QUINOA AND BLACK BEAN STUFFED PEPPERS  

Photo by Lori Gardner

Photo by Lori Gardner

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa (rinsed if directed on package)
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 fifteen-ounce can no-salt-added black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 eight-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (may substitute regular paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Heat the olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until the vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water, and the salt. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the peppers. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, trim the stems, and scoop out all seeds and membranes. Arrange the peppers cut side-up on the baking sheet, and mist the peppers liberally with oil spray. Bake for 15 minutes to soften the peppers. Remove from oven.Photo by Lori Gardner

Add the black beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano to the quinoa, and mix thoroughly. Stir in the cilantro, if using. Divide the quinoa mixture evenly between the six pepper halves and pat the filling down to pack it into the pepper cups. Bake the stuffed peppers for 25 minutes. Top the peppers with the cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking if desired.