It has been a while due to my recent vacation to Florida and kicking off spring time in Michigan, which equates to a ton of time spent outside (yay!!). I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, but I have lots of fun posts coming your way this summer. Your guide to healthy grilling, the scoop on the healthiest oils and fats for cooking, and new ways to use beets are just some of the many things to come. Stay tuned 🙂
This recipe is a great meatless Monday or vegetarian option to have any day of the week. Stuffed peppers are one of my favorite, go-to weeknight dinners. I think it is potentially one of only a couple vegetarian recipes that doesn’t leave my boyfriend asking, “where is the protein?” at the end of the meal. Between the protein from the quinoa and black beans, the stuffing in these peppers leaves you feeling completely satiated. The fact that these are plant-based proteins is just the icing on the cake. Why is this important?
A plant-based diet, which emphasizes intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and limits intake of red or processed meat and refined sugars, is nutrient-dense and helps reduce inflammation in the body. Keeping inflammation at bay in the body means reduced risk of becoming overweight/obese and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While there is still a place for red meat, chicken, turkey, and pork in a healthy, balanced diet, plant-based proteins, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu deserve time in the spotlight as well.
Lastly, because this recipe uses vegetables and plant-based proteins as its foundation, you are receiving at least 1-2 servings of vegetables per serving, making you closer to the daily requirement of at least 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables. So enjoy this tasty recipe and be sure to add it to your rotating cycle of favorite weeknight dinners!
Quinoa and Vegetable-Stuffed Bell Peppers
Yield: 6 bell pepper halves
Serving: 1/2 bell pepper
Prep time: 15-20 minutes, Cook time: 25-30 minutes, Total time: 50 minutes
- 3 Bell peppers (color of your choice), cut length-wise and seeds/insides removed
- 1-15 oz can reduced sodium black beans
- 3/4 cup dry quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable stock
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups raw spinach, de-stemmed and rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with cooking spray. Wash bell peppers, slice in half length-wise, and remove the seeds and white insides. Place on the greased baking sheet and set aside.
- Slice, mince, and dice the tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Set aside.
- Combine quinoa and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked.
- While the quinoa is cooking, broil the bell pepper halves for 10 minutes. Set aside. Adjust oven temperature to 375° F.
- Next, add oil to a medium saute pan and bring to medium heat. Saute the garlic, onion, and tomatoes for about 5-7 minutes. Add basil (both fresh and dried), oregano, salt and pepper. Add black beans and spinach and turn to low once spinach starts to wilt (about 1-2 minutes).
- Once the quinoa is cooked, add the quinoa to the black bean, spinach mixture and stir until the quinoa is evenly distributed.
- Carefully scoop and fill each pepper half with the quinoa mixture. Roast the peppers for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the top of each pepper with the mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly brown.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil (optional) and serve immediately.