Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekly Recipe #56: Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

The recipe this week uses quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) as the whole grain to help you achieve this week's challenge. Not only is this a ancient grain superstar, it also is a “complete protein,” a perfect addition to any vegetarian’s diet.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

(Serves 8)

1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 ribs celery, finely chopped (½ cup)
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
¾ cup quinoa
3 large carrots, grated (1 ½ cups)
2 cups water
1 ½ cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes or until soft. Add cumin and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Stir in spinach and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes or until most of liquid has evaporated.
2. Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrots and 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in 1 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.
4. Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture and place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tbsp. remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.

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