Sometime last week I saw a recipe for stuffed peppers in a magazine at the Brewster Ladies’ Library. The vision of those gorgeous red peppers with melted cheese topping a vegetarian filling haunted me all week. I hadn’t been cooking lately, too much work, doctor and dentist appointments, and the reigning chaos of a house undergoing renovations. But I was undeterred this morning, before yet another appointment, to make the stuffing for these satisfying peppers. I purchased cubanelle peppers, rather than the red ones, as I find they are more easily digested, and besides, they were on sale!

There’s not much to making this dish vegan, remove the cheese and use a vegan substitute, or just top with toasted pepitas at the table.

Quinoa Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
1 10 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, or 2 C fresh
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 C grated carrots
3/4 C quinoa, rinsed
2 C water
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 t salt
1 1/2 C shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
4 red or cubanelle peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and stems removed

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion, celery and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and add the cumin. Saute another minute.

Add the spinach and tomatoes and saute until most of the liquid is boiled off.

Add carrots, quinoa, black beans, water, and salt. Cover, reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes, until quinoa is done. Stir in 1 C of the cheese (if you don’t want pepper jack, use regular jack or cheddar).

Oil a 9×13 baking dish, or any dish that will hold the peppers comfortably. I only had 3 cubanelles, and I had a lot of filling left over, such a shame. Kidding. Already considering eggs and quinoa for breakfast. Moving on – fill the peppers to overflowing, cover them with foil, and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove foil, top peppers with the remaining cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes.

I served this with a red cabbage-carrot slaw that Jim made, not sure of the measurements, or I would include that recipe as well. Almost any crispy salad accompaniment would do.

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