Sweet Stuffing

Taking a look at the garden basket in my kitchen, I can see tomatoes, summer squash, onions, peppers, and even an eggplant waiting for my attention. Sometimes, when the garden, CSA box, and market deliver, they do so in spades! Late August and throughout September, this is often the case. That means lots of stir-fries and veggie-based meals. One of my favorites involves stuffing these beautiful vegetables. And my favorite version is a Hawaiian-inspired stuffing for peppers:

Peppers are downright beautiful this time of year and their sweetness makes them a go-to snack for dips or just crunchy eating in the backyard. But when they get halved and hollowed out, they become perfect vessels for a salty-spicy-sweet rice mixture that's brimming with even more garden bounty. Then, bake them while they rest on top of a mountain of spiced pineapple. When it's all done, you have a one-dish meal that will have you thinking tropical thoughts — which is probably perfect this time of the year!

The filling can be tweaked a bit, but I highly recommend sticking with a foundation of rice and the chopped pineapple. If you wanted to use diced pork instead of diced chicken, that would be fine and just about any combination of vegetables you have on hand will work. I chose the ones listed because I had plenty and I thought they looked bright and colorful in the peppers. Pick what you and your fellow diners love.

As I mentioned above, this is a great one-dish meal and doesn't require any sides. Simply set a stuffed pepper half on a plate and nestle some of the warm, spiced pineapple alongside it. Maybe you could get a bit festive with a fancy umbrella drink, but I tend to keep it simple with a little chilled wine or a tall glass of iced tea. Enjoy!

Hawaiian Stuffed Peppers

  • 1/2 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 2 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 c. cooked rice
  • 1 T. peanut oil
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 c. sliced green onions
  • 1 c. diced cooked chicken
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1-2 tsp. sriracha
  • 3 sweet peppers — halved and seeded

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the cubed pineapple in a 9x13-inch baking pan, reserving 3-4 chunks for the rice. Toss with the sugar and cinnamon and allow to rest while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Chop the reserved pineapple into tiny pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped pineapple, rice, oil, zucchini, carrot, onion, and chicken. In a small, resealable jar, combine the soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, and sriracha. Shake vigorously to combine. Add to the rice mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Place the hollowed out pepper halves in the baking pan on top of the cubed pineapple. Spoon some of the rice mixture into each of the pepper halves. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Serve the warm pineapple alongside the stuffed peppers.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour