Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Zucchini

I love stuffed peppers. As a kid this was always one of my favorite dinners that my parents used to make. The peppers were always so delicious, so filling, and I used to fight my sister to be able to eat the left over stuffing!

When my husband and I were first married, I started making my own version of stuffed peppers by using good old Rice-a-Roni as the base of my stuffing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Rice-a-Roni…a lot, but the “health conscious” side of me knows that there are healthier options out there that are just as delicious. I finally decided to experiment a bit with quinoa as an alternative, and though I used to always add some kind of ground beef or sausage, I decided to make a vegetarian version this time.

Let me tell you–these turned out so delicious there weren’t any leftovers!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Header 2.jpg

What You Need
3 cups cooked quinoa
6 to 8 red bell peppers, tops removed and diced, bell pepper cavities seeded
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 small to medium sized zucchini, diced
1 cup corn kernels
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can petite diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

The How To
Preheat your oven to 350º F.
1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions to yield three cups.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the bell peppers by chopping off the top, removing the stem, seeding the pepper cavity, and dicing the cap.
3. In a saute pan over medium high heat, heat the olive oil until hot. Saute the garlic until lightly browned. Add the onions, zucchini, and diced bell pepper caps. Cook until onions are semi-translucent and the other vegetables are slightly softened.
4. Salt and pepper to taste and add the chili powder as well.

Sauteed Vegetables for Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

5. Add the corn first, then the beans, the tomatoes, and finally, fold in the quinoa.

Quinoa and Bean Stuffing for Peppers

6. Stuff the bell peppers with the stuffing mixture. Place upright in a baking dish, and top generously with cheddar and feta cheeses. Note: you can add a quarter to a half inch of water in the bottom of your baking dish if you would like to help prevent sticking and to help “steam” your pepper to help it cook a bit more quickly, but it is completely optional. Don’t add too much–you don’t want your peppers to boil at the bottom and cook unevenly.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Topped with Feta

7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pepper is cooked and the cheese is brown and lovely on top.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Right Out of the OvenQuinoa Stuffed Peppers Close Up

They look delicious, right?! I promise you, they are. What are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Dinner Plate

I paired these delicious peppers with a simple salad: mixed greens with spinach, topped with fresh berries, more feta (because, yum!) and a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Dinner Plate 2

Note: I mostly just threw things together, but just before making the peppers I decided to google “quinoa stuffed peppers” to see what other people put in their stuffing and I stumbled across a recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Damn Delicious. I’ve mentioned this blog here in the past (because everything is so amazing!) and from the looks of it, the recipe was sure to be a winner. I got the idea for the corn and the feta from that blog, but I pretty generously adapted the recipe to fit my taste and what I had on hand. You can check out the original recipe here, if you are interested.

Also, you may find that the recipe makes more stuffing than will fill 6 or 8 peppers. It really depends on the size of the peppers and on the size of the other veggies you use. If you have extra stuffing, it keeps as leftovers very well and would also be delicious all on its own if you don’t want to buy more peppers.

I hope you all enjoy these when you make them! Let me know how they turn out for you!

Linking up with Linking up with Tuesday’s Table and Lou Lou Girls!

Quinoa Spinach Wraps

Something I loved about having my in-laws in town at the end of last year is that I got to enjoy two weeks of my mother-in-law’s yummy cooking. She is definitely more focused on healthy eating than I am, which makes this the perfect time to add some new recipes to my collection that not only taste great but are actually good for me too. I have my usual go-to favorites, but it’s always so nice to revamp the same old recipes every now and then to add some variety! She made these delicious quinoa spinach wraps for us for dinner while she was here, and was generous enough to allow me to share the recipe here with you all!

Quinoa Spinach Wraps Header

Look at these wraps. Oh my goodness. So good. I know you’re going to love them as much as we do.

What You Need:
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 15.5-ounce cans pinto or black beans, rinsed
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
16 average sized tortillas or wraps (if you want to get fancy, see my homemade tortilla recipe here)
12 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 3 cups)
salsa, sour cream, and sliced avocado, for serving

The How To:
1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Add the garlic and onion. Cook until the garlic is browned and the onions are softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the beans and broth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 2 to 4 minutes more. Fold in the spinach and the quinoa.

4. Layer the tortillas with the cheddar cheese, followed by the quinoa, spinach, and bean mixture, and top again with more cheddar.

5. Roll them up into burritos. Once they are rolled, heat a tiny bit of oil or nonstick spray over medium to medium high heat, and brown off all sides so the burritos become delicious and crispy.

6. You’re done! Serve them with salsa, sour cream, and avocado. Delicious!

Quinoa Spinach Wraps Close Up

Tip #1: Some tortillas or wraps roll up more easily when warmed. You can heat one at a time in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few seconds until pliable, or heat several at a time between two pieces of damp paper towels in the microwave on high for about 10 seconds.

Tip #2: You can use regular sized tortillas, or fajita sized if you want the recipe to go a little further. The serving size when using a regular sized tortilla would be one burrito, while the serving size when using the smaller tortillas would be two burritos.

Quinoa Spinach Wraps Plate

Something I absolutely love about this recipe is that you can wrap each little burrito individually in tinfoil (before making them crispy!) and then freeze them for quick and easy meals. My mother-in-law says she will just grab one or two out of the freezer when she needs a quick dinner, unwrap it from the tinfoil, and heat it in the microwave for a minute or two, just until the middle isn’t frozen anymore. You can eat it just like that, or heat it in a pan like you normally would for some extra crispiness. Quick, easy, delicious, filling, and pretty darn healthy. Um, yum.

Let me know if you try the recipe! I love to see and hear about how you make it yours. Happy eating!

Linking up with Tuesday’s Table and Lou Lou Girls!