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Mexican Polenta-Stuffed Peppers (Moosewood Collective)

October 14, 2010

The following recipe is straight from the Moosewood Collective’s Simple Suppers– it is one of our favorites.  AAM’s aunt and uncle are vegetarians, and gave us the book for our first married Christmas, almost five years ago. An easy dish for a weeknight or a dressed up dish for guests, it is most definitely a staple in our house. AAM’s  sister also serves it for special occasions when we are in town; she is such a sweetheart to think about us. It also can be made and served later. We freeze the leftover polenta, and just buy peppers when we are ready to make it again, which makes it the easiest meal ever. How easy is it? After a day of teaching almost every period, meeting with students until 4, rushing home to entertain a teething baby for 3 hours, while cooking/mushing said baby’s eggplant babyfood, I managed to have this on time. for AAM to eat before his lacrosse game.

Mexican Polenta-Stuffed Peppers


  • 5 large bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sprinkling of salt


  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tb red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup polenta cornmeal (or buy regular cornmeal)
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional, omit for vegan recipe)
  • 1/2 cup chopped spanish olives


  • 1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450º. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, but leave the stem ends on so the peppers will hold their shape. Brush the pepper halves with oil, inside and out, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place cut-side up on an oiled baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender but still holding their shape, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the peppers roast, in a heavy saucepan, bring the water, salt, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Add the polenta in slow, steady stream while whisking. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until thickened. Stir in the corn, oil or butter, 1 cup of cheese, and the olives. Remove from the heat.
  3. Fill the roasted pepper halves with the polenta mixture. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese and return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Meanwhile, combine the salsa, black beans, and cilantro in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  4. To serve, spoon some of the black bean salsa on each dinner plate and place one or two pepper halves on top.

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