Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bell Peppers Stuffed with Potatoes, Feta, and Mint Pesto (and) Carrot-Cashew Salad

Last week, I promised a recipe for mint pesto in my post on fresh mint ice cream - and here it is!  I recently got the new River Cottage Veg cookbook, and was totally wowed - so many fantastic veggie-based recipes to choose from! Everything here looks fresh, delicious, and full of flavor.  Since we'd gotten two big bunches of mint in our CSA, I knew the first thing I made would involve mint.  I totally fell in love with the recipe for vegan mint pesto.  I'm generally not a huge pesto fan - it's okay, but not my favorite.  Switching out the basil for mint and the pine nuts (so expensive!) for almonds really makes this sauce a winner for me.  Because there's no cheese in the pesto, it keeps longer in the fridge and also combines well with dishes that do have cheese in them without clashing.

Here, the pesto is combined with boiled new potatoes and feta cheese, and then stuffed inside bell peppers for a totally delicious vegetarian main.  The stuffed peppers really felt special - I could definitely see making them for a holiday or other special occasion when you want to make sure vegetarians don't feel left out.  I will say that the amount of feta cheese in the filling is high - it's about a 1:1 ratio of potatoes to feta, and I think next time I probably aim for twice as many potatoes as feta.  Either way, because feta plays a starring role here, you'll want to make sure you get a good quality, fresh feta - not the kind that is pre-crumbled in a plastic tub.

Alongside the stuffed peppers is a fantastic carrot salad.  You all know that I love my carrot salads - they're so easy to make, and leftovers keep way longer than green salads.  This particular carrot salad is a great one - orange segments make it a little sweet, while cumin seeds add a smoky note and cashews provide a nutty crunch.  Definitely a winner!

Bell Peppers Stuffed with Potatoes, Feta, and Mint Pesto (adapted from River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes)
Serves 3-4

For the pesto:
1/3 cup lightly toasted almonds
A large bunch of mint, leaves picked off
1 garlic clove, chopped
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

For the peppers:
7 ounces small new potatoes
3-4 bell peppers (use less if you have large peppers)
Olive oil
7 ounces good-quality feta cheese

1. Make the pesto.  Put the almonds, mint, garlic, and lemon zest in the food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add the mustard and sugar, and pulse a few times.  With the motor running, stream in the olive oil to create a thick puree.  Squeeze in the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and boil for 8-12 minutes, until tender.  Drain and let cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
4. Halve the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs.  Rub the outsides with oil, and then place in a roasting pan.
5. Halve or quarter the potatoes, and place in a bowl.  Cut the feta into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the potatoes.  Add about half the pesto and toss until well-combined.  Add more pesto until you get the consistency you like.  Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper.
6. Spoon the filling into the peppers.  Bake 40-45 minutes.  (If the tops look like they're getting too brown  before the peppers are fully roasted, cover with tin foil.)  Serve hot.

Carrot-Cashew Salad (adapted from River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes)
Serves 2-4

1/2 cup cashews
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 oranges, supremed, juice reserved
2-3 large carrots, peeled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Toast the cashews in a hot, dry skillet until they just begin to brown.  Add the cumin seeds, and toast for a minute more, until fragrant.  Transfer to a plate to cool.
2. Place the orange segments and and orange juice in a large bowl.  Grate the carrots using a large-holed grater, and add them to the bowl with the oranges.  Splash in a little oil, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
3. Add the cashews and cumin, and toss again.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.

In other exciting news, we brought home a new cat over the weekend!  Leo is a super-snuggly love bug and he's been helping me write this post!  Here's a photo for your viewing pleasure:


  1. I've never thought to stuff peppers with potatoes! Looks delicious! I didn't even try fresh mint until a few years ago. Love it!

  2. Oh my gosh, I can not WAIT to try this pesto!

  3. What a delicious meal that you could serve to just about anyone and keep them happy :)