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Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers Extract taken from Poppy Cooks: The Actually Delicious Air Fryer Cookbook by Poppy O’Toole (Bloomsbury, £20 Hardback) Photography © Haarala Hamilton
October 2023
Reading time 2 Minutes

A beautiful main dish when you're fancying a meat-free day, doing Veganuary (use vegan butter) or if you have a veggie friend coming round for dinner

Tasty with a bit of spice, and you don't miss any meat!
  • 3 tbsp olive oil knob of butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200g basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • ½ –1 tsp ground allspice, to taste
  • 1–2 tsp Aleppo pepper, to taste, plus extra to sprinkle
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped or
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 30g flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 4 Romano peppers (if you can’t find Romano peppers, use regular red peppers instead)
  • 40g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • sea-salt flakes and ground black pepper

Warm two tablespoons of the olive oil and the knob of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onion and cook on a medium–low heat for about 10 minutes, until translucent and lightly golden.

While the onion is cooking, tip the rice into a saucepan of salted water, bring to the boil and cook for four minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water.

Once the onions are cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Add the par-boiled rice, along with the allspice, Aleppo pepper, chopped tomato or tomato purée and half the parsley, and season generously.

Heat the air fryer to 180C.

Make a slit down the length of a pepper, starting at the top and stopping about 2cm from the bottom, so that you have a pouch. Carefully remove the seeds and pith and rub with a little of the remaining olive oil. Fill the pocket with one quarter of the rice mixture and gently push the edges together. Repeat with the remaining peppers and rice mixture.

Get the peppers into the air-fryer basket, making sure there is space between each, and cook for 20–30 minutes, until beginning to char.

Sprinkle the peppers with the toasted walnuts, the remaining parsley and a big sprinkling of Aleppo pepper. Serve individually or on a big serving platter.

This is my muhammara-inspired stuffed pepper. You could add crumbled feta, labneh or garlic and lemon yogurt dressing (just add one crushed garlic clove and lemon juice to yogurt to taste) to the stuffing, if you wanted.

You could use other soft herbs – coriander, chervil, chives and dill would all work well.

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