While browsing recipe sites yesterday I came across a few recipes for stuffed bell peppers. They sounded pretty tasty, not to mention healthy, so I figured I would give them a go. I used my typical method of viewing several similar recipes to get an idea of which ingredients would join the party then writing out a quick “recipe” to serve as a guide. Behold, my recipe (first draft). Pretty fancy, no?
The actual recipe was changed a bit during cooking and the final version can be found at the end of the post. I started by preparing some of the ingredients to be used. First a 10 ounce package of frozen spinach was thawed and squeezed by hand till most of the moisture was removed. Then I diced two cloves of garlic, half of my red onion (since the one I had was rather large) and a large tomato and grated not quite two carrots which produced about 1/2 cup. I also chopped enough cilantro to make about 1/2 cup.
On to the cooking! In a medium skillet 2 Tbsp of olive oil was heated over med-low heat and the diced onion was added and allowed to sweat to soften it up. After a few minutes the garlic was added and stirred in with the onion for another minute. The spinach, grated carrots and diced tomatoes were added to the onion. In addition, a whole 15 ounce can of black beans was mostly drained and added. Everything was stirred till most of the liquid was reduced and then removed from the heat.
After seeing how much filling the veggies and beans had made to I decided to use 1 cup of quinoa instead of just 3/4 cup. This ratio of quinoa to veggies just seemed to make more sense to me. It was prepared by mixing the 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water, bringing it to a boil, and letting it simmer over low heat for twenty minutes with the occasional stirring.
While the quinoa was cooking I turned my attention to the bell peppers. I chose red peppers just because they’re my favorite, but I’m sure orange or yellow or even green would be fine as well. Two of the peppers had their tops removed and insides hollowed out, being sure to remove all the seeds. The third pepper I halved from top to bottom just because it wouldn’t stand up like the other two. Besides, a little variety is a good thing.
Once the quinoa finished cooking it was added to the veggies along with the chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp of ground cumin, 1/2 tsp of Cheyenne pepper, 1/2 tsp ground pepper and a couple pinches of salt. Once everything was thoroughly mixed together, the peppers were ready to be stuffed. Each pepper was filled to the top and the two with stem caps were topped with them for cooking. I should make a note here that this recipe made enough to fill at least six bell peppers. I just refrigerated the remaining filling, it’s good even on it’s own. I may reheat it and add a can of sweet corn for an excellent side dish. :]
To cook the peppers I placed them in a shallow casserole dish greased with cooking spray. The peppers need to be covered in aluminum foil or they would likely roast and fall apart before they are done. They baked at 350 degrees for one hour. If you like a bit of char on your peppers you could remove the foil for the last 5 – 10 minutes and allow them to blacken a bit, but I thought these looked good enough as they were.
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 6 bell peppers
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 15 oz can black beans, mostly drained
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp Cheyenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- salt to taste
- In 2 Tbsp olive oil sweat onion till soft. Add garlic, continue sweat.
- Add spinach, carrots, and the tomato. Also add the black beans as well as a bit of the bean juice. Simmer till most of the liquid is reduced.
- Prepare the quinoa by mixing it with 2 cups of water and bringing it to a boil. Quickly reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the quinoa is cooking, remove the tops from the bell peppers and hollow them out.
- When the quinoa is cooked, add it and the cilantro to the rest of the filling. Also add the cumin, Cheyenne pepper, ground pepper, and salt to taste. Combine well.
- Spoon the filling into the bell peppers and replace the stem tops. Place them in a greased dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.