My inspiration for this recipe came from my mom’s stuffed green bell peppers. I like to use red bell peppers because they are riper, sweeter, and more nutritious than green.

This recipe is written for 4 servings but there is enough filling to serve 5. So if you’re expecting an extra guest, simply have an extra bell pepper on hand.

Note: Store-bought seitan usually contains salt

  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings
  • Total: 2 hrs and 25 mins
  • Active: 1 hr

Ingredients (17)

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and seeded
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1 pound seitan, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 or 5 sprigs for garnish


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the rice and 2 cups of water. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Warm a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook for about 4 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the rice smells nutty, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sauté for 1 additional minute. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, let stand with the lid on for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Remove the lid and set aside to cool a bit.
  4. While the rice is cooking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet, and place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a corner of the baking sheet. Broil fairly close to the heat source until the tomatoes and garlic cloves begin to blacken, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the garlic to a small bowl to cool. Turn the tomatoes with tongs and return them to the broiler. Continue to broil until the tomatoes begin to blacken on the other side, about 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  5. When cooled, slip the garlic cloves out of their skins and transfer to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the tomatoes and their juices from the baking sheet. Process in 2 or 3 quick pulses; the mixture should be chunky. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  6. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the red bell peppers, in 2 batches if necessary, and blanch for 1 minute, or until just slightly softened. Make sure the bell peppers stay immersed in the water, pushing them down with a spider if necessary. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and set aside upside down in a colander to drain.
  7. Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow and red onions and diced green bell peppers and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the seitan, allspice, cumin, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and cayenne and sauté, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until the seitan starts to brown. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, until the garlic has softened. Remove from the heat, add the rice, 2 cups of the tomato-garlic mixture (reserve the rest for topping the finished peppers), the vinegar, and thyme and stir well.
  8. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and transfer them to a baking dish large enough to fit the bell peppers snugly. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
  9. Remove from oven and top the bell peppers with the remaining tomato-garlic mixture. Cool to room temperature before serving (if it’s a hot summer day), or serve hot, garnished with a sprig of thyme.