My house is going vegetarian! Kinda.
After a traumatizing experience reading Upton Sinclaire’s The Jungle in high school, I went vegetarian. (If you’ve read the book, you know why. If you haven’t read it, you should. Amazon link above). This lasted pretty much until I got pregnant, at which point I went back to meat. I miss being vegetarian though.
Hubby used to be a terrible eater. He grew up in one of those households that made corn for every meal and didn’t push vegetables. This left me, the mostly vegetarian, living with a man who said “carrots were for rabbits”, and would shun away a sandwich if it had so much grazed a piece of lettuce. And forget a salad. Or a banana. It was ROUGH. So when Batman came around, we had a come-to-Jesus meeting. I told him that I didn’t want our kids to see him not eating vegetables. That he should set a good example and start trying new things. A healthier start. He reluctantly agreed, and we’ve been baby-stepping ever since. It’s been such a hard transition for him. (Parents- please have your kids eat vegetables. It doesn’t have to be EVERY one, but something more than canned corn and green beans would be nice. Their health and future spouses will thank you for it.) He’s been making big steps. The man ate a SALAD the other day! I about fainted. Alas, at his yearly checkup, his cholesterol came in a smidge too high. So I’m seizing the opportunity to eliminate most meat from our diet. Because I want him around for our kids. And because I’m the one that cooks, so I can.
From Googling, I’ve learned that what we’ll be doing- our mostly vegetarian diet- has a name- flexitarian. Who knew, right? We’ll still eat meat a day or two a week, but for the most part I’d like to try to really cut back.
So that started today.
I’m lucky in that my kids are pretty good eaters. Batman never really cared for most meat anyway, and Bug, while much pickier, also tends to lean towards produce. And baked goods. But I digress.
I was still on a Mexican kick after dinner with my brother on Friday, so I decided to go with stuffed poblanos. This is a Mexican version of a stuffed green pepper, with rice and tomatoes. Normally I would have done these with chorizo, but today’s fresh start called for black beans.
They were delicious. The kids loved the filling and ate it as a side to their quesadillas. I added a little heat to mine by choosing a Mexican cheese that had some peppers- a chihuahua cheese with jalapeno in this case.
The hubby isn’t a big jalapeno fan, so for his I used cheddar jack. I figured I was pushing enough on him and cut him a little slack. Both worked well. I’m partial to Mexican cheeses though, so if you can find it, I definitely recommend using it. I bought mine at a favorite Mexican grocer, but some of the larger chain stores are beginning to carry it. You crumble it on and it melts into creamy, bubbly, yummy perfection.
Poblanos, if you aren’t familiar, have a great flavor. They’re mild peppers so you don’t have to worry about it being too spicy of a dish. If you’re like me and like it hot, feel free to add heat with either more chili powder, some cayenne, or the jalapeno cheese. In this case, since I wanted to keep the filling and pepper family friendly, I kept the heat in the cheese so I could customize easily per eater. (Fun fact- poblanos are the peppers that are dried to make ancho chiles. You’ll thank me for this knowledge one day playing trivia).
As you can see, I used 3 peppers cut in half to make 6 stuffed peppers. I was left with enough filling to give both of the kids some and have leftovers, so you could easily bump up the recipe to use 5 poblanos (10 stuffed peppers) and not need to alter more of the recipe. The filling is delicious on its own though, and would reheat as a great side dish the next day.
My family loved this dish. It’s familiar flavors that kids and meat eaters are comfortable eating, with enough oomph to make it an excellent vegetarian dish. If you don’t mind the dish being not completely vegetarian, Swanson makes a Mexican tortilla broth that’s chicken based and can sub in for the vegetable broth when making the rice.
Vegetarian Stuffed Poblanos
3 poblano peppers, halved and with seeds and ribs removed
1 c. brown rice (not instant)
2 c. vegetarian broth (or Swanson Mexican tortilla broth – HAS CHICKEN)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
chihuahua cheese with jalapeno and cheddar jack, for topping
Make brown rice with broth instead of water according to directions. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic to the pan. Saute until soft. Remove from heat.
In large bowl, pour beans and tomatoes. Stir in onion mixture, rice, seasoning, and lime juice. Mix well.
Line pepper halves in 9×13 baking dish. Fill with rice mixture. Top with desired cheese. Bake peppers for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and browning.
Serve with sour cream or Mexican crema.