Soy Chorizo Stuffed Banana Peppers

So this is my first post in about 3 weeks?! Life has definitely gotten in the way of food blogging – between a much needed week visiting friends and family at home and getting ready to start school again while finishing up summer classes and tying up loose ends in the clinic – there was hardly time for cooking let alone writing about it! But I’m back, although potentially briefly, as I am currently in the midst of a week long hiatus before the chaos of teaching, taking classes, doing practicum in Atlanta, and oh yeah, trying to make progress on that pesky little thesis takes over my life. For now though, I will cook, or attempt to.

A warning before reading this post – this is not going to be your average stuffed pepper recipe (not that I have any idea what that is, which will be apparent as the recipe unfolds). I have never made stuffed peppers or stuffed anything before for that matter, but a friend of mine who basically lives on a farm gave me an awesome bag filled with fresh produce, including a bunch of banana peppers. I had no idea what to do with my newly acquired abundance of peppers, so I decided to do something I’d never done before. While I had all the good intentions of going through recipes with solid reviews to help me create something edible, I got distracted. I’m not gonna lie, I have burnt many a cookie and even rice (should be so simple!) because of cooking while distracted. This is why I no longer go near the kitchen when a Maryland basketball game is on. I guess I am not the best multi-tasker, but oh well. All weekend I have been watching Lollapallooza live-streaming online – until I have the luxury of time and money, pretending I am at music festivals will have to do. I had been enjoying watching live performances from Delta Spirit and The Walkmen, among others, while also reading for my thesis and painting, so I didn’t think twice about bringing my laptop with me in the kitchen for my experiment in pepper stuffing. Mistake! Right as I was gathering all of my ingredients and getting ready to cook, The Gaslight Anthem had to go and start their set.

when Brian Fallon sings, I just can’t help but listen…and burn rice :/

One of my favorite bands…I could not relegate them to background status, so like a fool, I attempted to do two things at once. Fortunately, things didn’t turn out as horrible as they could have. Some rice got burned, some ingredients got forgotten, but all in all, the stuffed peppers turned out pretty tasty. Plus, I made WAY too much filling, but it tastes pretty good on its own, kind of like a veggie chili, so food for the rest of the week. And I got to enjoy another phenomenal Gaslight performance. All is right in the world.


Now, like so many of my other recipes, I was torn between healthy and ridiculous, but I think I managed to stay safely on the healthy side for the most part. I knew that I didn’t want to use pork sausage as a filling, so I bought soy chorizo from Trader Joes (so good!). 1 point for the healthy side!

I also had fresh tomatoes and zucchini from the farm, so the stuffing has a sizeable veggie component. Another point for team healthy!

Things went a little downhill when I couldn’t decide what kind of cheese to add and ended up throwing in a bunch of colby jack and ricotta cheese; but otherwise, these stuffed peppers are relatively healthy.  And to be honest, there isn’t much I’d change (perhaps not burning the rice, or making less filling) when I make them again.

Soy Chorizo Stuffed Banana Peppers

  • 8 large banana peppers*
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 package Trader Joes soy chorizo
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/3-1/2 cup shredded cheese (your preference – cheddar or colby jack would work well)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; once it is boiling, add peppers, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. And tomato and zucchini and saute for another 3 minutes before adding the soy chorizo, rice, and beans. Stir for a few minutes just so that everything is warmed through and add the cheeses. Now comes the tough part – the stuffing. I didn’t really have any type of tool that you would use to stuff things with, so I just used a little spoon. I ended up with quite a few ripped peppers, but oh well. I put them in a baking dish with a little water at the bottom and cooked them for 25 minutes. For next time, I think it would be good to use salsa or enchilada sauce in the baking dish and cover them. Next time!

* depending on the size of the banana peppers there will likely be leftover stuffing. It tastes great on its own OR it could be a fun appetizer inside of a Tostito scoop or something like that. If you only want to make enough to stuff the peppers, I’d cut down the rice, chorizo, black beans, and cheese by half.

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Garlic & Herb White Bean Dip

This white bean dip – slightly adapted from a Giada De Laurentis recipe – has been my go to dip for when I need to bring something to party that isn’t a baked good or when I have people over. It is always a big hit, but for some reason when it comes to just normal weeks with no food parties, I would just go to the grocery store and buy packaged hummus or some other dip (I am a bit of a dip fiend). Even though the grocery store stuff was nowhere near as satisfying as Giada’s white bean dip, I never thought to whip up a batch of the dip JUST FOR ME. What was I thinking?! Luckily, I recently came to the realization that I was being silly and started making it almost every other week. This dip is way easy to make, pretty inexpensive, and generally healthier than most of the pre-packaged products at the store. And it is TASTY!

Giada might as well have called it garlic dip – the taste of garlic is super strong, but it works well with the smoothness of the white beans plus the herbs and lemon. Now I like the extreme garlicky-ness, but if garlic breath isn’t your thing – I recommend roasting the garlic before adding it, or only adding 1 clove.

I recently made this dip to eat for lunch paired with some carrots, broccoli, and sliced up zucchini (trying to be somewhat healthy to make up for the fact that I have been sitting in the clinic for 12+ hours a day). Also for the sake of being healthy, I cut down the amount of olive oil from 1/3 cup to about 3 tablespoons – and guess what?! It still tasted great and had that smooth, creamy texture. I added some basil leftover from the farmers market, a welcome addition to the dip in my opinion. My only wish was that I had some Marti’s at Midday pita chips to dip in it along with the veggies…but oh yeah, that whole healthy thing. For the original recipe – see White Bean Dip with Pita Chips Recipe : Giada De Laurentiis : Recipes : Food Network.

Garlic & Herb White Bean Dip

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves**
  • salt + freshly ground pepper

Add beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley (or other herbs of your choice) into a food processor and pulse until mixture is smooth (or more coarsely chopped depending on preference). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Voila – easiest. dip. ever.

*I don’t know if this is just me – but I always seem to have a hard time finding cannellini beans at the store. They are also known as white kidney beans. I did not realize this, but since making that realization, finding them has been much easier!

**I used 1/2 parsley and 1/2 basil. I have also made the dip with dried oregano, which turned out good as well. The fresh herbs are definitely better, but it seems to work with a variety of fresh and dried – so experiment!