Leftovers unite! Black eyed bean stuffed pepper bake with balsamic polenta

Stuffed peppers are one of those recipes I find myself veering away from if I have friends to cook for. Like anything involving tofu, tahini or nuts that need to be soaked over night, if I'm tired of the vegan cliche, my non-vegan friends are probably bored to tears. However, when faced with a glut of bell peppers and a pan of leftover rice, I couldn't see another way out. These stuffed peppers are in no-way revolutionary, but very easy, tasty and deceivingly exciting when placed in the middle of the table- the peppers will stay soft and juicy from being cooked next to the rice, and the onions and black eye bean eyed bean mixture is great with the tang from the balsamic polenta.

Makes enough for three- or use a pepper per person (and say that really fast)

One pepper per person, halved
Around 100g cooked rice per person
2-3 small red onions or shallots, left whole
2 tins black eyed beans
2 carrots, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chili, chopped
Pinch of thyme

For the balsamic polenta
1.6 cups of polenta
2 cups water
1 cup almond milk
1 cup vegan margarine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the halved peppers in a large oven-proof dish, spooning the cooked rice around them to cover the bottom of the dish.

In a large saucepan, heat a little oil and add one chopped onion, chili and the garlic. Allow to sweat for two or three minutes before adding the chopped carrot and thyme. Once the carrot has begun to soften add the black beans and heat just enough for the oil to coat everything and begin to cook together. Season to your own taste then turn off the heat.

Spoon the black bean mixture into the peppers, adding the raw onions in between, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Put the dish in oven and cook for about 20 minutes.

During this time you can make the polenta- click here to follow the Guac & Roll recipe from October, but before allowing to cool, drizzle balsamic over the top of the polenta, allowing it to sink into the grain while it sets.

Once the rice is cooked and the peppers are beginning to brown, take out of the oven and serve with a few spoon-fulls of polenta on the side. A perfect way to use up the cupboard stores!