When I was in college, I basically lived off of grilled cheese and cereal. Healthy, right? Whenever I would go home on a holiday break, my parents would ask me what I wanted to eat that weekend, because they knew I was very limited at school. My first answer was always: stuffed peppers. At the time, I wasn’t a vegetarian, and my dad’s stuffed peppers consisted of a delicious combination of ground beef, white rice, tomato sauce, and cheese. Something about that warm, hearty combination was so comforting to me. After I became a vegetarian, I still craved stuffed peppers. My dad generously swapped out the ground beef for black beans. After moving out and getting married, I continued to make these stuffed peppers, but I also swapped out the white rice for brown. This version uses quinoa instead, mostly because I like to keep a container of cooked quinoa in my fridge (to add to salads) and it needed to be used. I found the flavor to be very consistent with a classic stuffed pepper. Totally satisfied my craving. This recipe is so simple and also very customizable. Switch up the type of cheese, the type of grain, the protein (my dad has also made these with ground turkey), and somehow it still manages to be a winner. This is probably one of my husband’s favorite and most requested dinners—and it makes great leftovers for lunch the next day.
Active Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
Serves 4 (2 halves each)
4 bell peppers
1.5 cups cooked quinoa (or brown rice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 jar tomato sauce (or use homemade)
Optional: additional salt and pepper, to taste; cheese (American, cheddar, provolone, mozzarella)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce in a 13×9 inch baking pan. Slice bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and stems. Place cut side up in prepared baking pan. Spoon a tablespoon of tomato sauce into each pepper half.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cooked quinoa, black beans, egg, worcestershire, salt & pepper. Fill each pepper with about ¼-1/3 cup of filling (exact amount will depend on size of peppers). Top with the rest of the tomato sauce.
Bake, covered, in preheated oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, uncover and add cheese, if desired. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve with a green side salad for a quick and balanced meal.
Nutrition Information per serving (without cheese)
Calories: 315 Fat: 4g Carbs: 47g Protein: 16g Sodium: 487mg Sugar: 13g
*Nutrition information is based on the products I used personally in this recipe. Different products may yield slightly different information.