This recipe provides you with a good example of what I do while I’m waiting for dinner to finish cooking. I don’t kick my feet up and wait for the timer to go off. Nor do I clean the kitchen while watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory (usually). Instead, while dinner is simmering away, I make tasty appetizers and snacks. They’re delicious little bites of savory goodness that sometimes make me too stuffed for the actual meal (pssh, I can’t just have one!). To be honest, I kind of consider appetizers to be unnecessary calories, but they’re just so darn good that I eat them time and time again! We had peppers that were probably going bad within the next week, so hey, why not make a little appy app for the folks? ;)
It’s a pretty simple idea; stuff a vegetable with cheese, bake, and eat. We all know that anything with cheese tastes great, but for a bit of protein and texture, I puree fried chickpeas with the other ingredients. They almost make the filling taste “meaty”…yet light. Oh, and just a heads up – instead of using high calorie cream cheese, I folded in a little nonfat yogurt to keep everything moist and healthy while still being creamy.
My mom wanted me to mention how cool the bright green filling looks against the vibrant yellow, orange, and red peppers. It instantly puts you in a festive mood. Overall it’s a great (and colorful) way to start your meal. And not to pat myself on the back, but I think it’s a pretty genius “trick” to get more veggies on the table. Enjoy!
**The red peppers are my favorite. They’re extra tender, extra sweet, and extra snack-able!**
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chickpeas (drained/rinsed)
5 sun-dried tomatoes (diced)
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 dashes hot sauce (optional)
Salt/pepper, to taste
9-12 small sweet peppers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small frying pan over medium heat, add the oil and chickpeas. Fry until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from oil.
Put all of the ingredients (other than the peppers) into a food processor and blend until it resembles a chunky paste. Scoop this filling into a zip-lock bag. Snip off one of the corners of the bag.
Slice the tops off the peppers. Scoop out seeds and as much of the membrane as you can. Using the zip-lock bag, pipe the filling into each pepper. When complete, put the peppers onto a greased baking sheet, or standing straight up in a mini muffin tin.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until peppers are slightly tender and filling is warmed through.
Serve and enjoy!