If you asked me a half a year ago what “quinoa” – pronounced, “KEEN-wah” was, I would have given you some smart-ass remark. Like, that’s some sort of weirdo grain and it tastes like crap. Today…well, welcome to my world of learning how to cook with quinoa. And I have to admit, it’s pretty darn tasty!
You can substitute quinoa for the rice in just about any dish, which is great since it has more than twice the amount of protein than rice and is easily digested. I could rave about this tiny ancient grain, but will refrain and save that for another time.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
• 6 large red bell peppers
• 1 pound ground sirloin
• 2 cup chopped onion
• 1 cup finely chopped carrot
• 2 clove garlic, finely minced
• 2 cup cooked quinoa*
• 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
• 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
• 2 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
• 1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage –optional
• 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary–optional
• 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme–optional
• 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
*Note: You can choose the color quinoa you like; for this dish, I used red quinoa. Follow the instructions on the package and start the recipe with cooked quinoa.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Slice the bell peppers in half vertically, and remove the pulp and seeds from the inside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the bell peppers. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove the peppers from the water, and set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the sirloin beef. Break up meat with the edge of a wooden spoon, and cook until it is no longer pink. Remove from skillet, and set aside.
4. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic to the same pan, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
5. Return the beef to the skillet, and add the cooked quinoa, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking for several minutes, until heated through.
6. Remove from the heat, and add the fresh herbs. (If you don’t have all the herbs noted above, at least shoot to have basil and Italian parsley)
7. Place the bell pepper halves on a baking dish, and fill each cavity with about 3/4 cup of the quinoa mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
8. If you have an oven with a broiler, at the end of the baking time sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the stuffed peppers, and broil for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. (You can do it in the oven too.)
You’re done – enjoy with a nice green salad!
Readers – are you a fan of quinoa? What are your favorite dishes?
we heart this review team member Pamela Irene, our kitchen guru, lives with husband David in Orange County, CA and works in the management office at the ‘happiest place on earth’ – South Coast Plaza. She can also mix a mean cocktail and is the owner of the largest bath & body collection we’ve ever seen.