Greater than the sum of its ingredients (or, Luxembourg holiday update #4)

Well I thought this dinner needed a post of its own.

I can’t be the only vegan who quietly sighs when I learn that my special vegan option is a stuffed pepper… Right?

However, my mum’s stuffed peppers or, indeed, stuffed anything, are a dinner to look forward to. You know why? Because she a) doesn’t cut corners, b) isn’t afraid to wing it and c) recognises the importance of the little ingredients which you would never know are there, but make all the difference.

Stuffed peppers and zucchini dish

I firmly believe that eating and enjoying food is an experience that involves all the senses. How pretty are they?

Stuffed with quinoa, toasted pine nuts, and figs – light, subtly flavoured, slightly crunchy, moist, with little flecks of juicy sweetness. And, obviously, healthy (not necessarily in the amounts I ate, mind, but I could eat large amounts of unhealthy things so let’s pick our battles shall we?).

Leftover filling

And really not all that hard or long to make either – I reckon it took about 45mins to make these, then about half an hour in the oven, which means if you were pushed for time you could tidy up in the time they are in the oven and save yourself the time later. I didn’t make these (thanks Mum!) but I suppose you could sauté a view vegetables whilst cooking the quinoa, add the cooked quinoa to the pan with the seasonings you want for your filling, then fill your peppers, zucchini, squash, aubergine or whatever else you have to hand (tomatoes might go a bit soft with this sort of filling, mind), and stick them in the oven while you clean up or do whatever you need to do. None of that should take too long – you can spend as long adding ingredients or simmering as you want, really.

And the result really does look like something quite special, something you could easily serve up to guests – my whole family and Ben ate these and probably didn’t really think about the fact that they were eating a vegan meal.

Topped with tomato and basil sauce for the added antioxidants… Or maybe just because it tastes good.

Stuffed zucchini and pepper plate

I have to admit after eating two zucchinis, one pepper and the last few mouthfuls of Ben’s pepper, I was quite full. But couldn’t resist the gorgeous mango, kiwi and pomegranate fruit salad we had for dessert… I didn’t manage to get a photo but I’m sure you can imagine how colourful that was. General nutrition advice is to eat as many colours as you can and I’m pretty sure this meal has that box ticked. Then quinoa on its own ticks a whole lot of boxes anyway – it’s pretty much a nutritional overachiever.

Healthy, pretty, colourful, and tasty. Not to be confused with low-calorie… But sometimes you just have to choose your priorities in life.