Friday, July 01, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I've been shopping at a newer store in the area, Sprouts. They have great produce prices and since we started shopping there I've been trying to make the most of it. One of my favorite items were the bright, colorful bell peppers. I've gotten them for as little as 50 cents, so why wouldn't I go in search for more recipes to use this great, healthy resource? Of course, the first thing I thought of was Stuffed Peppers, but I wasn't interested in the typical sausage/meat filling. I turned to Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers and found just what I was looking for. This recipe turned out.... pretty good. I actually ended up not enjoying the pepper part that much. The filling however, it was fabulous. I'm definitely going to make the filling again. It'd make for a great grain-salad dinner. I'm craving it now just thinking about it.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Recipe from Deborah Madison; Serves 4
Stuffed Peppers
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well several times
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of scallions, including 2 inches of the greens, thinly sliced into rounds
2 jalapeño chiles, finely diced, seeded if desired
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups, more or less, fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 3 ears corn)
1 bunch of spinach, leaves only, or 1/2 pound spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 pound feta cheese, cut into small cubes
2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 cup Riesling or other aromatic white wine
4 yellow and/or orange bell peppers

  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, then the quinoa. Give it a stir, then cover and simmer over low heat until the grains are tender and reveal their spiraled germ, about 15 minutes.
  • Warm half the oil in a wide skillet. Add the scallions and chiles, cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, corn and spinach, along with 2 tablespoons water. When the spinach is wilted, add the cilantro, quinoa and feta. Toss everything together, taste for salt, and season with pepper.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a wide skillet. When hot, add the onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until they start to brown around the edges, after several minutes. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, giving the onions a stir as you do so. Season with salt and pepper and distribute in a baking dish (or two) large enough to hold the peppers.
  • Slice the peppers in half lengthwise without removing the tops or stems, then cut out the membranes and seeds. Simmer them in salted water until tender to the touch of a knife but not overly soft, 4 to 5 minutes, and remove. Fill them with the quinoa mixture and set them in the baking dish(es).
  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. Drizzle the rest of the oil over the peppers and bake the peppers until heated through, 20 to 30 minutes, then switch the heat to broil and brown the tops. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
My notes: I skipped the whole onion/wine part. Maybe I would have enjoyed the peppers themselves if they had been cooked on top of a bed of glazey, winey, onions. But whatevs, I was making this on a weeknight and something had to go to make this a viable dinner option. And I halved this recipe so it made just enough for the two of us. I highly recommend giving it a shot, especially the filling. Mmmmmm.

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