October 11, 2010

Quinoa Fiend Stuffed Peppers

So, I'm a quinoa fiend.  I generally try as hard as I can to eat as healthfully as I can, and I find that quinoa allows me to do that while also allowing me to make meals that actually taste good. It truly is a magical grain---a complete protein (I am also a protein fiend!), tasty, and versatile. It's also totally gluten-free, which is an added bonus for some people.

I like all the varieties I've tried including red, white, and black, and I also really like quinoa pasta. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a bit expensive (and can be hard to find if you're not in a bigger city), but it fills you up without making you have that awful stuffed-to-the-gills feeling you can get with pasta, rice, or other grains. I don't mind spending the extra money to buy quinoa, even on a graduate student salary, because its nutritional value and versatility are really valuable to me. I know that sounds so, like, organic and snobby, but it's true for me. At least with quinoa; there are a ton of foodstuffs I'm happy to take the cheap route on, like cheese or cereal. But anyway!

I seriously eat quinoa all the time: with eggs and salsa for breakfast, in salads, as a companion to chicken and shrimp, with stir-frys, mixed up with crunchy tortilla chips, salsa and melty cheese for lunch.

This recipe is designed to use up whatever random half-used-up vegetables and/or cheese you've got laying around. I used onions, black beans, tomatoes, and feta cheese, but you could easily add in or substitute zucchini, squash, leeks, spinach, whatever.  It's easy to manipulate the flavor here: this recipe can be tweaked to have more a Mexican, Italian, or Greek flavor, depending on the type of cheese and seasonings used.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
serves 2
hands-on time: 15 minutes
total time: 45 min

1 cup of quinoa (I used black here)
1/2 a can of black beans
1/2 an onion
1 small tomato
small handful of feta cheese
2 red or green peppers
couple tbsps of olive oil
salt, pepper, and seasoning to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook your quinoa. If you're using boxed, follow the directions on the box. If not, generally follow the rule of 2 parts water to one part quinoa. Rinse the quinoa then bring to a boil in a pot with two cups of chicken or vegetable broth. When the mixture is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover until all liquid is absorbed (usually 10-15 minutes).

3. You'll also need to steam the peppers a little bit before you cook them in the oven. My lazy shortcut way is to slice the tops off, pull out the seeds, and microwave for about 4 minutes, until soft.

4. While the quinoa is cooking, dice your onions and tomatoes. You'll want to dice them smaller than what I did here (see picture). The vegetable pieces were kind of a little bit too big to put inside the peppers, but I am a lazy dicer. I hope you aren't.

5. Throw your onions in a pan with some olive oil and saute until translucent; then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and seasoning (I used a Mexican one). Once this mixture is a little bit bubbly, add in the black beans. Cook for 3-5 minutes.

6. Once the vegetable mixture is done, add it to the cooked quinoa. Stir, and add in your handful of feta.

7. Carefully scoop the quinoa mixture into the peppers, sprinkle a little bit more cheese on top, and bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.

8. You'll want to let these cool before serving them, as they retain quite a bit of heat.

You'll probably have a good amount of the quinoa mixture leftover, which can be used in another meal....maybe as a side dish to beef or chicken, or rolled up in a burrito. The pepper I had leftover was equally as good the next day with eggs for breakfast, as you can see below.

For some awesome quinoa recipes, check out Rebecca Woolf's blog.


  1. I'd never heard of quinoa until coming across this recipe last week, but I'm all over it now! These stuffed peppers look and sound delicious; will add it to my burgeoning recipe file!

  2. these are delicious! made them a couple weeks ago. quinoa made me feel full without feeling stuffed. also, loved the mediterranean flavors :)


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