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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Home Cookin': Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 12:59 PM

click to enlarge quinoa_peppers.jpg
There's no rhyme or reason to what my children enjoy eating and what they flat out reject. The perennial kid favorite, grilled cheese, grosses out my almost-7-year-old, Mira, but she devours apple slices like they're candy. Blueberries — the most innocuous berry out there in my opinion — send my 4-year-old, Theo, running for the hills, but he's a fan of eggplant parmigiana and pickles. 

My husband, Jeff, and I have been on a healthy food kick recently, trying to cut out sugar and complex carbs Monday through Friday. One night last week, I decided to make quinoa-stuffed peppers for us all. I was pretty sure my kids would hate them.

But wouldn't you know, they gobbled them up with glee. Mira declared she'd like them every night. Theo was especially tickled by the edible pepper bowls.

Some other virtues of the dish: It's quick and easy to prepare and it's totally versatile. You can add whatever combination of veggies, herbs and protein you like to the quinoa. 

This dish is definitely going into our weeknight dinner rotation. What are some healthy and kid-pleasing meals you prepare at home?

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers (Serves two adults and two children)

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa (This will yield a lot of quinoa but I like to have leftovers for lunch the next day)
2 large red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise with seeds removed
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the kids' peppers:
1/2 cup of shredded cheese (my kids like Cabot Monterey Jack)
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

For the adults' peppers:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
handful of baby spinach
1 tomato, chopped into small pieces

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Divide quinoa into two bowls, reserving a larger amount for the adults.

Mix the black beans and grated cheese into the bowl of quinoa reserved for the kids.

Heat the olive oil in the pan and sauté the garlic, onion, mushroom, spinach and tomato, adding the ingredients in that order to avoid overcooking. Add salt and pepper to taste. When all the veggies are soft, add the larger portion of quinoa to the pan and stir the ingredients together.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the four pepper halves liberally with olive oil. Fill two halves with the kids' quinoa mixture and two halves with the adults' mixture. (You will have quinoa left over. Serve it on the side or save it for another meal.)

Bake the stuffed peppers for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crunchy or soft you like them. Five minutes before they're done, sprinkle a little cheese on top of each pepper.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Dig in!

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