Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper

Vegetable Recipes

Whoever invented stuffed vegetables was a creative genius. The compact goodness, with plentiful stuffing choices, makes a great meal. I have a list of stuffing and vegetables that I’d like to pair together. But this week the mood for a good cheesy, creamy,  either grain or pasta based, stuffing was heightened. So the search for the right ingredients began.

Curiosity led me to try quinoa for my vegetable stuffing base. I have heard about the grain a lot but have never tried it before. So I had to see what the excitement was all about. I grabbed a small bag of quinoa from the market and learned from the back of it that the grain makes a great substitute for rice and couscous. Right there and then, my cooking planning process began. I stood in the produce aisle, totally switched off from my surrounding, meditating on my next steps. An image of stuffed red bell peppers entered my mind. Next I imagined mixing the cooked quinoa with unsalted butter, light shredded mozzarella, halved grape tomatoes, onions, and a little bit of chop parsley. Then I visualized stuffing the mixture of quinoa into the bell peppers and liking the end result. Here’s the product of my food meditation 🙂

The real cooking process was as easy as I had pictured it in my mind. And even better, the result was as tasty as I had hoped for. Quinoa’s subtle nutty flavor and soft crunchy texture pair well with the sweet  and tender red bell peppers and tomatoes and with the savory cheese. I imagine the grain would be great in different styles of cooking too. Ideas already pop up in my head for the next quinoa-based meal. I’ll be sure to write them down and give them a try. More to come later!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • ¼ chopped onions
  • A handful of halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 2 handful of light shredded mozzarella
  • 3 red bell peppers (remove the top and the seeds)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a small pot, cook 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of chicken stock. Stir and bring to boil. Close with a lid and let cook for 20 minutes (I followed the cooking instruction on the bag).
  • After 20 minutes, turn the heat off, add butter and stir until it melts
  • Add the shredded mozzarella
  • Add the grape tomatoes, onions, parsley, salt, and pepper into the mixture and mix well
  • Scoop the mixture and fill up the bell peppers
  • Top with a little bit more of mozzarella
  • Using your fingers, coat the outer part of the pepper with a little bit of olive oil
  • Place the stuffed bell peppers on a baking dish, add a little water on the bottom of the dish (like two tablespoon of water). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bell peppers become a bit wrinkly and soft.