This recipe was supplied to Starts at 60 by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos and is taken from her new book The Heart Health Guide. The delicious recipe is perfect for any occasion and will definitely impress your guests!
Stuffed capsicums make the ideal filling lunch; they can be eaten hot or cold and also freeze well for last-minute meals. The plant protein from the beans and fibre from the brown rice and quinoa make these very filling. Choose wide capsicums as they are easier to stuff but overall, any colour goes so feel free to mix it up.
- 6 capsicums
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus ¼ cup (60 ml) for baking
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 small red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1/4 fennel bulb, finely diced
- Optional: diced Swiss brown mushrooms
- 200 g black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed, or 1 x 400 g tin, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup (150 g) mixture of brown rice and quinoa
- Optional: 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
- 4 tomatoes, skinned and puréed, or 1 cup (250 ml) puréed tomato
- 2 cups (500 ml) boiling water, plus 1/2 cup (125 ml) for baking
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra leaves to serve
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Leafy green salad, to serve
- Optional: feta, crumbled, to serve
- Carefully cut around the stem of each capsicum and remove the top. Keep these to use as ‘lids’ for the capsicums during cooking. Discard the seeds.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the onion until softened and translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, fennel and mushroom (if using) and continue to cook for a few minutes until the fennel softens. Add the black-eyed peas and rice and quinoa mixture, then stir in the white wine (if using). Cook for a few minutes, or until most of the alcohol has evaporated.
- Add the puréed tomato and 2 cups of boiling water, and simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the rice softens. If the rice is still crunchy, add another cup of boiling water. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 10–15 minutes.
- Stand the capsicums in a deep baking dish, tops facing up, and carefully divide the cooled mixture between the capsicums, filling each one to the top. Put their lids on.
- Pour the ¼ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of boiling water around the capsicums and bake for 45 minutes, checking that the capsicums aren’t burning and adding a splash more boiling water if necessary (if the pan is dry).
- Allow the capsicums to cool a little, then scatter over the flat-leaf parsley leaves and serve with a leafy salad and a small serve of feta (if using).
The Heart Health Guide by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, Published by Macmillan, RRP $34.99, Photography by Rob Palmer.