Polenta Stuffed Peppers

Hard to believe March is almost done! We always start out the month with the next month’s calendar page looking clear and end up with it jam-packed with activities. Next month we will celebrate Ben’s 3rd birthday, start new activities for each kid (Ben is doing tumbling, Tabby ballet), run our 7th (?!!) half marathon, have a visit from Matt’s mom and a big bunch of other activities, including prepping for our camping trip in May. I will also tackle the 4th cookbook of the year, Thai Street Food.

But March isn’t out just yet. And I have a couple of recipes left to share with you from Moosewood Simple Suppers. Today I bring you tales of polenta stuffed peppers. I am always a fan of stuffed veggies, be they squash or peppers or pumpkins! There is usually a bit more cooking time, but the prep is usually pretty easy and the results are usually delicious. This recipe was made doable even for a weeknight. You start cooking the peppers without stuffing, while you are prepping the stuffing, then stuff them and finish off the cooking. We opted to prep these the night before, but they easily could have been done in the evening.

Polenta Stuffed Peppers, adapted from Moosewood Simple Suppers

  • 4-5 red, orange or yellow bell peppers, sliced lengthwise through the stem, ribs and seeds removed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 C water
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 1.5 C corn kernels (frozen works fine)
  • 2 C cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 C chopped olives (Spanish are recommended, but they do not seem to be readily available in my normal stores, and the kids LOVE black olives, so that’s what we used)
  • 16 oz salsa of your choice
  • can of black beans, drained

Heat oven to 450. Put 4 cups water in a medium sauce pan on high to boil, with red pepper flakes if desired. Rub peppers inside and out with olive oil (or use your mister if you’ve got one!) and roast at 450 for 15 minutes. While the peppers cook, prepare polenta. When water comes to a boil, slowly whisk in the cornmeal and continue cooking, stirring until tender and thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese, corn kernels, butter, and olives. Season with S&P to taste if desired. Fill peppers with polenta mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. While peppers cook, mix salsa and beans.

Serve peppers with beans and salsa on the side or over top. We also topped our green salads with the mixture and a little cheese – YUM.

For the kids, we cooked just the mixture in ramekins and topped them only with some beans (no salsa). Of course they each had to take a no-thank-you bite of the pepper. They’ll be up for it some day!!