A friend asked me for my recipe for Stuffed Bell Peppers a couple of weeks ago. I realized I had not made them since I did that post. So, I decided I’d mix it up a little and try something different with the recipe. Instead of 2/3 cup of onion, I used an entire onion and reduced the amount of ground beef to 1/4 pound. I added brown rice (1 cup dry cooked in 3 cups gluten-free beef broth) and traded the tomato for 1 cup of diced butternut squash. I also used a bit less than 1/4 head of red cabbage. The cabbage head I bought was pretty big.
I ended up with something I think is amazing. It has a more robust flavor. I would have thought others would smell the beef and seasonings, but when I took the leftovers into work last Friday and Saturday for lunch, my co-workers all kept saying, “I smell peppers.” One of them even came into the break room while I was eating and said, “I smell fresh peppers,” and looked between me and the other co-worker eating their lunch. I told him I had stuffed bell peppers. He said, “Good to know my nose still works,” then walked right out of the room! Gave me a little giggle.
I had leftover filling and raw ingredients and decided I’d try to conjure up a soup with everything. The recipe as I’m giving it is how I made it. The next time I make it, I’m going to do it a little differently to help retain the brightness of the squash.
Butternut Squash Soup with Leftovers
1/2 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil (or other oil choice)
4 cups butternut squash, chopped
fresh thyme sprigs
2 scant cups beef broth
1 pint coconut creamer
1 cup bell peppers, chopped (this was from the tops that I chopped off the peppers in order to stuff them)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 1/2 cups leftover bell pepper stuffing
1/2 cup dried black beans, soaked, drained, boiled, and drained again (drain WELL after cooking)
Heat a medium to large pot and then add grapeseed oil. Add onions, some salt, and some pepper. Saute the onions for about 3-5 minutes. Add the butternut squash, thyme, and beef broth. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. The butternut squash should be fork tender. Remove the thyme sprigs and use an immersion blender on low to puree the soup in the pot. (Yes, I finally replaced the one I sacrificed in the name of homemade soap, finally.) While pureeing the soup, slowly add the coconut creamer. Once the soup is well blended, add the remaining ingredients, adjust your seasonings, and simmer for another 10-20 minutes, until the cabbage and bell peppers are tender (but not too soft).
Make sure the beans are drained well. I took this picture before I added the black beans and there was still a little water and it muddied the color a bit.
I was chopping up the squash and I kept thinking, this looks like cheese. My husband came in several minutes later and thought it was cheese. He thought it was an awful lot of cheese I was chopping! When I added the leftovers to the soup, I thought, now this looks like queso. I think cheese was really on the brain!
I asked my husband what he thought of the soup and he said, “It’s good. It just looks weird.” Indeed.
He ate it all up and didn’t even have to add salt!
*This post is linked to Seasonal Sunday at Real Sustenance.