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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Totally Stuffed

Growing up, stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage were a special treat in my household. Only my Nana made stuffed cabbage (golumpki), which was an all-day affair, especially in her old age, and making stuffed peppers required too much time for my busy mom's schedule. Of course, since I become a vegetarian I haven't had either of these delicious foods, but today I decided to make a vegetarian version of my mother's recipe: quinoa stuffed peppers.

I looked up some recipes online to get some ideas for some quick vegetarian versions, so the recipe that I post today is an adaptation of one from Vegetarian Times. There are many different variations of how to make vegetarian stuffed peppers, but I knew I wanted to use quinoa because not only do I adore it and it's nutritional value, but it's bead-like texture reminds me more of ground beef than brown rice does.

I also chose to use black beans because I wanted this recipe to have a kick to it, and when I think of spicy foods, I think Mexican (which is one of my favorites, if you haven't already guessed). 

The entire process did not take long, and it was definitely much faster than my mom's version (a lot more heart healthy too!). 

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
  • 2 Bell peppers, de-seeded 
  • 1/4 c. Dry quinoa
  • 1/2 c. Black beans (I used Goya)
  • 1/2 c. Tomato sauce (I used Tuttorosso)
  • 1/4 tsp EVVO
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin 
  • Pinch chili powder
  • Dash of Tobasco sauce
  • Pinch of shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese (optional)
1. Bring dry quinoa and 1 c. water to a boil in a small pot. Once it boils, keep it on a medium heat and continue to stir occasionally.
2. In a separate pot, bring enough water to a boil to soften the peppers. Cook until soft, but not mushy, and set aside. At this time, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. In the meantime, add EVVO, onion, celery, and garlic in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. cook until soft. Add black beans and heat through. 
4. When quinoa is done cooking (about 15-20 minutes), add it to the sauce pan. Pour in 1/4 c. of tomato sauce, ground cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce. Stir until all ingredients come together. 
5. Fill peppers with quinoa mixture and top each with 1 Tbsp of tomato sauce. If you want to add cheese, add a pinch on top of each pepper. 
6. Add a little water and remaining tomato sauce to the bottom of a casserole or pyrex dish. Place peppers on top so that they will not fall over. Place in the over for 20-25 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.  Serve hot, or even make these ahead of time and freeze for later!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Nutrition: (2 peppers) Calories: 410, Total Fat: 5g, Sat. fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 1083mg, Total Carbs: 84g, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 14g, Protein: 18g

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