Monday, January 14, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed "Southern" Bells

What's better than a sweet roasted red bell pepper stuffed with melty, cheesy, meaty goodness? Maybe some crumbled bacon on top... Maybe a vegetarian version with quinoa.... Wait, what?

Yes I said it: vegetarian. Don't stop reading. I promise that this recipe will offer up the most amazingly delicious stuffed peppers you've ever had. Throw out your old recipe now.

Quinoa Stuffed Red Bell Peppers.

I'm going to be honest with you right out the gate and let you know your chances of eating only one of these babies is zero to none. I've made it for my girlfriends on girls' night- gone. I've made it for my boyfriend and his friends - they ate every last bit, even after I admitted I purposefully omitted the ground beef. It's hearty. It's healthy. It's chock-full of flavor with quinoa and cheese and veggies. It's about to be on your weekly dinner menu.

George likes the peppers, too.

Garlic fingers are my least favorite thing
These stuffed "southern" bells are simple and easy to make (so long as you're good at chopping vegetables. I'm not.): Prep takes about 30 minutes (or an hour if you're anything like me with a knife), another 20-30 minutes to prepare the filling and about 50 minutes to cook the stuffed peppers in the oven. Feel free to sub or add any veggies you like. I like the "southwestern" flavor in this recipe so I stick with the ingredients you'll see listed below.
Quinoa-Veggie filling.

You can try yellow or orange peppers, too.
I'm also going to let you know that I've been known to cook and eat only the filling for dinner. I love cooking with quinoa and this is hands down my favorite way to eat it. If you're looking for new ways to eat quinoa (or just reasons to) this is a good recipe to start with.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper with Side Caesar Salad. Also, I apologize for my poor quality iPhone food porn.

OK, enough of this, here's your recipe!

Southwestern Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
as adapted from a recipe found at Good Life Eats as adapted from Vegetarian Times

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 poblano pepper or anaheim chili, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 crimini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced thin
1 – 15 oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (liquid reserved for cooking dish)
2-3 large carrots, grated 
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups of water
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups grated pepper Jack cheese, divided
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise with ribs removed

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper/anaheim chili and cook until soft and onions are slightly translucent (about 5 minutes). Add cumin and garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

Stir in quinoa, carrots, and 1 3/4 cups water (you may want more or less water depending on how much liquid was evaporated). Cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Add black beans, 1 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish. If more liquid is needed, add a few tablespoons of water (the peppers will absorb flavor from the tomato juice and will also be prevented from burning n the bottom of the dish).

Fill each bell pepper to the top with quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and discard foil, and sprinkle each pepper with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes before transferring to serving plates. Drizzle with pan juices if desired.


Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Requests? I'd love to hear your feedback.
 Please don't be shy and leave me a comment or contact me via e-mail. 
Happy cooking! :)

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