Friday, May 3, 2013

Recipe: Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

I feel like quinoa tonight! Like quinoa tonight! (Okay, I am actually singing that and remembering my sister running through the kitchen YEARS ago trying to get me to laugh as I was doing my homework.  She would start in the living room, flapping her arms like a bird, running quickly past the length of the table, and singing... "I feel like chicken tonight! Like chicken tonight." That was a commercial...

Anyways, I have been feeling like having a recent recipe that our family had a month or two ago...stuffed peppers. Oddly enough, I haven't really it before (or maybe I have but don't recall), but I got inspired by my family complaining about eating rice, salad or potatoes all the time and figured it was time for a "drastic" change in the appearance and presentation of our side dishes. Hey man, when you are tired and in a hurry and not feeling very creative or inspired in the kitchen.....stuff happens.

Well "stuffed" happened and here is the recipe....

Stuffed Red Peppers

Makes 4 tall servings or 8 shorter servings

4 large bell peppers (cut in half for 8 servings, seeds and ribs cleaned out)
1 cup quinoa (dry measure)
1 cup ground beef (I use an organic grass fed source)
1/4 cup shitake mushrooms (finely chopped)
1 medium onion (chopped)
½ tsp Onion powder
½ tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Paprika
Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
Black pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
½ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp Basil(dried or 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped)
1 medium carrot (shredded)
1 cup chopped kale
½ can of tomato sauce
White cheddar - shredded (optional)


1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.then add quinoa. Reduce heat to medium-low, place a cover on the saucepan, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes; transfer to a large mixing bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break ground beef into small pieces and place in the skillet. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic; cook and stir until the beef is completely browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Mix beef mixture into brown rice.
4. Stir tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning into the rice mixture and season filling with salt and black pepper.
5. Arrange bell peppers in a baking dish. Spoon filling into bell peppers.
6. Bake in preheated oven until the peppers are tender, about 1 hour. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the stuffed peppers to serve.

NOTE: Can substitute the ground beef for finely chopped mushrooms (I use dried shitake mushrooms rehydrated, finely chopped and sauté flavour...), and omit the cheese for a vegan recipe.