I don’t always eat vegan, but I do try to incorporate many plant-based meals into my diet. And I’ve found that when I’m making up my own recipes, it usually works out best if I don’t try to simply duplicate non-vegan recipes with vegan substitutes. It’s better if I think about what I liked about the dish, and let that serve as inspiration for something totally different. These “cheesy” vegan stuffed peppers are a good example of that. When I was a kid I HATED broccoli, and the only way I would eat it was if it was slathered in highly processed orange cheese food. As an adult, I love broccoli, but was able to find inspiration in the gooey, savory cheese sauce.
The surprise ingredient here is nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has a nutty flavor that is a little similar to Parmesan cheese. As an added benefit, it’s called “nutritional” because it’s a source of various B vitamins, folic acid and fiber.
You can definitely substitute broccoli for the asparagus used in this recipe. I went with asparagus because it was spring and the nice thin stalks were showing up in the market!
“Cheesy” Vegan Stuffed Peppers
- 4 red, orange, or yellow peppers
- 1 bunch asparagus
- ½ cup olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 15 oz can white beans with liquid reserved
- 2 TBL nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 TBL red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit
Cut peppers lengthwise, taking off about ⅓ of the top. Reserve the top section that you sliced off, and clean the seeds and membranes out of the bottom shell “cup”
Drizzle these pepper cups with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place cut side up on a baking sheet
Trim woody ends off asparagus, and cut into roughly 2″ pieces. Pace on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Put asparagus and roast peppers in the oven and let bake. You want the asparagus to be tender (about 20 – 25 minutes) and the peppers to soften and begin to blacken at the edges (about 25 – 30 minutes)
In the meantime, make your white bean mash. Begin by heating ¼ cup olive oil in a sauce pan over low heat, and add garlic cloves, keeping heat low.
Let the garlic cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the white beans with liquid, and turn the heat up to medium low. Add a few generous grinds of black pepper and let the mixture cook, mashing until it’s smooth and thick. It should be the consistency of a nice cheese sauce, and you can add a few tablespoons of water to hit that desired consistency
Add the nutritional yeast and smoked paprika and remove from heat.
When asparagus and peppers are done, add asparagus to the bean mash, and set your pepper cups aside.
Take your reserved pepper tops and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under broiler until blackened and blistered, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place peppers in a plastic bag to steam for 5 minutes.
When peppers have steamed, remove from bag and scrape away skin. Reserve one top, chopping the others and adding into your bean and asparagus mixture.
Stuff your peppers with the mixture.
Place the remaining pepper top in a blender with ¼ cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Place your peppers back in the oven, and bake until heated through – about 15 minutes
Drizzle the peppers with the roasted pepper dressing as desired