Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

27 Feb

Yummy stuffed peppers.

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago in Shape magazine, and despite my aversion to anything with the word “diet” in it, thought it looked like a pretty delicious lunch or dinner idea.  Plus, I’d been looking to experiment with quinoa (can we please just spell it qeenwa from now on?) since I keep hearing about how it is some crazy superfood that makes you live forever.  Or something like that.  I changed this recipe a bit, mainly making it much less healthy by adding more cheese than necessary and laughing at the idea of only using “salt free herb seasoning”.  But it ended up really well, and was extremely filling- I made two peppers at once but ended up saving most of one since the quinoa and vegetable stuffing was very hearty.  If you don’t want to go through actually putting the stuffing into the pepper, the filling would be very good as a side dish to a main course of chicken or fish.  Once you get the hang of cooking quinoa (apparently Gina had some sort of quinoa accident once, but it’s really not hard), it’s very easy to add to cold or warm salads as well.

Cheese and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Cinch!
Makes 2 stuffed peppers

Equipment: Knife, cutting board, small saucepan, frying pan or skillet, baking sheet or baking dish

Ingredients
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 red or green bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red or white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots (optional)
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2-3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
A few fresh basil leaves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place quinoa and water into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and let cook until all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Cut the tops off the peppers, and remove the seeds and membranes.

Heat a frying pan or skillet on medium-high heat, add the olive oil, and once hot add the onion.  Saute for 3 minutes or until translucent, then add the garlic, carrots, baby spinach, and mushrooms.  Saute for another 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Add basil, and salt and pepper to taste, then take off the heat and transfer vegetables to a bowl.  Mix in the cooked quinoa and fold in the cheddar cheese.

Place peppers on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, and fill with the quinoa mixture.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top.  Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until pepper is slightly charred.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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