Friday, July 15, 2011

Spicy Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Okay - The recipe everyone has been waiting for. No, I didn't create it... I modified it, yes, but what cook doesn't?

We looooove peppers! I always have them in our refrigerator for quick salad prep, hummus dippin', sandwich toppings and every now and then, TO STUFF! :)

Word of advice: GO FOR COLOR when picking out peppers. Green one's aren't bad, and they're cheaper... but "if your eyes like what it sees, it's probably BETTER for them" (your eyes).

Peppers are amazing super foods ... I truly believe it is a very underrated and under appreciated veg. These things are LOADED with the quintessential: Vitamin A. True fact - only 1/4th of a pepper contains 40% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA)!  Most people (unless you're pregnant or nursing, the exception to most dietary rules) need about 1500μg of this mega-vitamin a day.

Vitamin A is most known for it's role in our vision and more recently for it's "anti-aging" abilities as an anti-oxidant and it's conversion to retinol.  Vitamin A is absolutely necessary for our vision. As the primary "food source" for our retina's vitamin A consumption can directly impact our night vision as well as our color vision. 

Yes - I love my eyes and I want them to stay healthy forever, but for vanity's sake I also want to look young and amazing forever too. Okay, well... forever is a touch unrealistic, but let's hope? :) I chow down on my veggies to keep my hair and SKIN looking amazing. Yup.... seriously. I'd probably make a facial mask out of pureed peppers if someone said it worked! HA! Vitamin A (and other anti-oxidants) help to keep your skin cells reproducing in tip-top shape! Also a little tid-bit I learned in my research, retinol helps reduce the size of sebaceous glands (your sweat glands-ew!) and eventually the production of sebum (the oil and dirt combo that clogs your pores and causes black heads and nasty pimples!).

Hmmmm.... maybe I'm on to something with the pepper mask?

Until then, let's just keep eating them. Give this recipe a try this weekend. It's awesome. My modifications and Calorie/Fat/Protein/Fiber count is at the end.

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a side
In a large saucepan, over medium-high, heat:
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
Add to hot oil and cook until soft (about 5 minutes):
  • 1  onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
When the onion and celery are soft, add:
  • 2 tbsp chili powder (or 1 tbsp chili and 1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
Saute for 1 minute. Then add:
  • 1 10-oz package of cooked spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove moisture
  • 1 28-oz tin diced tomatoes, drained
Cook for 5 minutes to remove a bit of the excess moisture. Stir in:
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups water
Cover and leave on medium-high heat until the ingredients come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa is done, about 20 minutes.
Stir in:
  • 1 cup grated cheese (a spicy jalapeno Jack or TexMex mix is good)
  • generous grind of freshly ground pepper
  • salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. While the oven heats, wash:
  • 4 large sweet peppers (any colour)
Cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the ribs and seeds. Fill each half with the hot quinoa mixture. Place stuffed peppers in a baking dish or roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 35 minutes* or until the peppers are beginning to get tender. You want them cooked but not falling apart.
Sprinkle each half pepper with:
  • 1 tbsp grated cheese (1/2 cup)
Bake uncovered for another 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and begins to bubble. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Doesn't it just make your mouth water reading it?! AHH! It's so good. 

- I didn't stir in the cheese (to keep the calories and fat down) but I did sprinkle some on top as directed. I didn't have chili powder - so I used a little red pepper. Next time I'll use more or make sure I've got some chili powder... I like a kick and I didn't quite have one the way I like.
- I also didn't have celery. I think the crunch would be awesome and I'll have it next time, but was still great w/o it.
- I also used fresh spinach vs. the frozen. I would say I used about 4-5 cups? I love spinach so I wasn't stingy.... just add some and when it wilts if you want more, add more. You can't have too much, right?! :)

Nutrition information from my calculations and using EVERYTHING this recipe calls for:
PER PEPPER w/o cheese: 458 Calories/11g Fat/ 20g Protein / 16.3g fiber <--- THAT'S an awesome dinner solution if you ask me!! And between all the fiber from the quinoa, carrots, spinach and peppers, you won't leave the table hungry.

With the cheese: 591 Calories/ 20g+ Fat/ 31.7g Protein/ 16.3g fiber.... Of course this differs based on what cheese you use and if you use EXACTLY what's called for. This calculation is based off of Kraft's 2% Mexican Cheese mix.


  1. I see that the consumption of peppers does nothing to promote humility in the eater...Dr. Quinn medicine hair and skin are aaaamazing...Hahahahaha...

  2. I see that the consumption of peppers does nothing to promote humility in the eater...Dr. Quinn medicine hair and skin are aaaamazing...Hahahahaha...

  3. anonymous, self confidence is what is amazing