Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe
Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

What makes quinoa so special? Quinoa is high in complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. But don't eat it just because it's good for you; eat it because it's just plain good.

Though quinoa is technically a seed, it is used as a grain. Cooked quinoa is delicately fluffy with a mildly nutty flavor and can be used in dishes ranging from salads and soups to cereals and stuffing.

My current favorite is today's recipe for healthy Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.

I have made this Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe several times now, experimenting with different ingredients, and this version is the winner. Nutrient-rich colored bell peppers are the vessel for a flavorful and textured quinoa stuffing that is studded with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios. Pair with side salad for a substantial vegetarian meal, or serve as a side dish with a chicken, pork, or seafood entree.

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook time: 60 minutes

    Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe Ingredients

    1 cup uncooked quinoa

    2 1/2 cups water

    2 teaspoons olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling the stuffed peppers

    1 large shallot, finely diced

    2 celery stalks, finely diced

    1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, diced

    1/3 cup dried tart cherries, chopped

    1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger

    a generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, cilantro, or parsley (my favorite is mint)

    6 small (about 3-4 inches tall) or 4 large (about 5-6 inches tall) red, yellow, or orange bell peppers

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Pour the uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve; rinse and drain. (This helps remove some slight natural bitterness from the grains).

    In a medium saucepan over high heat, add quinoa and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, and cover until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (If the water has evaporated before the quinoa is cooked, just add a bit more). The quinoa will be done when the grains have turned partially white, and the spiral-like germ of the grain is visible. They should maintain a slight crunch when eaten. This will yield about 2 cups cooked quinoa.

    In a small skillet over medium heat, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil.

    Add shallots and celery; saute 2-3 minutes, or until shallots are translucent.

    Add diced apricots and cherries, and saute 1-2 minutes. Add pistachios, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs.

    Stir together and heat through. Place in a large bowl.

    Add cooked quinoa, and toss until well combined. Taste the stuffing and adjust seasonings as necessary.

    Wash and dry the peppers. Using a pairing knife, remove the stem, core and seeds.

    Divide the stuffing equally among the peppers.

    Place stuffed peppers in a casserole or similar baking dish and drizzle the tops with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil.

    Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until peppers are softened and wrinkly and a few brown spots appear on the skin.

    If the stuffing is browning too much, cover the tops of the peppers with a piece of aluminum foil.

    Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

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