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.
Makes 4 servings
- 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
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
- 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.