Ah, real food. This is the kind of stuff that gets me excited. It’s so delicious, so fresh, so perfect for spring-time alfresco dining with lots of wine and great conversations.

These peppers aren’t exactly a Rachael Ray 30-minute meal; they will take some time to prep and you might have to get your hands dirty, but why not get the whole family involved and make a great weekend dinner out of it? The payoff of spending time together to make a fresh and delicious meal is absolutely worth the investment.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 lemon (juice + zest)
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 10 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Handful of arugula, with balsamic and agave for dressing

Part One: The Quinoa

Quinoa Tabbouleh Stuffed Peppers

Before we can get started on the peppers, we need to make the quinoa stuffing. We’re basically making a tabbouleh, like this Quinoa Tabbouleh I posted earlier. This adds so much more flavor and depth than if we simply added plain quinoa to the peppers.

  • Begin cooking the quinoa. First, measure out 1 1/2 cups and rinse the grains well to remove the bitter coating (you’ll thank me later). Then, add to a pot with 3 cups water. Let this simmer (covered) for about 20-25 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.
  • Meanwhile, chop the parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and Kalamata olives. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet (it’s worth the extra step), and set aside the lemon.
  • When the quinoa is done cooking, add it to a large mixing bowl and fold in all the other ingredients (parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, pine nuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and pepper). Give this a taste and adjust any ingredients as needed.

This tabbouleh makes a wonderful meal all by itself. The good news? You should have plenty of leftovers after stuffing the peppers.

Part Two: The Veggies & Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers Cooking

  • Preheat the oven to about 375º F.
  • Cut the onion into small wedges, loosely chunk the garlic, chop the zucchini, and slice the mushrooms. Add all these veggies to a baking pan and toss with a small splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set this aside.
  • Take the 4 bell peppers and carefully slice them in half. Remove the seeds and white pith. Then, pack in as much of the quinoa stuffing as each pepper will hold.
  • Set the peppers into the baking pan around the veggies (if you’re making 4 servings, you’ll probably need to use two pans). Cover with foil to lock in the flavors and moisture.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes until the veggies are fully cooked and the peppers are just starting to wilt.

Part Three: Serving

These peppers go great with bitter greens like arugula. Put a few handfuls of arugula into a bowl and drizzle a little balsamic, agave nectar, and black pepper for a delicious fat-free dressing. Use your hands to gently toss.

Place two stuffed peppers onto a plate, surrounded by some of the roasted veggies and the arugula salad. Grab a bottle of wine, go out to the patio, and enjoy eating a fresh home-cooked meal with the people you care about.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers