Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers makes for a delectable main dish paired with a side of garlic toast or a light salad. It is one of those feel good meals I would choose over a piece of chocolate any day. Please Do Not let the bell peppers deter you from trying the quinoa stuffing. If bell peppers are not your thing try a bed of arugula, a stuffed zucchini or serve the stuffing by itself like you would a casserole. As for serving sizes Katie suggests one half pepper if you have an accompanying side. Otherwise 1 whole pepper would be considered a serving.
Now, lets talk ingredients. I found a small package of quinoa at the supermarket for $10.99. I ended up purchasing the same amount at the health food store for .99 cents a pound. A huge savings. The poblano pepper is the new hot chili pepper fad right now. I could not find a poblano pepper in the produce section at the market. When I asked the produce manager for a suitable replacement he admitted he had heard of them but did not know what a poblano pepper was. Poblano peppers are used to make chile relleno in the place of pasilla peppers and they are also used in mole. Cook’s Thesaurus suggests using Anaheim or Ancho as a substitute. I tried half of an Anaheim but because I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese instead of pepper jack I could have used the whole pepper. Definitely season well with salt and pepper. You could use broth instead of water to cook the quinoa for more flavor too.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 (8 ounce) Package mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced very thin
1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water or broth
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.
Heat oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper cooking 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile bring the quinoa, carrots and water to a boil in a covered sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.
Add the quinoa to the onion mixture. Toss in the black beans and 1 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of 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.