Baked peppers with chickpea and apricot pilau and smoked almond dukkah


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serve


Appears in

Pure Vegetarian

By Paul Gayler

Published 2006

  • About

An excellent dish packed full of energy and flavour with its roots in the Middle East. The use of smoked almonds for the dukkah - a spiced seasoning popular in Egypt - adds a wonderful smoky overtone to the dish. I suggest serving the peppers on a bed of buttered garlic spinach and roasted squash.


  • 400 ml good vegetable stock
  • good pinch of saffron
  • 175 g brown rice
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 120 g cooked chickpeas (tinned are fine), drained
  • 50 g raisins
  • 40 g dried apricots, soaked in water, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 large red peppers, halved and deseeded, stalks intact
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Smoked Almond Dukkah

  • 25 g smoked almonds
  • 20 g sesame seeds
  • 15 g coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • little salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Preheat the oven to 220°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Gently heat the vegetable stock in a pan and infuse the saffron in it for 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the stock has been absorbed.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the pine nuts and cook over a low heat until golden; remove and set aside. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in the pan, add the onion and cook until lightly golden. Add the ground coriander, cumin, chickpeas, raisins and apricots and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, add the chopped parsley and season to taste. Fill the pepper halves with the prepared pilau and place in a large roasting tin. Mix together the vinegar, honey and 100 ml water, then pour the liquid into the base of the roasting tin. Place the tin in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes.

For the smoked almond dukkah, heat a dry frying pan and, when hot, add the almonds and seeds and toast for 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Transfer to a mortar and crush with a pestle, but not too finely, and season.

When the peppers are cooked, remove to four serving plates, sprinkle liberally with the dukkah, whisk the pan cooking juices and pour over the peppers.