Ottolenghi-Style Stuffed Peppers [CYOB]

Inspired by the flavors and ingredients in Ottolenghi's coveted Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters, my interpretation of the dish has at least half as many calories, and half the fat. (And that's for twice as much food).

Inspired by the flavors and ingredients in Ottolenghi’s coveted Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters, my interpretation of the dish has at least half as many calories, and half the fat.

Create Your Own Bite #32

Ottolenghi-Style Stuffed Peppers

For The Sauce:

Zest of 1 Lime (Approximately 1 Teaspoon)

1 Tablespoon Fresh-Squeezed Lime Juice

2 Tablespoons Fat-Free Greek Yogurt

1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Cilantro, Chopped

Salt and Pepper, To Taste

For The Stuffed Pepper:

1 Green Bell Pepper, Halved and Seeded

2 Cups Cauliflower, Chopped into Small Florets

1 Clove Garlic, Minced

1/8 Sweet Yellow Onion, Diced

2 Tablespoons Egg Beater

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 Tablespoon Chopped Cilantro

Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Estimated Calories: 40 Per Serving (Makes 2 Servings)

I love the way the green bell pepper suggests the bright, vibrant flavors of the lime and cilantro.

I love the way the green bell pepper suggests the bright, vibrant flavors of the lime and cilantro.

When I was living in London, I was told I absolutely must dine at Ottolenghi, the eponymous restaurant of Jerusalem-born chef and restaurateur, Yotam Ottolenghi. I made it as far as NOPI, his SoHo restaurant, and I have been devouring recipes from his vegetable-heavy cookbooks ever since.

When I was the “Most Wanted” request for Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters on the last page of the latest Food & Wine magazine, I was dying to try it.

But fritters typically call for flour and copious amounts of oil, and this recipe was no exception. Still, I was inspired by the cilantro, lime zest, cumin and – of course – cauliflower. And so I gave the recipe a new vehicle. Instead of the fritter (essentially the flour and oil / brick and mortar of the recipe) I transformed the Ottolenghi creation into a healthy, low-calorie, gluten-free version – stuffed in a green bell pepper.

The smoky flavor of the cumin is enhanced by the cinnamon, all of which flirt well with the citrus in the sauce.

The smoky flavor of the cumin is enhanced by the cinnamon, all of which flirt well with the citrus in the sauce.

Start by preparing the stuffing. Cut cauliflower florets and onion into small pieces, and spread on a baking sheet. Toss with minced garlic and a modest drizzle of olive oil. Dust with the ground cinnamon, cumin, salt, and pepper, topping the mixture with one tablespoon of the chopped cilantro.

Crack salt and fresh black pepper into the inside of the bell pepper halves, and roast cut-side down. Bake for 15 minutes 400 degrees.

While the stuffing and pepper cooks,  prepare the Lime-Yogurt sauce. Stir in all the ingredients, saving the olive oil for last. Whisk this in until fully incorporated. The sauce will be very tart – this is a good thing.

When zesting - anything -make sure to avoid grating the skin too deep. Slicing into the bitter white pith can quickly ruin a recipe.

When zesting – anything -make sure to avoid grating the skin too deep. Slicing into the bitter white pith can quickly ruin a recipe.

When the stuffing and bell pepper have finished cooking (Cauliflower should be soft, onions translucent, and the bell pepper should be just-blistering on top), remove from the oven and increase the heat to 425.

Distribute the stuffing into the two sections of bell pepper, and pour one tablespoon of egg beater into each. Top this with the Lime-Yogurt sauce, and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is cooked through.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, and serve with the remaining sauce.  This recipe is also fantastic with a fresh salsa verde.

For a thicker sauce, halve the amount of lime juice and double the zest. Use the remainder as a bright and refreshing salad dressing the next day, thinned with more lime juice and a splash of cider vinegar.

For a thicker sauce, halve the amount of lime juice and double the zest. Use the remainder as a bright and refreshing salad dressing the next day, thinned with more lime juice and a splash of cider vinegar.

I can’t tell you that this recipe is really anything like the Cauliflower Cumin Fritters featured in Food & Wine, or that Ottolenghi and his coauthor, chef Sami Tamimi, would even connect it with the recipe they detailed in their latest cookbook, Ottolenghi. 

But I can tell you that the most marvelous part of cooking is taking something – a recipe, an ingredient, an inspiration – and making it completely your own. And, if you think this all sounds good and dandy, but you’d like a fritter after all – keep things light by using egg beaters instead of eggs, and use your oil and flour sparingly.

Until next time,

Melanie

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