Well, the Easter Bunny has come and gone and its time to get back to making some healthier dishes. Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa and Vegetables is healthy, low in calories and chock full of vitamins, plus, the best part is they are absolutely delicious and very easy to make. My husband raved about them and not only had the peppers for dinner one night but ate the leftovers for lunch 2 days in a row!
This dish is great for a stand alone meatless entree, but it would also be wonderful served as a side with another entree. It can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days. You can also switch up the vegetables and really use whatever you have on hand. I stuffed mine with mushrooms and tomatoes because that’s what I had. But, you can use zucchini, eggplant, carrots, broccoli, really any combination of vegetables would be delicious! I also used homemade chicken stock to cook the quinoa, which elevated the flavor, but any stock is fine.
Quinoa pronounced “keen-wah” is actually a tasty super-healthy seed, not a grain. If you haven’t cooked with it before, here are a few tips to ensure it turns out perfectly every time. 1. Always rinse it in a fine mesh strainer before cooking. Quinoa seeds have a bitter coating which needs to be rinsed off. 2. Don’t over-cook your Quinoa, it will be mushy. 3. Quinoa holds lots of water so be sure to drain well after cooking. 4. After cooking and draining the quinoa return it to the pan you cooked it in, cover it and let it rest for 15 minutes. This dries it out even more and makes it light and fluffy.
To get started, gather your ingredients which are quinoa, chicken or vegetable stock, bell peppers, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, onion, jalapeno or chili pepper, tomatoes, salt and pepper and feta cheese.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Bring the quinoa and stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Drain well and return it to the pan you cooked it in. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
In the meantime, drizzle olive oil over the bell peppers and rub all over, making sure all surfaces are covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down in a baking dish and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the skins are just beginning to char and the peppers are tender.
While the peppers cool, heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes, or until they are starting to get tender. Add the garlic, mushrooms and jalapeno or minced chili pepper. Cook about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Add the tomatoes and quinoa and mix well.
Fill the pepper halves with the quinoa mixture and put back in the baking dish. I like to use my cast iron skillet to bake in and I used a large ice-cream scoop to fill the peppers. Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
**If making ahead, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Before serving, turn your oven down to 375 degrees and heat the stuffed peppers for about 15 minutes, or until they are hot. Top with crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy!
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