… Crowd-Pleasin’ Appetizers for Your Super Bowl Party!
Want to serve up some delicious and colorful appetizers that will step above the typical finger food snacks without being pretentious? These Mini Stuffed Pepper Poppers are sure to satisfy anyone at the party. You don’t even have to tell them they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan fare.
Perfect little bite-size finger food, these sweet mini pepper pockets are filled and baked just long enough to maintain a slight snap when you bite into them. The savory filling is made of mushrooms, short grain brown rice, and finely chopped spinach, all sautéd in a bath of lemon-wine sauce. This vegan “meat” mixture is then paired with a dairy-free creamy, cheese-flavored filling made from pine nut puree, with some bits of tender crunch mixed in. The delicious dairy-free cheese mixture must be credited to Alisa Fleming of GoDairyFree.org. She’s the master mind behind creating delicious dairy-free substitutes. Thanks, Alisa. Colorful and bright peppers, a hearty filling peeking out the top, then capped with its own stem, make these poppers complete little meal packages bursting with flavor and fun to eat. Serve them up at your party and see how quickly they disappear.
Mini Stuffed Pepper Poppers
Bake time: 15 minutes
Oven temp: 400ºF
Makes about 2 dozen poppers
24 mini sweet peppers, red, yellow, and orange
10 ounces button mushrooms
1 1/2 cups packed spinach leaves
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon margarine – I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – soy free1
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chicken broth. or vegetable broth for vegan recipe – I use Swanson’s Natural Goodness
3/4 cup cooked rice – I like to use short grain brown rice for a slight chewiness
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup cashews or walnuts
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/8-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon water
Wash peppers, cut tops off, and remove seeds and fibers from inside peppers. Set aside.
Chop mushrooms and spinach finely in a food processor.
Heat oil and margarine over low heat, then add mushrooms and spinach and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, and chicken or vegetable broth. Allow liquids to reduce to almost gone.
Stir rice into mixture and mix well to moisten rice and combine ingredients. Let cool a bit while preparing “cheese” mixture.
Combine pine nuts, cashews or walnuts, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, yeast flakes, salt, onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and water in food processor. Pulse until nuts are chopped and the consistency of the mixture is similar to ricotta cheese.
Stir “cheese” mixture into the mushroom and spinach mixture. Combine well. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425ºF. (You’ll turn this down to 400ºF when you place the peppers into the oven.
Fill a quart-size resealable plastic bag with filling. Snip a small amount off one corner to create a piping bag tip about the size to fit the peppers.
Pipe filling into each pepper, using the handle tip of a spoon to push the filling into the narrow end of the pepper. Finish filling, then cap with the stem end of the pepper. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Leave a little air space between each pepper so they don’t steam from overcrowding while they bake.
Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes on center rack of oven.
Remove pan from oven and place on cooling rack to let the peppers rest a couple of minutes before serving.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™