Fancy Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans

1

ABOUT THE RECIPE:

This tempting, hearty entrée is especially well-suited to wintertime, and the festive presentation will grace the table at any holiday celebration. Choose the color of peppers accordingly: orange and yellow for Thanksgiving, red and green for Christmas or Kwanzaa, and red for Valentine’s Day. One heads-up: It’s best to make the quinoa a day in advance to allow it to firm up, so plan ahead.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 cups vegetable broth
4 very large sweet bell peppers, any color or a combination of colors (see note for smaller servings, for 6 people)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1 jar (about 25 ounces) marinara sauce, divided
1 can (about 15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
6 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, cut into large dice
1 sweet onion, cut into large dice
1⁄4 cup toasted wheat germ, plus more as needed (optional, see note for gluten-free option)
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil

3

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft but not mushy. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

4

When ready to assemble the stuffed peppers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice off the top 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches of each pepper and set aside (these tops will be used to “cap” the peppers later). Seed the peppers.

Stir the optional oil into 1⁄2 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a deep casserole large enough to hold all the peppers snugly so they remain upright during baking.

5

Set aside 1⁄4 cup of the marinara sauce. Mix the quinoa with the beans, mushrooms, onion, optional wheat germ, garlic, basil, and half of the remaining marinara sauce. Stir until well combined, adding more marinara sauce, a couple of tablespoonfuls at a time, until the mixture is moist but not soupy.

Spoon one-quarter of the mixture into each pepper, mounding it if need be. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved marinara sauce over the quinoa stuffing in each pepper, then top with the pepper tops. (The stuffing will peek out between the pepper tops and bottoms.) Carefully position the peppers in the casserole so they will remain upright while baking.

6

Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the peppers are slightly tender but not mushy. Let the peppers cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

7

NOTE: For smaller servings, use 6 small bell peppers, instead of 4 large.

NOTE: For a gluten-free option use gluten-free quick cooking rolled oats in place of the wheat germ, or simply leave the wheat germ out!

Ingredients

Directions

1

ABOUT THE RECIPE:

This tempting, hearty entrée is especially well-suited to wintertime, and the festive presentation will grace the table at any holiday celebration. Choose the color of peppers accordingly: orange and yellow for Thanksgiving, red and green for Christmas or Kwanzaa, and red for Valentine’s Day. One heads-up: It’s best to make the quinoa a day in advance to allow it to firm up, so plan ahead.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 cups vegetable broth
4 very large sweet bell peppers, any color or a combination of colors (see note for smaller servings, for 6 people)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1 jar (about 25 ounces) marinara sauce, divided
1 can (about 15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
6 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, cut into large dice
1 sweet onion, cut into large dice
1⁄4 cup toasted wheat germ, plus more as needed (optional, see note for gluten-free option)
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil

3

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft but not mushy. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

4

When ready to assemble the stuffed peppers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice off the top 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches of each pepper and set aside (these tops will be used to “cap” the peppers later). Seed the peppers.

Stir the optional oil into 1⁄2 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a deep casserole large enough to hold all the peppers snugly so they remain upright during baking.

5

Set aside 1⁄4 cup of the marinara sauce. Mix the quinoa with the beans, mushrooms, onion, optional wheat germ, garlic, basil, and half of the remaining marinara sauce. Stir until well combined, adding more marinara sauce, a couple of tablespoonfuls at a time, until the mixture is moist but not soupy.

Spoon one-quarter of the mixture into each pepper, mounding it if need be. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved marinara sauce over the quinoa stuffing in each pepper, then top with the pepper tops. (The stuffing will peek out between the pepper tops and bottoms.) Carefully position the peppers in the casserole so they will remain upright while baking.

6

Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the peppers are slightly tender but not mushy. Let the peppers cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

7

NOTE: For smaller servings, use 6 small bell peppers, instead of 4 large.

NOTE: For a gluten-free option use gluten-free quick cooking rolled oats in place of the wheat germ, or simply leave the wheat germ out!

Fancy Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans
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