Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Kale and Chorizo

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Offer different versions at a buffet by omitting sausage for vegetarians and further omitting cheese for vegans.

Add color and taste to your Cinco de Mayo buffet with stuffed red, orange and yellow bell peppers.

The filling is mild ’cause chorizo spices up the dish and it’s gluten-free, using rice instead of breadcrumbs. Look for sausage with no fillers. In a pinch, use fully cooked, gluten-free, no nitrates or hormone links found in most supermarkets. If you can’t find chorizo, try the cooked versions of Andouille or chicken sausage with mango. For “cleaner” eating, I prefer less cheese.

6 bell peppers, tops cut off and seeded
3 – 5 chorizo sausage links, skins removed and chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 celery stalks, minced
1 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup loosely shredded kale
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small eggplant
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon wheat-free soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried oregano, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheese  – optional (queso blanco, cheddar, Monterey Jack, goat cheese)
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked
1 cup red wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, coat with olive oil and roast in the oven 45 minutes or until a knife goes easily through the flesh. When cool enough to handle scrape out flesh and chop with a spoon.  Set aside. In a heavy skillet, brown sausage and drain fat. Remove and set aside. In a stock pot, add olive oil, onion, celery, garlic and kale. Saute until the mixture is softened. Add plum tomatoes, 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes, eggplant, soy sauce, parsley, basil, oregano and salt and pepper. Add rice and cheese. Stuff peppers and add extra cheese on top if desired

In an oven proof 9 x 13 inch glass dish, mix tomatoes with wine. Add salt and pepper and stir. Place peppers upright in dish and add pepper tops into the tomato mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

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