Saturday, March 5, 2011

Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers

I used to be intimidated by stuffed peppers.  They seemed like an awful lot of work to me and I wasn't sure if they were worth the effort.  Every recipe (or so it seemed) called for boiling peppers, making the filling, stuffing the peppers, and then baking them.  Too many steps for me!  Then a few years ago I came across a really quick and easy recipe in the newspaper for rice and black bean stuffed peppers.  I've made them several times, making some tweaks here and there and they're always delicious.  

Recently I found a recipe in Shape magazine that had a great quinoa filling but the preparation required more steps and time than I've become accustomed to with my peppers.  So I combined the two recipes and ended up with a really delicious dish.  This made enough filling for 4 pepper halves.  Brian and I thought we would each eat 2 halves but were stuffed (ha ha) after one.  The leftovers warmed up wonderfully the next day.  You could really make these your own, swapping rice, bulgar, or couscous for the quinoa.  It would also be great with some shredded carrots and chickpeas.  The possibilities are endless! 

I overcooked the peppers so they're a little softer than I'd like.  Easy to cut and eat, though!  With some sauteed kale, one pepper half was more than enough for one meal!

Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers
(printable recipe)


2 large sweet bell peppers
Chopped sweet onion (about ½ cup)
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
2-3 thinly sliced button mushrooms
½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (I used red)
1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon, No Chicken Base, dissolved in 1 cup hot water
½ cup (or more) frozen chopped spinach
1 can (15 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained


1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a saucepan.  Add onion, garlic, and mushroom and sauté until soft.  Add quinoa and stir for a minute. 
2. Add water with bouillon.  Stir in frozen spinach. Bring to a boil.  Stir, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove stem, seeds, and membrane.  Place cut-side down in a small glass pan.  Cover dish with plastic wrap; fold back one edge ¼ inch to vent.  Microwave 4 minutes or until peppers have softened to your liking. 
4. When quinoa is cooked, stir in tomatoes and heat through.  Fill peppers with mixture and serve.  

Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are!

Optional: Top peppers with shredded vegan cheese.  Place peppers on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts. 



  1. I just started making stuffed peppers a few months ago for the same reason you said. I didn't even know you were supposed to boil the peppers first. I skip that step, do the filling, fill them up cover and bake and that's it. And you are right one half is WAY enough!

  2. it looks lovely, and I totally agree that leftover stuffed peppers are one of the best simple pleasures in life.

  3. They're almost better as leftovers!

  4. We made these for dinner using the common cream colored variety of quinoa. The peppers were a bit firm after microwaving them so I put the filled shells in the oven at 350* for 20 minutes, topping it with non vegan cheese for the last few. Great recipe....simple, visually appealing, very adaptable and of course, delicious.