Orzo is a rice shaped pasta that takes only 5-6 minutes to cook. This versatile pasta is the perfect size to stuff inside bell peppers for an elegant and nutritious dish.
Bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C, A, B6, and powerful antioxidants that guard your cells from damage. Your lungs, eyes, colon, joints, and skin are especially protected by these nutrients. For example your skin needs collagen, which is produced by vitamin C, to stay firm and prevent wrinkles.
Makes 6 servings (1 serving equals 1 stuffed bell pepper)
4 medium tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, split into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts (if you don’t have pine nuts on hand then use 4 tablespoons olive oil total)
1/2 small red onion
1/2 teaspoon each: sea salt and black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1.5 cups dry whole grain orzo
6 bell peppers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds in the middle, leaving you with firm outer part of the tomato. Add the tomatoes, basil, 1/2 up Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, onion, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a food processor and blend until you get a chunky sauce.
In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add the dry orzo and cook for 4 minutes. Do not overcook the orzo since it will cook more in the oven. Drain the orzo and pour the warm vegetable broth into a large 13 x 9 baking dish. Toss the orzo with the chunky tomato sauce.
Slice the tops of the peppers off and remove the ribs and seeds. Place peppers in the baking dish and spoon orzo mixture into each pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle top of each pepper with remaining Parmesan cheese, and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.
Recipe Note: I topped my peppers with slices of Parmesan cheese instead of grated Parmesan. I would recommend using grated Parmesan cheese to avoid this and have an even layer of cheese on top your peppers.
Nutrition facts per serving (1 stuffed bell pepper): 287 calories, 11 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 566 mg sodium, 37 g total carbohydrates, 7 g fiber ,12 g protein
BALANCE IT OUT: The tomato & basil orzo stuffed peppers go great with a large salad or grilled fish or chicken with a side salad. Personally I paired mine with a large kale and olive salad.