Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

The rental house we stayed at on our Seattle vacation had a few issues of Vegetarian Times magazine, so I figured I'd flip through them to get some ideas for new vegetarian dinners. Now that I'm down to just nursing the baby once a day I want to start kicking up my weight loss efforts, so I'm going to start making more vegetarian dinners (trying to get back to three or four a week) and bust out my Weight Watchers cookbooks for ideas, too.

I had some quinoa in my pantry and wasn't sure what to do with it. I saw this recipe in the VT magazine and figured I'd make it when red peppers were on sale next. Well, I didn't need to wait because Costco yesterday had a bag of six red peppers for $5.49! The cheapest I can get them at the grocery store is usually $1 each, so I snatched up a bag and put this on the meal plan for this week. I'm excited to try it!!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 ribs celery, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 Tbs. ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup quinoa
3 large carrots, grated (11/2 cups)
1-1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in spinach and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

2. Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrots, and 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Stir in 1 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

4. Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 Tbs. remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.


I'm glad I'm posting this early in the morning...I didn't realize how long it needed to bake! I'm really excited to try this. This will be my first time making (and eating, I think) quinoa. It sounds like this will be pretty flavorful, and I'm hoping it ends up that way. Not sure what we'll have with it since there's a grain in the peppers and vegetables. We may just have a salad to go with it, I'm not sure.

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