quinoa stuffed bell peppers

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Quinoa, a lovely gluten free grain, has become a staple item in my pantry. If you are unfamiliar with it is time to become acquainted. Quinoa is comparable to rice, but much more nutritious and versatile. The protein content in quinoa is 18% and contains a balanced set of amino acids, and is also high in magnesium and iron.

Cooking quinoa is similar to rice, but it is essential to rinse it before boiling, otherwise it will taste bitter. The ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa are a good rule of thumb, bring the quinoa to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, you will know it’s ready when the quinoa sprouts a little tail.

In the past I was a big meat eater, but since moving to Denmark my diet consists of vegetarian, fish, and occasionally chicken dishes. This recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers is a fantastic vegetarian dish, the bell peppers are thick and meaty, while the quinoa provides a nice crunch.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

adapted from Good life eats

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese, divided
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

Directions:

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

Stir in quinoa, carrots, and 1 cup water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Combine quinoa and carrots with black beans, 1 cup of cheese, and the onion mixture from the first step, . Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving. Serve with fresh avocado, cilantro and creme fraiche or sour cream.

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