Appetizers, Vegetarian Meals

Greek Mini Bell Pepper Boats

multi color baby bell pepper boats filled with greek filling

 

To keep this mediterranean vibe going, here is a little somethin somethin for you to serve up as a healthy and fun appetizer!  These mini bell pepper boats are so fun, colorful, and of course…hella YUMMY.  But be careful, because from what I experienced they go fast, so don’t be afraid to make extra!

As you can see, these little lovelies are beautiful to look at, and make your spread look like something out of a magazine, but they are totally healthy for you too!  Gluten free, vegetarian, heart healthy, and filled with greek goodness…and if you aren’t already sold, there is no cooking required!  These little boats are easy to make and take very little time.  All ingredients are raw, which means just some chopping and mixing are in order.

 

tray of baby bell peppers filled with greek salad mixture

 

This recipe includes olive tapenade and olive oil, a component of the mediterranean diet that makes it so good for you!  Oil from olives has shown to reduce risk of periphery artery disease, decrease blood pressure and inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.  Making this appetizer heart healthy!

For preparation of this appetizer, you will need a large bag of mini bell peppers rinsed, and cut down the middle long ways.  For this recipe I used 25 peppers.  The best way to do this is to dump the peppers on a table to see where they lay naturally.  Take the side of the pepper facing up and cut above the stem all the way down to the bottom (this will help them lay better when they are filled with veggie mixture). 

 

orange mini bell pepper cut long ways to create a boat

 

Once you remove the top, set aside for later use, and proceed by scooping out the seeds and insides of your “boat” under running water.  Do this to all of you pepper boats and then set aside.

 

red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers cut into boats laying on a white table

 

Take the tops from your pepper boats and chop into small pieces, before throwing into a large mixing bowl.

 

tops of baby bell pepper boats chopped and in a mixing bowl

 

Add the rest of your finely chopped veggies, EVOO, tapenade and cheese.  Mix together, add some spices, then scoop into your boats before serving!

 

chopped bell peppers, onion, cucumber, basil, feta, and tapenade in mixing bowl

 

I eat mine like sushi…all in one bite, but my husband is more civilized than I am and will eat over a few bites.  Whichever level of sophistication you are, I’m sure you will very much enjoy!

 

greek baby bell pepper boats with empty bell pepper boats in background on white table

 

Baby Bell Pepper Boats

Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, bell pepper, gluten free, mediterranean, vegetarian
Servings: 5 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 25 mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Take 25 mini bell peppers and slice in half, starting above one end of the stem, and slicing all the way down to the bottom, creating a "boat". 
  • Spoon out seeds and interior of bell pepper, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Take leftover tops of bell peppers, dice them and throw into a mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Spoon filling from mixing bowl into bell pepper boats, plate and serve!
Meat

Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp and Lamb Meatballs

spicy thai soup with spoon of red curry paste, garlic cloves, and cilantro garnish

This year’s holiday rotation schedule landed David and me in North Carolina with my parents, which more or less turns into a cook-off extravaganza by Marge (my mom).  On her end, this usually requires a week of prep time, two full sized fridges stuffed to the max, and roughly 10 visits to the grocery store for forgotten items.

For her, it’s a way to have the whole family spend time together without the distractions of everyday life. For us, it’s this totally awesome culinary experience right in our own home…so jammies and no makeup are the usual outfits of choice!

three bowls of spicy thai soup topped with cilantro

It’s a food tasting adventure that lasts a week, and tends to include an international dish or two (I mean seriously…my mom knows how to trick us kids into visiting them)!  This year’s global feature was a spicy thai soup with shrimp and lamb meatballs, a bunch of chopped veggies and rice noodles!

And the final verdict?  HANDS DOWN my favorite dish of the week. Something about the combination of red curry paste with coconut milk, and the surf and turf type protein selection in the soup was something to write home about.  Luckily for me I am home, so that leaves me writing to all of you lovely people 🙂

the bowls of spicy thai soup surrounded with cilantro, garlic cloves, red curry paste, and cilantro

She started by making the lamb meatballs separately on stovetop, that way when the soup was finished she could add them in before serving.  These meatballs are packed with so much flavor and just melt in your mouth due to the tenderness of lamb meat.  You’ll know when you get a bite of them!

She then sautéed veggies, some thai spices, and added the broth and coconut milk.  After that, its time to add in your protein and then let simmer in the pot before adding noodles and serving! 

Aside from the taste, one of my favorite things about this soup is the nutritional benefits that can be obtained from coconut milk!  Coconut milk is know to have medium-chain triglycerides, what you’ve probably heard referred to as MCTs, and has been linked to weight loss in research studies.  Additionally, coconut milk contains a lipid called lauric acid, which has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that help support the immune system.

three bowls of spicy thai soup in decorative asain bowls

Whats nice about this soup is that you can easily make a vegetarian option by simply omitting shrimp and lamb meatballs.  Or if you prefer to stick with one protein vs two, its totally customizable.  Either way you prefer, it will taste just as good!

Once everything is whipped up, garnish with some cilantro and serve warm!

Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp and Lamb Meatballs

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: coconut milk, gluten free, healthy, lamb meatball, red curry paste, rice noodles, shrimp, spicy, thai soup
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

Lamb Meatball Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 2 tbsp chili & garlic sauce A Taste of Thai brand was used in this recipe
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint and basil combined chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • avocado or coconut oil for browning

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined cut into bite-size chunks
  • 3 tbsp avocado or coconut oil for sautéing
  • 1 cup mini bell peppers chopped or sliced into rings
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 5-7 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large head bok choy, or 3 baby bok choy chopped
  • 13.5 ounces coconut cream (preferred) or milk (1 can)
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 6 cups organic chicken bone broth
  • 6-8 ounces vermicelli rice noodles cooked separately according to package
  • cilantro for garnish

Instructions

Lamb Meatballs

  • Add all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Form small balls to be added to frying pan.  Add oil to a large frying pan on medium-high heat, and when hot, add meatballs.
  • Brown all sides and remove to cool.  Add rest of meatballs and brown the same way.  Set aside to add to the soup.

Soup

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan.  Once hot, add peppers, onions, and garlic.  Keep stirring and sauté for about 5 min.
  • Add curry and lemongrass pastes and mix in.
  • Add and stir in the chicken broth and coconut cream/milk.
  • Once heated through, after a couple minutes, add in the bok choy.  Let cook for 5 min to soften bok choy.
  • Add both shrimp and lamb meatballs, then simmer for 15 min.
  • Add cooked vermicelli noodles and let simmer for another 5 min.  Serve and garnish with fresh cilantro.