Stuffed Peppers are kind of a classic meal from my childhood. I remember my mom stuffing green peppers with a Mexican ground beef and rice mixture. They were super easy and something I enjoyed.
Consider these Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers and updated version of that classic childhood meal. The rice in the recipe is swapped with quinoa and instead of ground beef I use black beans. The mixture is full of colorful vegetables and lots of flavor and a little heat from the pepper jack and poblano. It is a great vegetarian meal that proves meatless doesn’t have to be boring.
With summer coming to a close (school has already started here, but the weather hasn’t gotten the memo that it is “fall” yet), take advantage of those tasty summer peppers while you can. If you’d like to save your self some time, or enjoy colorful summer produce in the middle of winter, spend a little extra time to make a batch of these to put away in your freezer for a later use.
Unfortunately, this summer I did not plant a garden again…because I haven’t figured out where to put it in this house and the ground is so stinking hard to dig in here that I’d have to do raised beds (unless you count a pot of herbs that a huge rain/wind/hail storm totally decimated a few weeks ago).
Otherwise, I’d be putting some of these away in the freezer as soon as I could. I have been using a new freezer that I got to get organized and stash a few other meals away in for those busy nights. They just don’t include homegrown garden produce. I’ll share more on that adventure later.
To freeze stuffed peppers: prepare them according to instructions up to the cooking step. You just want to assemble them. Then, place them on a parchment paper or waxed paper lined baking sheet and freeze them until solid. After the peppers are completely frozen, place them in labeled gallon sized resealable plastic bags (3 or 4 will usually fit in a bag).
Zip the bag almost all the way. Insert a straw in the small opening and suck out all the air. Remove the straw and then zip the bag the rest of the way. When you label the bag, make sure to include what the recipe is, any remaining steps, and the date you froze it.
Are you preserving any summer produce or savoring it while it lasts?
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 8-oz. pkg. mushrooms, stems removed and saved for another use and caps sliced very thin
1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 15 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 – 15 oz. can BUSH’S® 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
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 mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
Stir the quinoa, carrots, and 1 3/4 cups water (or chicken or vegetable broth) together in a medium saucepan. 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.
You can add meat - chicken or ground beef - if you'd like, but this is still incredibly tasty as a vegetarian meal. I am thinking that a combination of this recipe and the filling for these Easy Chicken and Black Bean Burritos would be really good only using the quinoa instead of rice.
I have an ongoing relationship with Bush’s Beans where I am compensated for my time, however this is a brand that I have always used in my own kitchen and any opinions expressed regarding the product are my own.