I was pretty sure avalanches could only happen in places with mountains.  The Rockies.  The Alps.  Some location that is not New York City on a Tuesday afternoon.

But I experienced one.  Yesterday.  In my apartment.  And all I had to do was open up my freezer (lucky me).

That’s the beauty of a New York apartment.  It’s a wilderness unto itself.  You can go on a hiking expedition complete with near death experiences and wildlife encounters (I’ve been known to spot an ant or two) while wearing nothing but a pair of pajama pants and an old t-shirt.  All without leaving the comfort of your own home! (How’s that for a real estate ad).

pesto rice

Right.  So I opened up my freezer.  For what I’m not quite sure anymore.  And no fewer than three containers of last summer’s pesto.  Attacked me.

I considered taking out a restraining order.  But then I spotted the bags of frozen cranberries in the back.  Waiting to pounce.  And so I decided that maybe that wasn’t the best tactic.  Especially given that the cranberries were foaming at the mouth.

(Differential diagnosis – rabies.  Caused by rhabdovirus.  A negative sense ssRNA virus that enters through the muscles and then migrates to the central nervous system where it exerts it’s deadly and toxic effects.  There’s a vaccine, but still.  I’d rather not take my chances.)

half pandr

So rather than close the door as quickly as I could and run away screaming (which, honestly, was what my first impulse was).  I thought I would do something crazy. Something unheard of in the Eats Well With Others household.

Spring.  Cleaning.

Sure, it’s almost June 21st.  And I am just days away from summer vacation.  (Vacation?  Ha. As an MD-PhD student that word is not part of my vocabulary.  Unless you consider three months of working in a lab “vacation”.  Which. Actually.  After a year of medical school. I kind of do.)

But better late than never right?

So I vacuumed.  Dusted.  Organized some papers.

Had delusions of remodeling.  Ogled a vanity on the CSN website (I swear, frequenting that site is just as bad as going to Ikea.  Possibly worse.  Thankfully my wallet was safely stocked away in the kitchen.  And I was far too tired from dealing with the avalanche to go get it.)  Started researching feng shui and which color combinations would really be best for centering my qi.


And as for that pesto?  I showed it.  I threw it into a rice salad along with some cherry tomatoes and locally grown asparagus.  A dish that satisfied my every spring craving.

Good thing, because summer’s coming.  And I have grand designs on stealing (err…borrowing…) as much basil from my dad’s soon-to-be flourishing plants as possible.

Yeah, cranberries.  You should be careful what you wish for.  Because before you know it, it’ll be cranberry season again.  In which case.  You’re next.


Pesto Rice Salad
Serves 4, adapted from Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 cup rice (Bittman suggests arborio, but I used white because it’s what I had on hand)
1/4 cup pesto (I used this one)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lb asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces

1. Cook the rice as directed on the package.  In the last five minutes of cooking, add the asparagus to the pan.

2. Mix with the pesto, red wine vinegar, and cherry tomatoes.  Add salt to taste.

Spicy Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4, adapted from Symon’s Live To Cook

NOTE – I should say that I completely revamped this recipe.  Symon specifies that one should use Hungarian hot peppers or banana peppers, which I couldn’t find.  He then says that in dire situations you can use poblanos but NOT bell peppers, as bell peppers are too big.  Well, when I saw baby bell peppers at Trader Joe’s, I decided to use them.  Since they were most definitely NOT too big.  I also threw in some anaheim chiles for a bit of spice!  I also served these as a main dish, while Symon serves them as an appetizer. With the pesto rice salad, this worked out perfectly.

1 package of baby bell peppers (about 8?  They are super tiny) from Trader Joe’s
4 anaheim chiles
1 lb spicy Italian turkey sausage (Symon calls for pork or Italian sausage)
2 cups tomato sauce
fresh basil, to garnish

1. Preheat the broiler.  Cut the tops off the peppers and spoon out any seeds.  Divide the sausage into 8 equal portions and spoon it into the peppers to fill them.  Char the peppers underneath the broiler.  Remove them from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375.

2. Pour the sauce into an 8×11-inch baking dish.  Lay the peppers on top of the sauce.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Divide among the plates, spoon some sauce on top, and garnish each with a basil leaf.

The pesto rice salad is my submission to IHCC this week!  The theme of which is Dining with Dad.  The one herb I can get my dad to eat with any regularity is basil and then, only in pesto!  So I figured this was perfect.  I am also submitting it to Reeni’s Side Dish Showdown and Deb’s Souper Sunday.  The stuffed peppers will be featured on the Symon Sundays round-up on Monday!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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88 Responses to Pesto Rice Salad and Spicy Stuffed Peppers

  1. This has everything I love about Spring all wrapped up in one dish Joanne.I am positive I will like it. Now to do something with those frozen banana torpedos in my freezer.

  2. Giovanna says:

    Yesterday must have been National Pesto Day cause I swear pesto was everywhere! I made a chicken and pesto dish, my friend called and said she was making pesto, my other friend spent a whole 30 minutes asking me what the heck is pesto (she’s clueless, she my garlic clove friend) and now you with the pesto! Oy vey!

    So glad you showed that pesto who’s boss, your rice salad looks delish! Not to mention those spicy filled peppers look awesome. And as for spring cleaning, uh, does opening the doors and letting the breeze blow out dust count???

  3. Lea Ann says:

    Yesterday must have been National Avalance Day. Same thing happened to me except I didn’t Spring Clean or prepare the two bags of peas on the floor. This salad really looks lovely Joanne!

  4. Lori says:

    I just love that bright colorful photo of the peppers. I’m not sure why I’ve not thought of it before, but freezing pesto is new to me. I definitely have to do that this year with our fresh basil.

  5. Simply Life says:

    ooh great salad and hope you have fun on your “vacation”

  6. Pam says:

    Perfect timing! I also have loads of pesto to use up, and my basil is going crazy now! So, how silly to be using last year’s pesto when I should be making fresh! Also, I just bookmarked that pepper recipe last night in the book!

  7. bookmarked! i love asparagus and stuffed peppers. I am making this today!

  8. I love the pepper! They sound awesome, I am going to give them a try. The rice looks mouthwatering! Thanks!

  9. Shannon says:

    Mmm, pesto. i’ve been dreaming about the pesto i had in italy ever since then 🙂 this sounds delicious! and use up the rest before you make some more this summer 😉

  10. Kristen says:

    You had me at the word Pesto! I love the idea of putting it in a salad…add a little balsamic and I am all over this!

  11. Eliana says:

    Girl – I experience avalanches almost everyday in my apartment – when I open my fridge, freezer, kitchen cabinets, closets – you name it!

  12. girlichef says:

    Deeeeelicioso! Both look amazing…I’m really liking the pesto in the rice, though…num num! I recently recovered from a freezer avalanche, as well 😉

  13. Katerina says:

    I can completely sympathize with you and your pesto attack. I have two fridges in my home one of them I do not even get close to. If I open it I don’t know what I am gooing to face. The salad and the stuffed vegetables are ideal for this time of year.

  14. The rice salad looks delish!!!!

  15. elra says:

    I think you deserve a nice vacation Joanne.

    My favorite thing about summer is making stuffed vegetables like what you have here. They are the best! Look delicious too Joanne!

  16. A terrific meal! I like the heat in the stuffed peppers!

    I will definitely submit the tomato fritters for the regional recipes. Let me know when the official announcement is up so I can link to it! Thanks!

  17. Bob says:

    Heh, you’re getting to your spring cleaning earlier than I have. 😀

    That salad looks wicked good, but is it supposed to be served hot, cold or either?

  18. saveur says:

    I love it! You are too hilarious!

    I don’t even try to stick anything into my freezer anymore because it is so packed. 🙂

    It saddens me when I can’t take homemade perogies or pies from my parents.. because I can’t fit them inside. 🙁

    Slowly I will make some headway though…

  19. Mo Diva says:

    i love pesto. i love rice.
    i think i love pesto rice salad even though i have never had it. mmm. carbs. and garlic. and parm cheese.
    Our freezers might be related… or we share the same brain that crams thigns into the freezer

  20. oh wow nice find and delicious meal

  21. SE says:

    such a drool worthy plate..i wish I had some of this..the rice in a salad…cannot escape from the temptations to make this one !

  22. love picturing the avalanche! very cute…the spicey peppers look so good too 🙂

  23. looks delicious + beautiful!

    xo Alison

  24. Dawn says:

    Very artful presentation. I can sympathize with your avalanche. I get one almost every time I open the freezer, fridge or pantry.

  25. Pam says:

    Bookmarked!!! I love every single thing about both recipes… I can’t wait to make them.

  26. Pam says:

    Great recipe. Love those stuffed peppers and it’s perfect with pesto, I’m sure. Very unique and great colors also.

  27. msmeanie says:

    Hah! I too have packs of frozen pesto that attack me every time I open the freezer. I’m still working through them though… This salad looks like an awesome way to use them up!

  28. Beth says:

    YUM! Can I come over to your house for dinner/can we have an NYC food blogger meal somewhere fab?!

  29. Sophie says:

    A delightful & healthy colourful meal, dear Joanne!

    I also love the new design on your blog!! Very pretty too!

    MMMMMMMMM,..fab food!

  30. Erica says:

    Oooh, these look so tasty and tempting,Joanne! Love the colors.

  31. Raina says:

    This is my kind of dish. I would never have thought to make a pesto and rice salad, but boy does it sound delicious:) And the stuffed peppers sound and look great too.

    Spring cleaning stinks:( But I guess we do have to do it sometime or we will be attacked by You do feel really good when it is done, though.

  32. Debinhawaii says:

    That pesto salad looks amazing–I am going to have to make it with some brown rice. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. Loving the spicy stuffed peppers too.

  33. I would love to have rice salad…yummy!!

  34. Wow, what a fantastic meal! Love the idea of pesto rice.

  35. I need to make that pesto rice salad – it looks fantastic. Now that I have basil growing in every nook and cranny of the garden…

  36. After a year of medical school, ANYTHING but medical school is welcome with open arms. Though I’m not sure how I’d feel about lab work. Benchwork isn’t quite my thing.

    I love the freshness of this dish. Especially since too much protein at night makes me go into food coma and then there goes all the studying I was procrastinating on doing. Bravo, Sharlene, bravo. Also, stuffed anything is always high on my list of loves 🙂

  37. sweetlife says:

    i loved that you revamped the recipe and used baby bells, I love baby bells and this is the perfect excuse to buy more..


  38. Hannah says:

    Way to use up those leftovers! I love it when hodgepodge meals come together so beautifully- This looks wonderful. 🙂

  39. I really like the red bell pepper recipe. I should probably do some Spring cleaning here too, it’ll probably make life a lot easier. I’m looking forward to you vacation too, that means that you will be able to bring us more recipes!

  40. Kelsey says:

    i would be so lost in new york.. i think coming from a small town/island and then living in new york.. i would hyperventilate and have to catch my breath… i totally can imagine how foreign and jugle like a ny apartment would be. so many different characters.. different stories, noises, schedules, lol.

    this is such a christmas meal with the colors lol. but i love it <3 i always look forward to what u make next- it brightens up my day!! 🙂

  41. Kim says:

    Wow! Both recipes look beautiful on the plate. I wouldn’t know which to eat first 😉

    I had a avalanche in my kitchen last week which resulted in a frozen pork tenderloin landing on my big toe – OUCH!

  42. knk says:

    wow nice rice salad looks delicious

  43. Amy says:

    Ah, spring cleaning. Yes. My refrigerator sure could use some of that. I opened up a jar of salsa last week, and…um… there was definitely something living in there. Ew.

    Before we moved back to CA, I had a huge garden and fresh basil was plentiful, but now…sigh. I have to buy it. IT SUCKS.

  44. spring cleaning. need to get back on that track. lol!
    I KNOW! serious food today! no almond butter nor larabars! WHAT AM I THINKING!??!?!

  45. delicieux says:

    The pesto rice salad looks delicious. I also love the inclusion of asparagus (which I adore). Beautiful!!

  46. Cynthia says:

    Those peppers look heavenly! I’ve made stuffed jalapeno peppers before and they were amazing! Good for you for spring cleaning! I did the same thing after I was attacked by some beef in the freezer. I guess it was feeling resentful that I didn’t pay any attention to it…maybe I should remedy that with this delicious recipe now!

  47. PJ says:

    lol.. its such a pleasure reading your post, Joanne! now spring cleaning, why did you have to remind me that.. i was just beginning to hope that we might just hop into summer and forget that tiny little thing called spring cleaning 😀 pesto rice looks so delicious, its one of Bittman’s recipe i have had bookmarked for like forever!

  48. A very colourful rice dish! I really love the green asparagus in it. And stuffed peppers look classic.

  49. And im always running out of pesto, no wonder im dancing all around drying those flowers from the basil stems, in the hope of seeds for my own pesto plants!!!
    I love pesto rice and make a pesto fried rice too with whatever i have at hand!!!
    i love u added asparagus and sausage:-)
    Deliciousness galore from Joanne’s Kitchens!!!
    Hah, hide that wallet will ya, i have to hide moms card from me too:-)))

  50. YAY PESTO! I guess since you used it up, it’s time to make some more!

    Have you tried mint pest? I’m just obsessed with it. I bet it would work nicely in this salad.

  51. That nice salad looks so great! I am in love with asparagus right now!

  52. wow thts a lovely platter 🙂 Beautiful clicks

  53. Love the addition of the baby bell peppers, they’re definitely the perfect size. This recipe has me drooling, cant wait to try it!! ^_^

  54. Those tiny stuffed peppers are awesome! I love the little bell peppers, so pretty. What a great meal. Yum!

  55. Mary says:

    This is beautiful to look at and I’m sure delightful to taste. I need dishes like this at this time of year. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  56. eleni says:

    Excellent dish… I would hold the sausage, but enjoy the rest… love the pesto you’ve made!!

  57. Barbara says:

    Yum on all your pesto dishes! Such bright colors and delicious flavors! You made good use of your avalanche.
    I’ve never had it happen with my fridge, but I have a number of closets……

  58. Ty'sMommy says:

    Wow, when I first saw this, I was all about the pesto since i just made asparagus pesto, but those little peppers look fantastic! I’m going to have to give those a try with a few twists.

  59. Andreas says:

    Pesto and asparagus sounds really tasty.

    Hm, maybe I should carefully check my freezer for avalanches.

  60. RamblingTart says:

    Only in your world do avalanches result in such beautiful things, Joanne. 🙂 ADORE that rice salad!!! 🙂

  61. sophia says:

    For a moment I thought you were gonna add cranberries to the dish….would be nice with pesto! 😉
    My freezer here in Singapore right now has two ice-cream bars, a few ancient packages of stuff I don’t even want to touch. Oh, and lots of frozen steamed meat paus (steamed buns).

  62. Mari says:

    I can’t wait for cranberry season! I almost had a melt down the other day when I went to get some and they were alllll OUT!

  63. You manage to eat so healthily (desserts aside :))! It’s awesome to see all of these colors and flavors on one plate.

  64. Great use of your avalanche! I love the fresh flavors in the rice salad. And, I should really consider doing some spring cleaning in my house.

  65. polwig says:

    You had me at peppers and spicy… I love spicy peppers, non spicy peppers… all of them

  66. Joanne

    I just would devour that rice! What a great idea to add pesto to a rice salad! I have never done it and it sounds so delicious! Love the spicy peppers too. A little heat, a little coolness.

  67. Tasha says:

    Love the idea of the pesto rice salad! The pictures are gorgeous.

    I made the gnocchi but I guess I forgot all about the peppers for this week for Symon Sundays…oops. They look great. Guess I’ll be heading back to the grocery.

  68. Deborah says:

    I love stuffed peppers, but that rice salad sounds phenomenal!

  69. Faith says:

    How funny! I actually just recently used the last of the local strawberries I froze last year — just in time for fresh strawberries this year! 😉

    This is such an elegant meal. Stuffed peppers are something I really love but don’t make nearly often enough. I’ve actually never had them with sausage, but it sounds fantastic.

  70. tigerfish says:

    My apt is also in a big mess now….and I am just so unwilling to face it! You have done lots with cleaning your own apt + cooking up such a meal. To me, these two tasks do not seem to co-exist in one day. ;p

  71. Carolyn Jung says:

    Your freezer sounds like mine. LOL
    It’s sort of like an archaeological dig in there — reach in and unearth who knows what. But at least it’s always something tasty. 😉

  72. theUngourmet says:

    You are so right about CSN and Ikea! Gorgeous pesto salad! What a colorful and delicious meal!!

  73. Beautiful dish. So many divergent flavors at work here. Great job.


  74. fantastic photos! i don’t think rice and veggies have ever looked more appealing than they do in your 2nd to last picture.

  75. Kristen says:

    I love these recipes. Great color in one meal. I always have to careful when I open my freezer. Never sure what might pop out!

  76. Marisa says:

    This also has a bit of a Greek look to it – on purpose for this month’s Regional Recipes theme? 🙂

  77. RV says:

    Love the colors and idea of pesto rice salad. Hope you were not hurt from the avalanche 😉

  78. Muneeba says:

    I’d be all over those stuffed peppers .. to quote a fellow blogger .. omnomnom!
    Btw, here’s some unrelated chit chat for ya .. I was watching Regis & Kelly while feeding B (otherwise I’d never watch it, noooooooo … ok YES, I watch Regis & Kelly!!! *sob*), and turns out they’re having their second annual Heel-a-thon in Central Park! You should go! How good of a runner are u in heels???

  79. I’ve had similar experiences being attacked by the food in my freezer.

  80. great fun post… Bet that little orange job on the bottom will be borderline painful… make me two of those

  81. Martha (MM) says:

    I absolutely must try to rice salad – lots more of my favorite flavors. They are right up there with the chickpeas in my book 🙂

    I have another CSN gift certificate giveaway over at my blog – just though I’d mention it since you’re shopping there!

  82. Chris says:

    I’m glad you survived that brutal and totally unprovoked attack. I have been loving those mini-sweet bell peppers this year but haven’t tried stuffing them like this. I’ll give it a shot.

  83. Pierce says:

    Your photography is amazing. I feel like I could just reach out and grab something off the plate, Nice post!

  84. Kerstin says:

    What yummy stuffed peppers and a lovely summer salad! Nice work getting the CSN link in too 🙂

  85. Karen says:

    I used to be able to get those peppers at Costco and they were so doggone good! I’ve got lots of basil this year;.. thinking of making some pesto 🙂

  86. Tiff says:

    I love pesto! That salad looks wonderful!

  87. Claudia says:

    Wow! Two great recipes in one post. Humor as well. I’ve had a freezer avalanche or two in my time. And, it is a sign. Use that stuff!

  88. I looooove pesto. I’ve been trying to grow basil but it keeps dying. 🙁 I had such dreams of a flourishing basil plant. Oh and I love how you throw medical stuff into your posts. 😉 When I’m studying for exams, I always end up telling my friends random facts in emails so that it helps me remember things haha.

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