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Black Rice Stuffed Peppers with Cashew Cream Sauce

Black Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers with Cashew Cream Sauce

Makes 10 servings

For the stuffed bell peppers:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon za’atar spice mix
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (8 ounces) tomato puree
1 cup (8 ounces) tomato paste
3 cups cooked Lundberg Black Japonica rice (1 cup rice cooked with 2 cups water)
5 orange sweet bell peppers (or whichever color you prefer), cut in half lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed and discarded
1/2 cup water

For the cashew cream sauce:
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/4–1 teaspoon salt

1. Make the stuffed bell peppers: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion, stirring occasionally, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, za’atar, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute and then stir in the beans, tomato puree, and tomato paste. Heat through and then stir in the cooked black Japonica rice.

3. Fill the pepper halves with the rice mixture, then place the stuffed peppers in a large rectangular banking dish. Pour the water into the dish around the peppers, being careful not to get it in the peppers. Cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil.

4. Bake the peppers in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the peppers are crisp-tender.

5. Make the cashew cream: When you put the peppers in the oven, place the cashews in a small bowl and cover them with the boiling water. Let them soak for 30 minutes.

6. Drain the cashews, then place them in a high-powered blender or food processor with the 1/2 cup of cold water and the remaining ingredients, starting with just 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Blend until very smooth, then taste and add additional salt as desired.

7. Serve the stuffed peppers with the cashew cream.