Vegetable and Barley Stuffed Peppers

A New Years resolution is a goal that someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year.
I have many goals for 2011 food related and otherwise which I won’t bore you with right now but one thing I will continue to do is to eat more meatless meals. I have to admit I really enjoy cooking with vegetables the possibilities are endless and besides all that color on my plate just makes me happy!
Mixing vegetables with your favorite grains and pastas result in a very hearty and satisfying meal, such is the case with my vegetable and barley stuffed peppers.

Roasted artichoke hearts and portobello mushrooms are the two key ingredients here tossed into the barley, and then of course all that goodness gets stuffed into an edible sweet roasted red pepper. Yes, you could use rice, but I urge you make this with barley, it’s a welcome change. Oh, and did I mention that barley is a nutritional powerhouse? It’s packed with fiber and it even helps lower cholesterol so it’s a win win situation all around!

I served a nice Italian salad along side my stuffed peppers and the husband and myself were very happy and contented!

Prepare your barley just like you do rice using three times as much water as barley. When it’s finished I like to cool it down on a sheet pan so it doesn’t keep cooking and become mushy, you want to retain that nice chewy texture that barley is know for.

The vegetables I used and tossed into my barley were;

Frozen artichoke hearts drizzled with olive oil and roasted in a 400F oven as well as large diced portobello mushroom pieces, diced zucchini is another option as well.
Chopped red onion
Sliced cherry tomatoes
Feta cheese
Fresh basil and parsley
Lemon zest and juice
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste
To prepare the peppers slice the top off, scoop out the seeds, brush inside and out with olive oil and roast in oven or under the broiler just until knife tender but watch so they do not colapse, the pepper will be your vessel for the stuffing.
This can be served room temperature or slightly warmed.
Buon Appetito!