Swap your pumpkin carving for orange bell peppers to fill with a pilaf of beef, figs and Halloween rice. Jack O’ Lantern stuffed peppers are fun to make and eat, healthy, and an easy dinner.
Frightfully Good Figs
To keep the color of the pilaf filling as dark as possible (an orange and black main dish is fun for Halloween or days leading up to the costumed day), we use Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Mission Figs. They bring a deep kind of sweetness that can swing into savory flavors so well. For a bit of color contrast and a more nuanced, subtle fig flavor, our Golden Figs would bejewel the filling.
Nothing Scary about This Seasoning
The seasoning in the Halloween rice, meat, and fig filling leans on the flavors of breakfast sausage. Sausage and figs are natural partners and the filling in our Jack O’ Lantern stuffed peppers is no exception. A little sweetness comes from the honey, a little umami saltiness comes from the liquid aminos that could easily be substituted for soy sauce or tamari, and the spice is a homey ground sage.
So, what is Halloween rice?
Forbidden rice is what we use here. The black rice grains when cooked are glossy and add to the Halloween effect of these festive peppers. We like that the rice also adds a slightly nutty note too, but couldn’t resist making an orange and black entree for the big holiday.
Ghoulishly Good Ground Meat Filling
We use ground beef in the pilaf mixture filling our haunted peppers, but feel free to swap in ground turkey or crumbled steamed tempeh for a vegan option. Just remember to season to taste.
Jack O’ Lantern Stuffed Peppers: a New Family Tradition
With Jack O’ Lantern stuffed peppers, everyone gets to devour a devilishly delicious dinner that’s also incredibly fun to make. They bring vegetables, meat, grains, and fruit all into one tiny little package all dressed up for Halloween. Stuffed peppers in costume, anyone?
Jack O’Lantern Stuffed Peppers with Beef + Figs
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup forbidden black rice
- 2 tablespoons liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 pound ground beef (or ground beef)
- 1 cup Orchard Choice® Mission Figlets or Sun-Maid® California Mission Figs , finely chopped with stems removed
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint , finely sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Make the Black Rice
- Add the 1 3/4 cups water, rice, and a dash of salt into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to simmer, cooking rice for 30 minutes. Keep covered for 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
Make the Filling
- Stir together the liquid aminos, honey, and sage. Set aside.
- Brown the beef. Stir in the finely chopped figs until combined. Then stir in the sauce and remove from the heat once the sauce has cooked down.
Make the Jack O'Lantern Stuffed Peppers
- Using a paring knife, cut the tops off the bell peppers and any seeds attached to the top. Then set the pepper top aside. Clean out the membranes and seeds from within the peppers. Using the paring knife, cut out two triangles on the flattest side of the pepper for jack o'lantern eyes. Then, cut out a mouth with the paring knife. Set the pepper upright in a small casserole dish with high sides. Continue cleaning and carving the other peppers.
- Completely fill each pepper with the beef and fig mixture, closing with the pepper top.
- Cook for 30 minutes.