Summer time always reminds me of holidays in the Greek islands and the excitement of going out for dinner every night in anticipation of trying the delicious Greek food. The cuisine generally has very good meat free options with a limited use of dairy. Despite the variety of vegetarian food on offer, these dishes are usually eaten as sides. The waiters usually found it baffling as to why I would not want to eat meat or fish along with the vegetables but generally they were always very eager and proud to present me with the best vegetarian food that they had, often making up dishes especially for me.
Among my favourite dishes were the stuffed tomatoes and peppers. For meat free meals these are usually stuffed with rice, however I like to stuff them with quinoa instead to raise the nutrition content, and particularly to add some high quality protein. I think the tomato version is tastier than the peppers as the tomato juices marinate the stuffing from the inside in. Unfortunately I can rarely find very large tomatoes here but these pepper ones are also pretty damn tasty! If you can find large tomatoes, try this recipe out using both. You can omit the tomato puree if stuffing tomatoes. If for some bizarre reason you don’t like olives, play around with different types of stuffing using different ingredients.
- 150g cooked quinoa
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced,
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 6-8 kalamata olives, finely chopped
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried rosemary
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 3/4 tsp dried mint
- 4 large red pepper
Fry the onion and garlic gently. Stir in to the cooked quinoa along with the fresh and dried herbs, lemon juice, tomato puree and olives. Season with salt and pepper. Cut the tops of the peppers and discard the seeds and inner membranes. Rub with olive oil and season inside the peppers. Spoon the quinoa mixture in to the peppers and replace the lids. Place in a baking tray and fill with about half a pint of water. Bake at 180 degrees celscius for an hour and a half. If the lids are browning too quickly, place some foil over them -I should have done this with mine sooner! Best served warm rather than piping hot.
I always make the lemon & herb roast potatoes featured in the photos to go with these. I’ll put that recipe up too if people would like to see it.