Apr 3, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Happy spring everybody! I've officially started spring quarter and Santa Cruz is just lovely this week. Before I left for spring break it was rainy, windy, and grey. But this week has been absolutely perfect! Just the right amount of sun, a light breeze.... *sigh* And most importantly, that makes it dress season! I love wearing summer dresses, and I finally have the chance to wear them every. single. day.
I've also started my last three classes of junior year. It's weird to think that I'll be a senior next year! This quarter I'm taking a history class and two lit classes. The history class is definitely my favorite; it's called "The Italian Renaissance" sooooo....it's awesome. The lit classes are alright, so far I'm not super excited about the topics, but it is only the first week.
The other exciting thing about this quarter is that I can finally start looking for a place to live next year! Aileen and I have been talking about moving for so long and it's great to be able to go look at houses and picture ourselves living there. We started planning for next year in January. That's how much we want out of these dorms. When we get especially frustrated with the dining hall or our neighbors or the general atmosphere of the dorm, we sit around our room looking at for-rent listings and Ikea catalogs. I know, it's kind of sad. But it's the little glimmer of hope that lets us stay in the dorms without feeling too claustrophobic and generally annoyed.
So that's what my spring is going to look like. I'm very excited!
And now, onto the food! Since last time I gave you a (delicously, sinfully, fabulously) unhealthy cake, this time I'm going to give you all a healthy dinner recipe. I actually didn't think I would like this recipe very much; I don't really like vegetables at all, so a vegetarian meal makes me suspicious. But, I was very happy with this dinner. It was satisfying and light at the same time. Also, it was super delicious. I even ate the spinach!

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Adapted from La Kocinera
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 red onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
7 bell peppers, 1 cored/chopped/seeded, the other six hollowed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 lb baby spinach
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

heat the oil in a skillet then add the onions and garlic. Let cook until soft, then add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until they start to become soft. Then add the carrots and chopped peppers. Let cook a few minutes, then add parsley and baby spinach. Let the veggies cook until the spinach is wilted. I like to cook spinach by gently tossing it with a wooden spoon until it starts to wilt. Otherwise the bottom leaves will wilt fast, while the leaves on top don't cook at all. After spinach is wilted, add the cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and cooked quinoa. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside to let cool.
While the veggies are cooling, prep the other 6 peppers. First core the peppers. The best way to do this is to make a horizontal slice around the top of the pepper, keeping the core intact. Then simply pull the top off and use your fingers to scrape out any leftover seeds. Cut off the core from the top of the bell pepper and save the tops.
Grease a baking dish and set the hollow bell peppers inside. Fill each bell pepper evenly with the quinoa-veggie mixture. Place the bell pepper tops on top, cover with foil and place in 350F oven for 1 hour.

Even if you don't like veggies, I think you would like this dish. One thing that I'm going to try next time is cutting the mushrooms up even smaller. I find that the texture of the mushrooms weird, so if I cut them up small I can enjoy their flavor without the texture. I will probably also add things like zucchini as well! yum!


  1. I love stuffed bell peppers. Here's my variation:http://bit.ly/hi7ggC

  2. That looks great! Perhaps I'll try adding meat next time. Maybe if I add ground beef I can get my strictly meat-atarian boyfriend to try it!