I have always enjoyed stuffed peppers. I also like the fact that they come in their own container and that there are a myriad of ways you can prepare them. Chile relleno is considered a classic dish in Mexico and other countries such as Spain, India and countries of the Middle East have their own versions of stuffed peppers. In Tunisia, peppers are stuffed with zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and cabbage.
So as you can see, a vegetable version of this dish is prepared as well as the classic stuffed pepper that uses meat. And of course the American version contains hamburger, rice and cheese.
I opted for a vegetarian version for birds. It’s a food that is not only freezes well, they’re easy to make and the different ways you can prepare them using seasonal ingredients is endless.
I thought if I loved them so much maybe my birds would like them as well. Taking a cue from those folks at Stouffer's, I made a batch and was able to hold some back for freezing.
They would serve somewhat as a foraging device as the Greys have to dig into the pepper cup to get to the filling and and as a bonus they can eat the container. As I said, this is one food that I know freezes beautifully.
This would be a dish where you can put together the filling on day one and then stuff the peppers on day two. This might work well for parrot adoption and rescue organizations and those with large flocks If there are a few people there to help out.
Organize an assembly line and it would work out quite well for preparing them in bulk. One person cleans and cuts the peppers, the second fills them, and the third wraps them for the freezer. They are easily tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. To store them, fill a gallon zip-loc bag with the wrapped peppers, label the bag and pop them in the freezer.
When you want to use them, simply take what you need out of the bag the night before and thaw in the refrigerator. They are easy to prepare, easy to store and easy to serve.
But a whole bell pepper? Well, you could do that for larger birds like a macaw but you can cut them length-wise and use only half for each serving for smaller birds. This would be a more manageable size for the smaller species and if you have a flock of very small birds such as budgerigars or cockatiels, they can always share.
Selecting smaller peppers is also an option. For those of you with smaller birds, try using the smaller peppers such as poblano, Cubanelle, banana, or Anaheim peppers. They are are more petite than the bell pepper. Just because you always see stuffed peppers made with those big bell peppers doesn't mean that is the only pepper available to you. There are many smaller peppers that would avail themselves to stuffing.
The following recipe is just a suggestion. You could use cooked beans, different grains, different varieties of vegetables and other healthy ingredients suited to your bird’s species. The entire idea is to make a mix of healthy ingredients and stuff it in an edible container they can forage in.
Stuffed Peppers for Parrots
Peppers cut to your preference
Cooked rice blend (Lundberg makes a nice one.)
Carrot shreds and/or other vegetables
Chopped green leafy vegetables of your choice (Kale, Swiss chard, or Chinese cabbage would be nice choices)
Cubed or shredded lightly boiled or steamed sweet potato
Oregano to taste
Topping: Red Pepper Flakes
Prepare your peppers by washing them, removing the stem and either core them whole for larger birds, or cut in half and scoop out the inside to make room for the filling. If you like, you can reserve the cut top with the stem intact and place it on top after stuffing. Mix the filling together in a bowl and stuff the peppers. Garnish with hot red pepper flakes sprinkled on top to add interest.
You can serve them unbaked as they are or bake them in a 325 degree oven until the peppers are soft and the top is slightly browned.
Let them cool and serve them or prepare for the freezer by tightly wrapping them in plastic wrap and storing them in gallon zip-loc bags.