Whenever I ask Apolinaras where he’d like to go out to dinner, he inevitability suggests his favorite BBQ place in Boston, Blue Ribbon. I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan too, and actually just writing this post is making me crave some pulled pork and burnt ends! But, while their BBQ is amazing, out of all the side dishes I’ve had there, and believe me, I’ve pretty much tried them all, only the mashed potatoes really do it for me. So, I usually order one of their special sides of the day and last time they were featuring eggplant orzo. I was pleasantly surprised when it was quite addicting! Apolinaras actually immediately requested I try to recreate it at home, which is a first for him.
During one of our big snowstorms this winter, I was craving some summer flavors and finally got around to making the dish. I mixed the orzo with eggplant, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, and lots of feta, and dressed it with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then I stuffed the mixture into roasted red peppers – so tasty! I calculated out (yes, I’m a dork!) that the amount of orzo in this recipe makes enough to fill 10 bell peppers, but I actually only stuffed 4 and we enjoyed the rest of the orzo on its own. Red bell peppers are pricey, but I went ahead and included all 10 in the cost below. I think I’m going to try roasting the veggies next time too instead of sautéing them. Can’t wait to make this again!
Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers
10 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and seeded
1 pound orzo
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 zucchinis, chopped into 1-inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of one lemon
1 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 cups crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 400˚F. Place peppers on a greased baking sheet and roast at 400˚F for 20 minutes or until tender.
Prepare orzo according to package directions, drain, and place in a large bowl.
Place 2 tablespoons olive oil, red onion, eggplant, and zucchini in a very large nonstick skillet (working in batches if needed) and sauté 7 to 9 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and sauté one additional minute. Mix cooked veggies, lemon juice, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, feta, and salt in the large bowl with the orzo. Stuff orzo mixture evenly into roasted peppers. Makes 10 servings.
Nutrition: 398 calories, 15.9g fat, 7.8g fiber, 13.2g protein per serving
Cost: $2.24 per serving