Right now, I’m all about the Vegetarian Main Dish. I’m just not feeling all the meat lately, you know? Luckily, the kids are humoring me. I mean they really don’t have much of a choice because I’m the one doing all the grocery shopping, but no one has voiced any loud objections yet so I think we’re good.
In fact, I don’t think I’ll be hearing any complaints as long as I keep serving up these Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. The kids love them and so do I.
Living in the Southwest, my kids are growing up with a predilection for all things spicy and topped with cheese, cilantro, and guacamole. I grew up here too, so I’m on the same page.
These Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers were inspired by the beautiful, colorful culture we enjoy here everyday. Take a walk with me through Old Town so you can see for yourself:
(Like so many evenings in Old Town, a band was setting up to play on the plaza. Unfortunately, on this particular evening the thunder started rolling so the kids and I hightailed it to the car before we had much time to enjoy the music. Don’t worry, we’ll be back.)
Even without any meat, these make a really hearty and flavorful meal. They pull together quickly, which is a must after a long day out, and they freeze easily so you can even plan ahead and save yourself some time. I make these mildly spicy, because we like a little kick, but you can always adjust the amount of jalapeno you add and spice it to your own tastes.
These stuffed peppers are hearty, healthy, and packed with all the New Mexican flair I could manage. Enjoy a little taste of Albuquerque in your corner of the world for dinner too!
- ¾ cup quinoa
- 1½ cups grated carrot
- 1¾ cups water
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small jalapeno or serrano pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1½ cups grated cheese, divided (pepper jack, colby jack, or a mexican blend work well)
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 4 large bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
- ½ cup queso fresco, for serving
- guacamole, sour cream for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a large baking dish.
- Stir the quinoa, carrots, and water together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and liquid is gone. Stir in the drained black beans and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic and saute until tender, about five minutes. Stir in spices and saute for an additional minute.
- Add the tomatoes and lime juice to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
- Add the quinoa and beans to the onion mixture. Stir in ¾ cup of grated cheese and cilantro.Fill each bell pepper half with a heaping ½ cup quinoa mixture.
- Place the stuffed peppers in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes more, or until cheese is browned and bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving. Top with guacamole, sour cream, fresh cilantro, and queso fresco.
Recipe adapted from Good Life Eats: http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2013/08/quinoa-stuffed-bell-peppers-2.html