Friday, August 24, 2012

Quinoa & Zucchini Stuffed Bell Peppers

I absolutely adore stuffed bell peppers.  Something stuffed inside something else always feels so indulgent.  This dish is really, really healthy, though: loads of veggies, whole grain, and just a little bit of cheese.  You absolutely need to use a high quality cheese for this dish.  There isn't much cheese, so a variety with tons of flavor is a must.  I used Jarlsberg, a Swiss style cheese from Norway.  Gruyere or a nice aged gouda would be lovely as well.

Quinoa & Zucchini Stuffed Bell Peppers
2 lrg sweet bell peppers
3/4 C quinoa, cooked*
1 sm onion, diced
3 sm/med zucchini, diced
2 med cloves garlic, minced
5-6 lrg basil leaves, chiffonade
1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp herbs de Provence
zest 1/2 lrg lemon
juice lemon (~1 1/2 Tbsp)
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
~1/2 C shredded Jarlsberg (or Gruyere, Gouda, Emmentaler...)
salt, pepper, oil

   In a little oil over medium heat, saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and garlic, saute for another 2 minutes.
   Mix into cooked quinoa with herbs and lemon zest.  Salt and pepper to taste.
   Cut peppers in half from top to bottom.  Clean out ribs and seeds.  Fill with quinoa mixture.  Place in baking dish.
   Combine tomato sauce and lemon juice.  Pour over filled peppers.  Top with cheese.  Cover.
   Bake at 350 deg F for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is slightly browned.
   Serves 2-4.  (2 as a main dish, 4 as a side)

*To cook quinoa:
   2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa, like rice.  Bring liquid to a boil.  Add a little salt and quinoa.  Bring back to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low.  Cook ~20 minutes, until you can clearly see the germ layer ring around each grain.
   If you can't find quinoa or just don't like it (I think you are crazy, but whatever...), you can substitute brown rice.

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