As a newlywed, I have been attempting to cook more often for my husband. I try to create unique, healthy and flavorful dishes and it’s been quite the adventure. There have definitely been more valleys than peaks, burnt suppers and tears. I was becoming very frustrated and thought about giving up.
There for a while, it looked like there would be a lot of take-out nights in our future but I was determined to succeed. I started looking into different kinds of food that offered health benefits, as well as tasted delicious. After some research, I discovered quinoa.
Quinoa, pronouned KEEN-wah, is a seed that is actually related to the spinach family. It has been described as light, fluffy and some what crunchy. It cooks much like a grain and is full of protein, magnesium and fiber. It is also gluten-free and is easily digested. Eating quinoa has also been documented to improve your health. Studies have shown that quinoa lowers the risk of diabetes and certain forms of cancer. No wonder it has been described as a super food.
After reading nothing but great things about quinoa, I decided to cook a meal using this key ingredient. My husband and I both love stuffed peppers, so when I came across a recipe that included both peppers and quinoa, it was like hitting the healthy cuisine jackpot. This recipe was great and fairly simple. It also took only about an hour to cook, including prep time. I omitted celery and the jalapeno and it still turned out delicious.
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed, drained
3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup Trader Joes Pepper Jack cheese
4 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and ribs removed
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, celery and jalapeno for about 5 minutes, until soft, then add cumin and garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in drained tomatoes (reserving liquid) and cook for 5 minutes until most of the liquid left in the chopped tomatoes has evaporated.
Stir in black beans, uncooked quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Stir in shredded Pepper Jack cheese and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
While the quinoa is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour reserved liquid from tomatoes in the bottom of your baking dish.
Fill each bell pepper with 3/4 cup quinoa mixture and place in baking dish cut up. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Transfer stuffed bell peppers onto serving plate and drizzle pan juices over top. Enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny, Good Life Eats and Vegetarian Time.