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Meatless Monday Recipe for 8/19/13: Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI must say, I love it when Meatless Monday rolls around. However, I must be equally honest and say that the days of the week have a tendency to fly by so quickly and, before I know it, it’s Monday again and I’m scratching my head wondering, “Hmmmm…what to cook, what to cook?” So now you know what my Mondays are like. Inevitably, I end up at the market to buy fresh vegetables and accoutrements as I prepare to once again concoct some sort of something or other that is at once edible and won’t be misconstrued as some sort of science experiment gone awry.

This weeks’ Meatless Monday recipe, while not a unique concept, is a great one. I decided to modify one of my favorite dishes—stuffed peppers—by making it totally meatless (normally, I use ground turkey and rice, along with other ingredients). I’m fairly new to the wonderful world of quinoa and I absolutely love it. However, for this recipe, I decided to forego using simply quinoa and, instead, opted to use a flavored (roasted red pepper & basil) quinoa blend  (with quinoa and brown rice). Of course, you can feel free to modify this recipe as it fits your palate (quinoa vs. quinoa blend). I added an element of crunch with the toasted almonds, and my sweet tooth is showing just a touch with the inclusion of raisins and cinnamon. I hope you enjoy this Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe.

four forks

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

(serves 6)

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • @5 ozs. quinoa (I used 1 box [4.9 oz.] of Near East Quinoa Blend {a blend of quinoa and brown rice})
  • 6 large red, green, or yellow bell peppers (a combo of colors works great!)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. squash, diced
  • 1 package (6 ozs.) baby spinach, stems removed
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained, reserve liquid
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 c. mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Toast the almonds in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Prepare the quinoa according to instructions. (Hint: for more flavorful quinoa, substitute vegetable stock or broth for water when cooking quinoa).

Slice the tops off of the peppers. Remove ribs and seeds from inside peppers and discard. Place empty peppers aside. Discard the stems from pepper tops and dice the pepper tops for inclusion with the other vegetables.*** (See photo below for alternate way to use the pepper tops).

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir in the garlic. Add squash and diced peppers; cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Next, add the spinach and tomatoes to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes (or until liquid evaporates). Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cinnamon, raisins, almonds, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and quinoa to the spinach mixture. Stir gently to combine.

Use different colored peppers for a vibrant look

Use different colored peppers for a vibrant look

***Alternatively, if you want to create a visually stunning presentation, forego dicing the pepper tops and, instead, place them on top of the peppers after stuffing.

***Alternatively, if you want to create a visually stunning presentation, forego dicing the pepper tops and, instead, place them on top of the peppers after stuffing.

Pour reserved liquid from tomatoes in bottom of a shallow baking dish. Divide and spoon the quinoa mixture into the 6 peppers. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. but not soft. Remove from oven and top each pepper with remaining mozzarella. Return to oven and allow cheese to melt.

Quinoa Stuffed Pepper

Quinoa Stuffed Pepper

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