Kasha-stuffed peppers will fill you up

Gretchen McKay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Roasted buckwheat kernels — also known as kasha — are a nutritious substitute for potatoes or rice. Buckwheat is the best-known source of plant-based protein, and it’s gluten-free. That makes it a perfect choice for vegetarians looking for a healthful lunch or dinner.

Kasha has a nutty, earthy flavor that lends itself to hearty casserole dishes. Here, it’s cooked with mushrooms, carrots and onions and stuffed into bell peppers. Feta adds a satisfying tang.

Kasha-Stuffed Italian Peppers

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

11/2 cups chopped onions

1/2 cup diced carrot

8 ounces fresh white mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)

1 cup whole kasha

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dillweed or 2 teaspoons dried

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 5 ounces)

4 sweet green or red bell peppers, cut lengthwise in halves and seeded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onions and carrot; cook and stir until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, kasha, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir until mushrooms are tender and kasha is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in 11/2 cups water and the dill; cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Stir in half of the feta. Spoon kasha mixture into each pepper half, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with remaining feta. Arrange peppers in a single layer in a microwaveable dish.

Add 1/2 cup water to the dish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or waxed paper; microwave on high until peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Let stand 3 minutes. (I skipped this step, with good results.)

Arrange stuffed peppers in a single layer in an ovenproof casserole dish. Add 3/4 cup water to the dish. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.

Serves 4.