Cook this: Packed peppers from Cook More, Waste Less

‘Peppers make a vibrant lifeboat for your leftovers,’ says Christine Tizzard

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Our cookbook of the week is Cook More, Waste Less by food stylist and recipe developer Christine Tizzard. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.

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By using bell peppers as a vessel, zero-waste advocate Christine Tizzard transforms her leftovers. In addition to her efforts to help people tackle household food waste, she wants to inspire them to start serving meals a bit differently, too.

“There’s no reason why a lot of these vegetables and gourds and squash and things like that can’t be used as a vessel as well as part of the recipe,” says Tizzard.

She especially likes to pack peppers with fried rice, “any leftover stewy thing” such as chili, and roast chicken or pulled pork that she can stir through with sauce, mix with cheese and bake in the oven.

“It’s always going to taste good, and it’s just a little different and doesn’t take very much time,” says Tizzard.

Poblano peppers — her personal favourite — make a great substitute for bell: “Especially if you have a really good chili or pulled pork, the poblano pepper is so good.”

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Cook More, Waste Less by Christine Tizzard
In her second cookbook, food stylist and recipe developer Christine Tizzard shares strategies for tackling household food waste. Photo by Appetite by Random House

PACKED PEPPERS

Uses up: peppers, cooked protein, cooked grains, cheese, tomato sauce
Total time: 30 minutes
Keeps for: up to 3 days in the fridge
Can substitute: Bell peppers with field or poblano peppers cut in half lengthwise; amount of filling may change depending on the size of the peppers

4 bell peppers (see substitutions)
1/2 lb cooked protein
1 cup cooked grains
1–2 cups sauce such as a homemade marinara (recipe follows) or cream
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (or more) grated cheese or a few tbsp of nutritional yeast (+ extra to garnish), divided

Optional add-ins:
2–3 green onions, chopped
Fresh herbs, chopped, or a few tsp dried herbs
Hot sauce, to taste

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a baking dish big enough to hold the peppers with oil or butter.

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Step 2

Cut the tops of the bell peppers off, as you would a jack-o’-lantern. Discard the seeds and membranes. Remove the stems from the tops and discard, reserving the tops for the filling. Dice the tops.

Step 3

Place the peppers cut side up in the prepared dish. If the peppers won’t stand up, you can slice some of their bottoms off to even them out.

Step 4

In a bowl, mix the protein, grain, sauce, and any optional add-ins with the diced pepper tops and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the cheese, reserving a little to use as a garnish. Spoon the stuffing into the peppers and sprinkle cheese over top.

Step 5

Pour just enough water in the baking dish to cover the bottom. Cover the peppers loosely with compostable parchment, a silicone baking mat, or the top of a pot or pan.

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Step 6

Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the tops. The filling should be heated through and the peppers softened.

Serves: 4

Food 911: I have also made this recipe with jalapeños stuffed with a little leftover stew or chili and grated cheese, perfect served as a spicy appetizer for parties.

MARINARA

Uses up: tomatoes
Total time: 20 minutes
Keeps for: 5–7 days in an airtight container in the fridge, or in the freezer for up to 1 year

1/4 cup olive oil
4–8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 lb fresh tomatoes, chopped, or 2 cans (28 oz each) tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Step 1

In a large pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 2

Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let thicken, about 15 minutes. Stir in the basil towards the end of the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, or basil. If you like, blend or purée the sauce.

Makes: about 4 cups

Recipes and image excerpted from Cook More, Waste Less by Christine Tizzard. Copyright © 2021 Christine Tizzard. Photography © Reena Newman. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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