Using a vegetable spiraliser or a julienne peeler create long thin ‘noodles’ from your zucchini.
  7. Crush garlic into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together with peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar, grated ginger, and chili flakes.
  8. Toss zucchini ‘noodles’ with peanut sauce gently but thoroughly until they are coated in the mixture.
  9. Pile zucchini into capsicum halves. Spoon any extra sauce over the noodles.
  10. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the tops of the noodles are golden.
  11. Remove capsicums from oven. Toss together salted peanuts and spring onions and top the capsicum halves.
  12. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad

A simple bright salad that will add a burst of flavour to your meal whatever you are serving up! Take a big dish of this on your next summer picnic, or serve it next to your roasted veggies in the middle of winter. Whatever the occasion this Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean, and Feta Salad is the perfect side dish.Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comI love complex, multi-layered salads that are meals unto themselves, but sometimes a simple but powerfully flavourful side salad is exactly what you need. When you are using only a few ingredients you want to make sure that you choose the best quality produce and let each ingredient shine by highlighting its best incarnation. For capsicum, that means roasting them until they are soft, slippery sweet pieces. I love roasted capsicum, and golden capsicums are especially sweet after their time blistering in the oven. You could just as easily use red capsicum here if yellow is unavailable, but I wouldn’t substitute green as they are too young and grassy.Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet roasted capsicums find their perfect pairing with salty Greek feta, peppery rocket, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Butter beans are a mild but toothsome protein source and soak up the vinaigrette nicely. This salad is deceptively simple in ingredients, but the flavour is far from meek and mild. This is one stand out side dish. As someone with special dietary needs I often find myself making meals out of the side dishes available, so I take a little extra care when creating side dishes to serve to my friends because I don’t want them to be merely expected offerings, but tasty morsels in their own right. That doesn’t mean slaving over side dishes for hours – you just need to consider a few elements to create the perfect side salad.

My side salad tips:

  • Choose the freshest greens available – try a mix of leaves if you want to boost the flavour even more. This mix here included both baby spinach and baby rocket.
  • Have one super star ingredient and make it shine – roasted yellow capsicums in abundance anyone? Yes please!
  • Sprinkle on something salty – feta, parmesan cheese, toasted nut or seeds – make it interesting and choose a few!
  • Add some protein to keep it hearty – butter beans, chickpeas, quinoa, maybe a few halved boiled eggs? Make your sides simple but substantial.

I think this Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad is my new favourite combination! What’s yours?Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

 

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3-4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 small yellow capsicums (substitute red if yellow are unavailable)
  • 400 gram can of butter beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 4 cups (4 large handfuls) baby rocket leaves
  • 75 grams Greek Feta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and place an oven shelf as close to the top broiler as possible. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.
  2. Cut capsicum into large pieces around the core and place skin side up on the baking sheet.
  3. Place sheet under the broiler until the skin is blackened and blistering. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place capsicum into a container with the lid only loosely on. Allow capsicum to cool.
  4. Once capsicum is cooled peel blackened skin off and cut into capsicum flesh into large strips.
  5. In a large salad bowl toss together butter beans, rocket, and capsicum strips.
  6. Crumble feta over the salad.
  7. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Pour vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan

Rich Thai flavours bright enough for a summer’s evening pair beautifully with sweet roasted capsicum and coconut milk. I want to swan-dive into a vast sea of this soup and have to slurp my way out. It’s that good. Be prepared for big, bold bowls of thick, luscious, soup, so desirable you will hope your spoon never hits the bottom.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have been lusting after some deep, rich, Thai flavours after reminiscing with Chris about a Thai place that we went to early in our dating days. As well as making a killer chocolate thickshake (I know, weird, but it’s become our yardstick for thickshakes now), they made a rich red Thai curry. Plates heaped with fragrant sauce and colourful vegetables passed by our table multiple times while we were sipping on Chris’s thickshake and waiting for our dinner; unfortunately it wasn’t gluten free but out of curiosity (and lusty taste buds) I needed to experience red curry for myself. I instantly fell in love with the complex nature of red curry, and over the past few months it has been my comfort food of choice. During the long hot days of summer red curry is welcome for its bright, sharp relief and richness, without the cloying creaminess of other classic comfort foods.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNow, I know turning the oven on in the middle of summer isn’t very attractive, and standing over a pot of simmering soup even less so. I am one of those people who doesn’t mind turning her oven on even on the hottest of days, and I am forever grateful we have a super air-conditioner. If you are not thus inclined (or blessed), you can take a short cut and use roasted capsicum from the delicatessen, and the soup only needs to simmer for about thirty minutes before you can take a break from the heat and let the soup, and your body, cool down. In those thirty minutes you can stand underneath the air-conditioning and become an icicle once more. When the scent of ginger, lemongrass, and chilli starts wafting from your kitchen, all you need to do is pour a glass of crisp white wine, and open the kitchen window a little wider to let the summer night breeze in.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup

Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 2-3 and is easily doubled

Note: to make this super quick you can use pre-cooked capsicum from the deli. You will need about 8 large pieces for this recipe.

WARNING: DO NOT BLEND HOT SOUP.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium red capsicums (see note)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small washed potatoes
  • 1 long red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (I use Ayam)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • Coriander leaves for serving

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Cut out the core of the capsicums, chop into four slices, and lay each piece skin-side up on the lined baking sheet. Cook until skin starts to blister and pull away from the flesh, this should take about 20 minutes. Place capsicum in a plastic container and loosely cover with the lid and a tea towel. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Once the capsicum is cooled, peel the skin off the capsicum pieces and chop roughly.
  3. While the capsicum is cooking, peel and dice the onion, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Finely dice the red chilli and discard the seeds.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add onion, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Cook, while stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add chopped capsicum, red curry paste and black pepper. Stir until coated and cook for a further five minutes.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bring soup to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and allow to bubble away for thirty minutes, or until potato and carrot are quite soft.
  6. Remove soup from the heat and allow to cool completely before blending in batches, or using a stick blender to purée until smooth.
  7. Place soup back over a low heat and add coconut milk. Reheat until gently bubbling. Serve with extra coconut milk and a sprinkling of coriander leaves.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTell me, dear reader, are you a fan of Thai food? Do you have any Thai dishes you like to make at home, or are your take-out menu favourites?

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers

Sometimes I distract myself from what I am doing in the moment by remembering meals from long ago. I recall the taste of stracciatella gelato from a holiday in Italy, or the stuffed cabbage rolls my grandmother used to make, or perhaps that cookie I nibbled in a cafe high up in a New York skyscraper a few years ago. Just last week I was recalling the exact heat of the sunshine and the lap of the water against the piers when I sat in a restaurant in Sausalito with a German girl I met at the bed and breakfast I was staying in. Two strangers in one of the best cities in the world we had banded together for two days of wandering. A short ferry ride from San Francisco we ended up in the dreamy town of Sausalito. After admiring the little shops and sidewalk flowerbeds spilling over with spring blooms we ended up at one of the many great restaurants that crowd along the seashore.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Not only were we treated to views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of San Francisco, the food was also stunning. My eyes were immediately drawn to a couscous stuffed capsicum and when it arrived at the table, pearls of giant couscous spilling from the scarlet casement, I knew I had ordered right. Perhaps that is where my capsicum/pepper stuffing obsession began.

This is my early summer ode to that long ago spring day. Sweet long peppers (I think these were either banana peppers or Sonora chili peppers) are opened and stuffed with a millet, black bean, tomato and spice filling and then baked in the oven to soften the flesh and bring out the natural sweetness of the pepper. If you are looking for a make ahead dish to impress dinner party guests, this is your answer. The filling can be made up to a day in advance, and on the day you only need to assemble the peppers, leave them to soften and blister in the oven and then serve them with a fresh green salad to the delight of your guests. And this recipe will delight your guests, so chic, so colourful, and gluten free and vegan so it pleases many palates. If you are serving this to omnivores, some roast chicken would be a great accompaniment.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Millet has an unfortunate reputation as food for the birds, and I for one would love to see this small ancient seed have its time in the sun. The yellow grains are easy to cook and provide decent amounts of important minerals such as copper and magnesium. Millet is so versatile, and in this dish the millet is combined with tomatoes, black beans, onions, herbs and spices for a hearty stuffing that contrasts well with the sweet roasted pepper. You could even serve the filling by itself with a crispy green salad if you do not have time to roast the peppers.

I can’t wait to make these again for a dinner party and share them with friends and family. Add some wine and some travel stories and you have the makings of  a great summer evening.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers

Gluten Free | Vegan | Serves 4 | Leftovers will keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat: place on a microwave safe plate and cover with paper towel. Heat on high for two minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4 large banana peppers (or medium red capsicums instead)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked millet
  • 400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 400 gram tin black beans

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Wash and dry peppers well. Cut peppers from stem to tip and carefully remove seeds and white ribs from the insides. Leave the stem intact. Lay peppers on a lined baking sheet until required.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy based sauce pan, over medium heat. Fry diced onion, crushed garlic, paprika, herbs, salt and pepper until onions are translucent.
  4. Add millet to pan along with crushed tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cover with lid. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until millet is firm but not crunchy.
  5. Rinse black beans well and add to the millet mixture. Stir well.
  6. Remove millet mixture from heat. Spoon stuffing into prepared peppers.
  7. Place peppers into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are soft and wrinkled.
  8. Remove from oven and serve with a large green salad.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad

Have you ever had one of those nights where you end up talking to friends for so long over a glass of wine that you don’t get to eating dinner until 10pm? A night where the conversation flows like the wine and you realise that the new addition to the group fits in perfectly and you just want to keep talking and getting to know them? On Saturday night Chris and I met the new girlfriend of one of Chris’s cousins – she fit into our quirky little group perfectly and it was kind of nice to have another girl at the table.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Despite the chilly spring night we rugged up in cardigans and sat out on the verandah talking for hours. There were grilled steaks and sausages for the omnivores, and as my contribution I brought along two side salads. I find that it eases my anxiety over my food requirements if I contribute one or two things to the dinner table that I can eat, and everyone else can enjoy as well.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis pasta salad dismisses the traditional gluggy, mayo-heavy, soggy, monochrome pasta salad. It’s nearly summer people! I want colour, texture, vibrancy, flavour in my pasta salad. I want something that holds it’s own at the table with a bit of spicy bite that displays some of the best produce of summertime. In Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad the pasta plays a supporting role to the bright raw veggies who take centre stage. The fresh sweetcorn is cut straight from the cob and mixed with jewel-bright capsicum, enticing coriander, and a spiced olive oil dressing.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis salad is your perfect summertime side: you can make it ahead of time, once the past is cooked everything comes together super quick so fabulous flavour doesn’t have to mean hours spent in the kitchen, and it lasts well in the refrigerator so leftovers are perfect for lunch or dinner the next day! Say hello to your time-saving summer meal for any occasion, from barbecues to quick after work family dinners. And with all that time saved you have more time to spend talking to friends old and new!

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad

Serves 6-8 | Vegan | Gluten Free | Leftovers will last in the fridge for 2-3 days

Adapted from ‘Spicy Corn, Tomato, Avocado Salad’ on Shutterbean

Note: If you do not require this to be gluten free you can use wheat pasta instead of gluten free pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 340 grams (~12 oz) dried medium-shape pasta (I used Heinz Gluten Free Mini Rigatoni)
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (~3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • 3 cobs fresh sweet corn, shucked
  • 3 green (spring) onions
  • Large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Cook pasta until al dente according to packet instructions. This seems like a lazy recipe instruction, but each pasta brand/type will vary. Once cooked, drain, rinse and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While the pasta is cooking whisk together garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Set aside until needed.
  3. Core capsicum, discard centre, top and seeds, and then dice capsicum into ~1cm cubes. Place in a large bowl.
  4. Cut kernels off corn cobs and place kernels in bowl with capsicum.
  5. Thinly slice the white and light green parts of the green onions and place in bowl too.
  6. Add cooked and cooled pasta and dressing to bowl and toss thoroughly.
  7. Finish by tossing fresh coriander through the pasta salad.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

 

 

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

It has come to my attention that in the two and a half year life of this blog I have never posted an appetiser recipe. Please don’t think I am anti-appetiser. Quite the opposite in fact. I fully acknowledge the power of an interesting and palate delighting appetiser to help stimulate conversation between dinner guests and bring people together over a new flavour experience. The corks are popped, the first glasses of wine are poured and just like magic the veil of the night is drawn over the party and conversations, laughter, and friendly arguments begins.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Appetisers are a welcoming gesture to your guests. They set the dinner party apart from an every night meal. They show that you have given extra thought to what might delight their senses and relax them into the evening.

When I saw these miniature sweet peppers at the markets the other weekend I knew they would make the perfect base for a summertime appetiser. The first stalks of sweet corn have been showing up in our markets and grocery stores lately too, and rather than just eating them all quickly steamed and greedily devoured in a shower of corn juice, I decided to celebrate these two heralds of summer with a recipe perfect for long hot evenings filled with cool glasses of sparkling wine, and the sparkling company of my friends.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The best part of this appetiser is that it will not have you stressing out. These boats of summery goodness can be prepared in advance, and they are just as good served hot, cold or anywhere in between. If you have an eclectic mix of dietary requirements at your dinner party (which is increasingly common nowadays) you can rest assured that these are gluten free, vegetarian, and can be made dairy-free/vegan by omitting the cheese. I do love the addition of the cheese to the sweet thyme, smoky paprika, and slight bite of chilli flakes.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Makes 20 halves | Easily multiplied | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Vegan variation: leave out mozzarella. Otherwise prepare as directed.

Ingredients

  • 10 mini sweet peppers (capsicums)
  •  2 large cobs of corn, outside layers removed
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoke paprika
  • Small pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  •  1/3 cup grated mozzarella

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside until needed.
  2. Halve mini peppers from top to bottom. Remove white ribs and seeds from the inside. You can leave the green stalk on for decorative purposes, or remove if you wish.
  3. Lay halved peppers on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Cut kernels from each corn cob. The easiest way to do this is to cut each cob in half and place the flat (cut) section on the chopping board and then cut down, keeping close to the cob, removing the kernels.
  5. Finely dice red onion.
  6. Heat olive oil over a medium heat in a medium frying pan. Place corn kernels, red onion, paprika, chilli flakes (if using), fresh thyme, salt, and pepper into pan. Cook until the onion is translucent and the corn has turned a darker yellow. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Cool to room temperature.
  7. Mix grated cheese into cooled corn mixture.
  8. Using clean hands scoop corn mixture into the prepared sweet peppers. Press down slightly to ensure the mixture is packed inside. Place stuffed peppers back onto baking tray. Repeat until they are all filled.
  9. Place peppers into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove and serve. Leftovers will keep up to two days in the refrigerator. They are an excellent addition to a lunchtime salad.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Charred Corn, Capsicum, and Quinoa Salad

You need to make this salad. You need to make this salad because no one really wants another iceberg lettuce concoction on the buffet table at Christmas time (except the one your Aunty makes because it tastes just like it did when you were a kid). You need to make this salad because when you bring it to a party all spread out on a pretty white platter it looks so festive and everyone thinks you put in way more effort than you did. You need to make this salad because while you are making it you have time in between to shower, find your prettiest party dress, and put on some mascara and shiny earrings. You need to make this salad because between the sweet baked concoctions that abound at this time of year you need to eat something fresh and healthy and equally delicious.

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The mix of red and white quinoa is probably unnecessary, but it adds a festive touch, in my humble opinion, and the grilled capsicum and corn a sweet jewels hidden among salty fetta and deeply toasted almonds.

You need to make this salad because it will help you keep a healthy festive glow and keep you in fitting into your pretty party dress. And, it makes an acceptable midnight snack when you get in from a holiday party that went exceptionally well.

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Charred Corn, Capsicum, and Quinoa Salad (gluten free and vegetarian)

You can of course use 1 ½ cups total of either red or white quinoa instead of half and half. Serves 6-8 as a side dish. This salad will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup white quinoa
  • ¾ cup red quinoa
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon powdered vegetable stock (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 230 gram jar red pepper relish (I love this new one by Always Fresh)
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 3 cobs of corn
  • ¾ cup almonds
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 100 grams Greek-style Fetta
  • Olive oil spray

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

 Method

  1. Rinse quinoa and drain well. Place in a medium-size saucepan along with the water and powdered vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over medium heat then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Heat a grill plate to high and oil lightly with olive oil spray. Grill corn for 10 – 15 minutes turning regularly until the kernels have turned darker yellow in colour and there are charred spots. Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly. Chop kernels off the cob and place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, remove core from capsicum and cut into four large pieces. Place skin side down on grill with corn until the skin is blackened. Remove from grill and place in a plastic bag for 5 minutes before peeling off the skin. Slice into thick ribbons and add to the large bowl.
  4. Heat oven to 180C (356F) and spread almonds on a baking sheet, when the oven is heated toast almonds for 5 minutes. Remove and chop roughly and add to bowl.
  5. To the corn, capsicum, and almond mixture add the cooled quinoa, baby spinach leaves and red pepper relish. Mix carefully with two spoons. Use a lifting and fluffing motion.
  6. For the dressing: whisk together all ingredients and pour over the quinoa mixture.
  7. Spread out on a platter and crumble fetta over the top. Serve immediately.

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PS: You should also make these Spirit of the Season Blondies to take along to the party as well because, more is always more.

Hot Kipfler Potato, Capsicum, and Basil Salad (gluten free, vegetarian)

Let’s talk about potatoes. I am a picky potato consumer. My mother is Danish and my father Tasmanian (i.e. two of the biggest potato-based cuisines on earth), so as a youngster there were a lot of potato-related dinner time issues. Luckily I have matured and come to realise that it is not that I don’t like potatoes, just that I am particular about the type of potato and how it’s carbohydrate laden beauty is prepared in a dish.

My rules aren’t complex: I like potatoes that have flavour: Kipflers, Dutch Creams, ‘New Potatoes’, and Royal Blue are among my favourites.

I am not a fan of boiled potatoes at all. I love buttery, piled high on the plate mashed potatoes and crispy-skinned roast potatoes. Potato salad and I used to have a loving relationship, but now the thought of mayonnaise coated potatoes makes my stomach turn.

See – not a potato hater, just a picky potato consumer.

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This warm potato ‘salad’ is more like a potato sauté.  The potatoes are first cooked until just firm, but not crunchy, then they join a host of other vegetables and the final flourish is provided by fresh basil, crunchy pine nuts, and a coating of crumbled feta.

I piled my plate high with this salad for dinner and Chris paired his with some grilled lamb chops. By the way, this man has a secret talent for food styling – just check out his artfully arranged lamb chops.

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Hot Kipfler Potato, Capsicum, and Basil Salad

If you cannot find Kipflers, or already have some other potatoes hanging around the house, you can substitute another kind of potato. Preferably a potato that hold up well and doesn’t turn to mush when cooked – try Coliban, Desiree, or ‘New’ Potatoes.

Serves 2-3. Easily multiplied.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium kipfler potatoes (about 750 gram total)
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Large handful basil leaves, torn
  • 75 grams Greek fetta, crumbled
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Scrub potatoes very well to remove all the dirt. This is important as we are leaving the skin on. Slice potatoes into rounds about 1.5-2 cm thick. Place in a large microwave-safe container. Add about 2cm of water in the bottom. Cook for 10 minutes on ‘High’ in the microwave stirring halfway.
  2. If potatoes are still a little crunchy in the middle microwave for a further 2 minutes. Once cooked drain very well and reserve until needed.
  3. While your potatoes are cooking prepare capsicum by slicing in half, removing core and seeds, and halving again and thinly slicing. Quarter button mushrooms, and thinly slice the onion. Peel and crush garlic.
  4. In a large fry pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add capsicum, mushroom, garlic, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the capsicum has softened.
  5. Add potatoes, remaining oil, and pine nuts and cook until potatoes are starting to crisp, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle basil leaves and crumbled feta on top and serve.
  7. This is delicious re-heated the second day as well.

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This dinner is perfect if you are busily preparing for the end of the working/school year and just want something healthy, simple, and delicious for dinner. Naturally gluten free, vegetarian, vegan (if you leave out the feta), and hearty enough for the omnivorous there is something for the whole family to like.

 Tell me dear reader, are you a potato lover? 

Paprika Chicken (or Chickpea) Stuffed Capsicums

I am not going to lie to you. Most nights there are two meals cooked in my kitchen: one for the omnivores and one for me.

Sometimes I cobble together something out of parts of their meal, but most of the time I make something completely separate.

While I don’t mind this sometimes – omnivores gotta have their chicken wings and ribs after all – I really miss the act of making something that we can all eat and then sharing the same meal when we come to the table.

As part of my renewed commitment to focussing on whole-food vegetarian-friendly recipes I really want to start making meals that we can all enjoy: Vegetarian and omnivore alike – one meal with two little twists to suit both appetites.

I personally like thinking of these posts as Nourished Me, Nourished You. Perhaps a little too ABBA? Let me know. If you have a better title for it, then I will gladly adopt the moniker.

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Mum and I found bags of capsicums at a ridiculously great price at our farmer’s market on the weekend. The sweet red veggies were begging for more than just being a second thought in a casserole or a crunchy addition to a salad. They demanded to be the statement piece. Now, I know I have proffered a stuffed capsicum recipe before, but it is rather simple, and to be honest while it is a lovely side dish it doesn’t have that much punch. These capsicums are stuffed with either chicken or chickpeas that have been simmered in a tomato and paprika (see, more capsicum) sauce and then topped with cheese. So much savoury smoky flavour. I served ours alongside some rice and sweet early summer corn. Now, you do use two different pots here for cooking the chicken and chickpeas, but after that it’s very simple and everything goes into the oven while you set the table (or put your feet up and make someone else set the table…).

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Paprika Chicken (or Chickpea) Stuffed Capsicums (gluten free, vegetarian option)

Choose capsicums that have tight, shiny looking skin without any soft spots. You can of course cut of the little green stalk before you stuff them, but I think they just look so pretty on the plate as they are. If you are catering for all omnivores, just leave out the chickpeas and proceed with the whole amount of spices, tomato puree and cheese and increase the chicken breast to 500 grams. If you are cooking for all vegetarians, leave out the chicken, and proceed as above with two 400 gram tins of chickpeas. This dish is lovely with rice, pasta, or mashed potato, or a salad for a light meal. These capsicums are also excellent for lunch the next day.

 Ingredients

  • 4 medium red capsicums
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 350 grams chicken breast
  • 400 gram tin of chickpeas
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 400 gram tin tomato puree
  • 2/3 cup (packed) grated cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (390F) and pull out a large oven-proof baking dish and a small and medium saucepan.
  2. Cut capsicums in half and remove seeds and membranes. Place capsicums in the oven-proof dish hollow side up and roast in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside until needed.
  3. While the capsicums are roasting, finely dice onion, carrots, celery and zucchini. Set aside. Then finely dice chicken breast and leave on board until required.
  4. Warm the olive oil in the medium saucepan over medium heat and gently sauté diced vegetables until the onion is translucent.
  5. Remove 2/3 cup of sautéed vegetables and place in the small saucepan. Add drained, well-rinsed chickpeas, 1/3 cup of tomato puree, and ½ teaspoon each of paprika and dried thyme. Warm over medium-low heat until the sauce begins to bubble.
  6. Add diced chicken to the medium saucepan and cook until chicken is white all the way through. Add remaining tomato puree, paprika, and thyme.
  7. Once the chickpea and chicken mixtures are both completed you are ready to fill the capsicums. This mixture will make two capsicum halves filled with chickpeas and four halves filled with chicken. Sprinkle all capsicums with cheese and place tray bake into oven for another 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and serve right away.
  9. Enjoy with your choice of sides.

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Simple Rice-Stuffed Capsicums

I don’t know if I can even really call this a recipe. It was that simple. But since dinner plates were licked clean and I have the extra capsicum tucked carefully into my lunch box for today’s midday nourishment, I feel that I should share. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes you need an easy recipe like Simple Rice-Stuffed Capsicums to brighten up a week-night dinner. A recipe that you can pull out that doesn’t take too much effort, but makes the everyday into something special. That is the key to a thoroughly nourished life after all.

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I used some little baby capsicums that I found at the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. About half cup capacity each they were the perfect size for filling with rice and serving alongside chicken that I seasoned with paprika, salt and pepper (for Mama and Dad), and Greek salad (for all of us).

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Simple Rice-Stuffed Capsicums

Ingredients:

  • 4 baby capsicums, about half cup capacity each
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • Healthy sprinkle salt and black pepper
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (390F).
  2. Cut tops off capsicums, scoop out membranes and seeds and place capsicums bottom-side down in a ceramic baking dish. Include the tops as well. They look so cute served with the tops on. Roast capsicums for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. While the capsicums are roasting, cook rice. Combine rice in a microwave-proof container with 2 cups water and microwave on high for 10 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking time.
  4. Remove rice from microwave, drain well, and then stir in cheddar, salt and pepper, spring onions, oregano, and thyme.
  5. Once capsicums are cooked, being very careful because they are very hot, tip out the liquid that will have pooled in the bottom of the capsicum cup.
  6. Spoon rice mixture into capsicums, pack it in quite firmly, then return the capsicums to the baking dish and top with their little caps.
  7. Roast for another 10 minutes and serve.

My serving suggestion: Big, green leafy salad and grilled chicken.

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Happy Tuesday everyone!

Tell me, dear reader, how do you make your week-night dinners special?