More than January 1st, I believe the Super Bowl actually signals the end of the gluttony fest started way back in November. Yeah, New Year’s resolutions like, “I’m going to eat less refined sugar”, or “I’m only going to drink green smoothies for breakfast this year” were made in earnest, but every weekend (if you are a sports fan) you find yourself with another reason to indulge: “It’s the wild card playoff, it is the conference semi finals, it is the conference finals, it is the Pro-Bowl, OMG it’s the Puppy Bowl”
Looking at one’s average Super Bowl spread, I’m convinced not even the athletes carb and calorie load to the tune of your average nachos, bacon explosion, jalapeño popovers, deep fried candy bars and cheese cake. So, unless you are planning for four 15 minute sprints chased by a line of very large, angry men down a 100 yard field post game, can I suggest something lighter?
As we’re hosting a little Super Bowl shin dig at our place, a vegan, healthy football watch’n snack isn’t going to come as a surprise to my guests. But I think this recipe transcends my “vegan at home,” house rules, and is a dish you can feel confident bringing to any party without an apology of it being meat and dairy free.
Vegan Tuna* Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
This recipe is a mash up of three different sources! The tuna* is based off Tal’s Ronnen’s crab cake mixture, the stuffed peppers influenced by both Saveur magazine and Dorie Greenspan.
1 russet potato, peeled and cut in half
1 can hearts of palm, drained
1/2 sheet nori
1 shallot, minced
1 Tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and chopped
5 fancy olives- nicoise, oil cured or kalamata pitted and chopped
1 Tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley or chives
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to sate
1 jar piquillo peppers, drained and rinsed.
- Cook the russet potato in water over medium high heat until tender and able to mash with a fork. Drain, mash and set aside to cool just a bit.
- Turn your stove burner to medium heat. Take that 1/2 sheet of nori and wave it across the burner as though you were fanning that poor burning coil to cool it down. Keep this up until you just start to smell the nori toast- about 1-2 minutes. Turn off your burner.
- In the bowl of your food processor, combine the hearts of palm and tear the 1/2 sheet of toasted nori into the bowl. Pulse until combined and hearts of palm have shredded. I should note I used a mini food processor here. Transfer the hearts of palm and nori mixture to a medium bowl and fold in the shallot, capers, olives, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add in the mashed potato and stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt!
- Using a small spoon, gently stuff the piquillo pepper with the tuna* potato mixture until pleasantly full. Repeat with remaining peppers until filling is gone.
- If any of your peppers split open while trying to stuff them, switch to a smaller spoon, and mince up the ripped peppers before folding into your mixture.
- Place filled peppers on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and chill 20 minutes or until you ready to serve.
**Piquillo peppers are super cute, roasted sweet peppers you can find in that section of the grocery store (with olives, capers, artichoke hearts- I guess that would be the canned vegetable section). They hail from Spain and are named for the way the tip resembles a bird’s beak. I find they are more flavorful than your average roasted red pepper AND they make great little packets for stuffing with all kinds of tasty things.