I have started appreciating Halloween in the recent years as my husband’s family celebrates it, and it’s always fun. I did not grow up having this as a tradition in my house. But now that we have a two-year old – Halloween is becoming big in our house.
I am a big fan of creating family traditions; I find them so important in giving a child roots and a sense of belonging. Even more so now, holidays and family traditions are sacred to me as they bring my entire family together and remind me of what is truly important at the end of the day. Plus they offer us something to look forward to every year and if we let them, teach us valuable ancestral lessons.
Our Halloween celebration is not that big. But now that my daughter is two it is a fun family activity to carve out a pumpkin, bake some monster cookies together and just enjoy the time we spend together. She is obviously still too young to actively participate in the carving of the pumpkins or peppers, but I do give her some responsibility. In the case of pumpkin carving I let her take out the scooped insides. And we prepared these stuffed peppers together as well. She pushed in the “eyes” of the pepper, once they were carved, and she also filled the peppers with the stuffing. It is so nice to see how proud she is after she completes a given task. 🙂
And so if you are looking for a quick and fun Halloween-inspired recipe you can prepare together with your child, give these stuffed peppers a try. They are easier to carve out than pumpkins, as they are softer, so an older child could give it a try under parent’s supervision too. Having peppers in various colors makes the dish look even more fun, so do try to select four different colors of the peppers too. When you select them, make sure the peppers are robust and can stand on their own. If not, you can cut the bottoms slightly to prop them better. Just be careful not to cut them fully, otherwise the filling will fall out. 😉
Here is what you need for these stuffed peppers.
Halloween Stuffed Peppers
- 4 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow and green)
- 250g cooked brown lentils (about 200g dry), cooked in vegetable stock
- 2 medium carrots, in small cubes
- 1 onion, in small cubes
- 2 celery stalks, in small cubes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp ghee or olive oil
- 6-7 brown mushrooms, cubed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried coriander
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- Soak and cook the lentils with some vegetable broth for added flavor. Set the cooked lentils aside.
- Heat up the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Wash and carefully cut out the top of the peppers and remove the seeds from the inside. Carve out eyes, nose and mouth on each pepper.
- Place the tops back on top and put the empty peppers on a baking tray. Let them sit in the hot oven for about 10 minutes, while you prepare the stuffing.
- In a pot heat up 1tsp of ghee or olive oil, and add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Sauté until they soften and become fragrant. Add the mushrooms, stir well and let them cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Add the spices to the mixture – the tomato paste, mustard, cumin, thyme, coriander, paprika and salt. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. 7. Add the cooked lentils to the veggies and mix well. Use a potato masher to mash the lentil mixture a bit. You still want to have some entire lentils in the mixture, but mashing it will help hold the stuffing better.
- Take the peppers out of the oven – they should be soft but not brown. With a spoon stuff the peppers with the lentil filling and place their caps back on top.
- Return the stuffed peppers in the oven and let them bake for another 15-20 minutes, until they get lightly brown and fragrant.