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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quinoa & Veggie Stuffed Peppers

I've been trying to cook at least 2 meatless dinners each week. It's easier on the budget and our health. Quinoa is packed with protein and iron (ahem...pregnant ladies!) and is super versatile, not to mention much cheaper than any meat worth buying. In one serving, you get 6g of protein, 20% of your DV of Iron, 3g of fiber, and only 2.5g of fat.

I've become a big fan of stuffed peppers, but was not a fan of how long they can take to cook and haven't had much success with crock pot stuffed peppers because I like mine to still have some crunch. I had fresh zucchini from my mom's garden to use up and some organic peppers in the fridge so I threw this together and the hubby and I loved it. Feel free to replace some of the cheese with goat cheese (I would have if I had it!). It is a filling dinner that doesn't leave you bogged down when you're finished.

Begin by cooking your Quinoa. I like to use half vegetable broth and half water for some added flavor. (Chicken broth works well too if you aren't worried about keeping this totally meatless). 

While the Quinoa cooks (about 10 minutes), cut your peppers in half, top to bottom to make little pepper boats. These are easier to eat, in my opinion, than the traditional stuffed peppers. Put them face down on a pan (I know...shame on me for using tin foil...but I need a new pan for the toaster oven). Roast them to your liking. I did about 15 minutes in the toaster oven at 400 to keep them a bit crunchy (keep in mind they will cook a bit longer later on).

While those cook, chop up your zucchini and mix with a can of diced tomato (of course you can do fresh if you have it!), Italian seasoning, celery salt (or garlic), and ground flax. *Note: If you prefer your zucchini fully cooked, I recommend sautéing it here. Feel free to mix in the tomatoes and spices after they cook a bit and let simmer for about 10 minutes. I like crunch so I did not cook them first).

Next, mix in your cheese and cooked quinoa:

Then, turn your peppers over and stuff 'em! Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and some parsley. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 375 (this is in a toaster oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes in a regular oven).


Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 4 Organic Green Peppers
  • 1/2C Quinoa
  • 1/2C Vegetable Broth
  • 1 large or 2 medium Zucchini
  • 1 Can Organic Tomatoes
  • 1T Italian Seasoning Blend
  • 1/2C Shredded Cheese (I used Monterey Jack)
  • 1t Celery Salt (or garlic)
  • 1T Ground Flax (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2C Shredded Cheese (for topping)
  • Approx 1T Parsley Flakes to make it pretty
  1. Cook Quinoa in broth and water
  2. Cut peppers in half, top to bottom, and remove pith and seeds
  3. Roast face down for approximately 15 minutes 
  4. Chop zucchini into thin quarter-round slices
  5. Mix with tomato, Italian Seasoning, Celery Salt, Flax, and Shredded Cheese
  6. Stir in Quinoa
  7. Remove peppers and turn over
  8. Stuff the peppers, top with cheese and parsley
  9. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 375 (toaster oven) or 20-30 minutes in a regular oven. 

Why celery salt? As I will post soon, my husband and I are both allergic to Allium, which is the entire onion and garlic family. We won't stop breathing, but it gives us a headache (just to be by it), itchy lips and throat, and upset stomach. Celery has made a great replacement!

Why the toaster oven? I wrote this recipe when it was still hot out and we don't have A/C so I use the oven as little as possible in the summer. The toaster oven does a lot more than toast bread and cook pizza! I plan to post an entire series by/during next summer so you can save on your gas and electric bill in the summer.  

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