VEGETARIAN MINCE STUFFED CAPSICUMS
Gluten free, grain free, FODMAP friendly, vegan and nut free adaptable
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
For the mince:
- 1 500 g packet firm tofu frozen and defrosted
- 2 medium carrots finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Tamari
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano optional
- 800 g plain tinned tomatoes buy a big 800g tin to save on waste
- 1 cup of water you might need 2, you could also use red wine for a richer flavour
- Generous pepper to taste
- 7-8 large red capsicums
- A thin layer of oil seasoned with salt pepper and chilli flakes, for the bottom of the dish
- Cheese for the top optional, I used gruyere because it melts well for pictures lol
- FODMAP friendly vegan pesto recipe link is in the notes, optional
To make the mince:
First and most importantly is to ensure that you’ve frozen and defrosted your tofu, ready to go. See the recipe notes if you’re a little lost on what to do.
Once the tofu has defrosted, squeeze as much excess liquid as you can out, and tear the tofu into very small, mince like pieces. Set aside.
In a large saucepan or skillet, preheat the olive oil, and add the chopped carrot. Cook for around 10 minutes until the carrot has shrivelled and become golden in colour.
While the carrot is cooking, mix together all the ingredients except for the water and tinned tomatoes. This makes it quick and easy to add then the time is right.
Once the carrots are cooked, stir in the liquid. It will sizzle and bubble a little. Once you have stirred it all to combine (the tomato paste should have assimilated into the mixture) add the tinned tomatoes. Stir until combined, and finally add the tofu and water. Stir thoroughly and cook for around 10 minutes until the tofu has taken on the colour of the sauce. Season to taste, adding generous cracked pepper. You could add a bit of salt or more Tamari here, if you think it needs it. You could also add some chilli, smoked paprika, or any other dried herbs you see fit. Remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 356 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice your capsicums into boats – how you do this will depend on the size of the capsicums you have, but I generally sliced mine into 3 large ‘cheeks’ ensuring they each had a ‘wall’ so the mince didn’t spill out. You could also cut the capsicums in half, or even just slice the lid off. This will yield significantly less individual capsicum boats, but it might be easier if you have smaller capsicums. Whatever you do, make sure you’ve removed the seeds and the white pith, if it’s getting in the way.
Place the seasoned chilli oil (I used Aleppo because it’s quite mild) in the base of your baking dish, and arrange the capsicums, inside up. You will likely need to use two baking dishes. Divide the mince evenly between the capsicums, filling them up. You might have leftover mince, which you can stir through pasta, eat with rice, or just on it’s own.
Top the capsicums with some finely and freshly grated cheese, and place into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes and then swap the baking dishes, top the bottom, to encourage even cooking. You might not have a tiny oven like me, so only do this if you need to.
Cook the capsicums for an additional 20 minutes, or until the sides are cooked but not soggy. You can pop the grill on the brown the cheese, if you like. Once done to your liking, remove from the oven, top with pesto and serve.
These capsicums will keep in the fridge for a few days, and make an excellent lunch the next day. You could serve with rice, a salad, or just eat solo.