Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Quinoa (pronounced "kee-nwah") was an important staple of the ancient Incan diet, and still is eaten frequently in certain areas of South America. Containing more protein than most other grains, it's a healthy option that's gaining popularity.

Sunday night I stumbled upon a recipe clipped from a magazine for Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers, and decided to try it. I substituted a few items from the recipe, according to what we had on hand in the kitchen, and it turned out quite well! This is a one-dish meal, with grains, vegetables, and nuts all in one, and it's quite filling. I especially like the contrast of textures in this dish - with the crunch of the toasted almonds and the small grains of quinoa. And it's always fun to be able to eat your "bowl" - the bell pepper - as you go!


30 min. prep time, 30-60 min. cooking time
Serves 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 cup packed baby spinach, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 green, red, orange or yellow bell peppers, tops removed, cored and seeded
1/4 cup toasted chopped almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion, red bell pepper, and carrots for 5 min. or until softened. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 min or until softened. Add spinach and parsley, saute for 2-3 min or until spinach is wilted. Stir in quinoa, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
3. Stuff bell peppers with quinoa mixture, gently packing it down. Arrange upright in baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds.*
4. Cover and bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour or until peppers are tender.**

*I chopped the whole almonds and toasted them on a tray in the toaster oven for a few minutes until golden. Then let cool a bit and sprinkle them on top of the stuffed peppers.
**I only baked for 30 minutes because we were all hungry and didn't want to wait! The bell peppers were a bit more crunchy than soft, but everyone liked it!