It’s farmer’s market day! Happy vegans all across the country will be flocking to their local farmar to purchase veggies for the rest of the week, and I’m among them. I tried out the local farmer’s market for the first time last weekend. I was amazed to see not only the usual suspects (sweet potatoes, jalepenos, onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes) but also Florida and Hass avocados and mangoes!
Among my haul (sweet potatoes, bell pepper, tomatoes, a mango, and a pint of jalepenos) were these two beautiful poblano peppers and a giant, bright green Florida avocado. While I’m familiar with the poblanos, the Florida avo was new to me but so big and so pretty that I just had to try it.
With the fresh batch of vegan queso that I’d just made, I knew the perfect thing to do was to stuff these peppers. And man, were they ever delectable. I thought about the stuffed poblanos I used to get as a kid at Mexican restaurants, smothered in sauce and stuffed with cheese. With that as my model, I set about cooking and stuffing. The results, dear friends, were nothing short of incredible.
Smothered and Stuffed Poblano Peppers with (Florida) Avocado Salad
For the peppers:
2 medium sized poblano peppers
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup grated tempeh
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon diced onion
2 Tablespoons diced bell pepper
1/2 cup vegan queso, plus more for smothering
hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste
Oil for cooking
For the Avocado Salad:
1 Florida (or 2 hass) avocado(s)
2 tablespoons diced jalepeno or chunky hot sauce (like Melinda’s or Trader Joes’ habanero)
2 tablespoons minced fresh onion
salt and pepper to taste
the juice of 1 lime
For the pepper stuffing: Gut your poblanos by cutting out the stem, removing the ribs and seeds, and slicing down one side. Set aside. In a frying pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil. Cook the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and tempeh until the tempeh begins to lightly brown. Add rice, stir to incorporate. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce to taste. Mix in 1/2 cup queso. Remove from heat. Spoon into the pepper halves, then place them into a lightly greased baking dish. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the tops of the peppers are lightly browned.
For the salad: skin the avocados. (I’ll be writing a post about how to treat avos soon, so stay tuned!) Cut them into bite sized chunks. Place them into a bowl and squeeze the lime juice over top. Add jalepeno/hot sauce (I used freshly made jalepeno hot sauce that I made with half the pint of farmar jalepenos) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve fresh poblanos smothered with queso, fresh lettuce, tomato, and topped with avocado salad.
I came up with the idea for the simple avocado salad during my first encounter with the Florida avocado. I’ve seen these boogers before, but have never ventured to try one. The texture was…odd. The outer layer, the bright green bit of the flesh, almost had the texture of a regular Hass avocado. The inner part was almost squash-like in consistency but still at the oily texture of an avocado. My verdict: if a normal avocado and a squash had a baby, it’d be the Florida avocado. On its own, it was bland. Granted, normal avocados are a bit bland on their own, but this one hardly tasted like a regular avocado. Strange, but seasoned up it was quite nice.
I love a good vegetable-centric meal. Farmer’s market fresh is probably the way I cook best. Meals centered around what ever I happen to pick up that week seem to glow with the flavors of the season.