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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

We don’t eat a lot of vegetarian meals, but this time of year we visit the Farmers’ Market for the ingredients and always serve this great vegetarian version of stuffed peppers.

Serves 4

4 large red or yellow peppers
2 tablespoons snipped dried tomatoes (the kind you reconstitute with water, or oil packed)
1 large beaten egg
4 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus a little more for garnish

Cracked Wheat Pilaf Filling

1 14 1/2-ounce can chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup bulgur wheat (find it in the baking and bread making mix aisle)
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (if you can find it, try 1/2 a zeppelin)
1 cup carrots cut into matchstick pieces (I just pulse them a couple of time in the food processer)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

Stir together broth, bulgur, zucchini, carrot, onion, oregano (if using dried) and red pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until broth is absorbed. Stir in fresh oregano if using it, and lemon peel.

Preparation:

Make the base filling by stirring together broth, bulgur, zucchini, carrot, onion, oregano (if using dried) and red pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until broth is absorbed. Stir in fresh oregano if using it, and lemon peel.

Cut the top third off each pepper, removing seeds and membranes. Precook them in boiling water for about 3 minutes and then drain thoroughly.

Combine cracked wheat pilaf filling (which can also be used as an interesting and tasty side dish) with the following: egg, tomatoes, Romano or Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, basil and pepper. Spoon mixuture into peppers. Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes; uncover and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of peppers. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.