I am really starting to appreciate quinoa. It is so easy to prepare and is so versatile. It is easier to cook than rice and has more protein, more fiber and less carbs. Use it as you would rice, spice it up and you’ll have a super satisfying meal. This is meatless, quinoa stuffed bell peppers.
The ingredients of this meal are simple and the key to it’s fantastic flavor is in the spices. Quinoa by itself is somewhat bland and because it is a grain, has a raw grain taste. It has the ability though, to pick up the flavors of whatever you mix with it. In this case, it is some sauteed onion with cumin, chili powder and garlic. Add to that a little kicked up flavor of store-bought salsa, to give it a little more complexity. Finally, toss in some black beans for more protein and fiber and you’ve got a satisfying and filling meatless meal.
Quinoa, (keen-wah), has become popular in the last couple of years and is being used more and more because of its nutritional value and versatility. Its origin is the Andes mountains of South America, where the Incas used to grow and eat it. The Bolivians call it “The Mother Grain.” It is mostly grown in Peru and Bolivia at elevations up to 13000 feet, in the Andes. Quinoa is an ancient grain worthy of more use in a healthy diet.
If you haven’t prepared quinoa in the past, it is really worth trying. I know it has been hyped a lot in recent years and I was a little skeptical of it. I love to cook, but I’m kind of set in my ways sometimes. Like, give me the regular stuff! Meat and potatoes and all that. I think that I’m going to start using quinoa a lot more because I loved how these quinoa stuffed bell peppers turned out.
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 4 sweet bell peppers , halved longitudinally, seeds and ribs removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup red onion , finely chopped, divided
- 1½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese , divided (about 6 oz.)
- 1 15 oz . can black beans , rinsed
- ¾ cup salsa , mild, medium, or hot
- green onions , chopped for garnish
- Remaining red onion for garnish
- plain Greek yogurt if desired for garnish
- Cook quinoa in chicken stock or broth per package directions and let cool, 15 to 20 mins
- In a skillet saute ¼ cup chopped onions in the olive oil on medium heat, 3 to 5 mins until softened.
- Add chili powder, cumin and garlic powder and mix with the onions about 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and add to the cooked quinoa.
- Add the salt, 1 cup shredded cheese, black beans, and salsa to the quinoa and mix thoroughly.
- Spoon the quinoa into the pepper halves and bake at 375° in a casserole dish or on a sheet pan for 30 minutes, covered with a lid or foil.
- Remove from the oven and uncover, then place a pinch of the remaining cheese on each pepper half.
- Place back in the oven, uncovered, for 8 to 12 minutes until the cheese is melted
- Serve with onion garnish and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
- You may have more quinoa mixture than needed for 4 peppers, depending on size. Cut one more pepper or refrigerate the remainder to eat later.