Colored peppers make me smile. Bright colors, shiny skin, green hat…. then after I kill it ;-) they are juicy, crisp and flavorful. Great raw, sauteed, broiled, roasted, just get them in the mouth! My grocery store sends me coupons and recipes that require the ingredients for which they sent me coupons. Clever, right? Of course I don’t eat 50% of what they list as ingredients, but hey – 50% positive match is a start! In this case the grocery store missive brought a recipe for Orzo stuffed peppers. Sounds good, now how to adapt for my GF hubby, my picky son, and my preference to be meatless most of the time…..
Enter some old standbys and an inspiration from our good friend Annie at ‘anunrefinedvegan.com‘ She cleverly used pulsed chickpeas to add some texture and protein to spaghetti sauce. I took that idea and added walnuts, quinoa and spices to make a mixture for pepper stuffing with an aim at a sausage-y kind of flavor.
You could easily change the flavor profile in this by switching out some spices, just give whatever you try a taste before stuffing, make changes and voila you are now the recipe creator :-)
Peppers Stuffed with Yum
1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
3 large bell peppers, topped and seeded to be like cups
1/2 c cooked chickpeas (rinsed if you used canned)
1/2 c walnuts
Oil for saute (I used avocado)
1/2 c chopped onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sage
3/4tsp. smoked paprika
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp dried parsley-2 of fresh
Diced tomatoes – I used canned fire roasted
Pre-heat oven to 350
Cook quinoa in vegetable broth
Place chickpeas and walnuts in bowl of food processor and pulse until mixture is broken down but not much – leave some texture
Saute onions and garlic in pan large enough to accommodate all ingredients until translucent
Add spices and cook for another minutes or so, stirring
Add chickpeas and walnuts to heat
Add a little water if it seems too dry
Turn off heat and add parsley and cooked quinoa
Grease a pan that will enable your peppers to stand upright (I used coconut oil)
Spoon mixture into peppers until almost full
Serve with vegan parmesan (my preference)
or plain – both my boys liked it just fine plain.
This was a 100% hit. I wish I’d made more than one apiece! Next time this is a recipe doubler or tripler for sure. And again – you could switch out the spices for oregano, basil & thyme…. or chili powder, cumin and cayenne…. whatever works for your tribe!
I was left with lots of extra quinoa because I always make extra grains. We shall see if Little Sis offers some ideas that include quinoa in the weekly meal plan (which I selfishly steal on a regular basis). If not, it is so easy to throw together some quinoa, some veggies and a favorite sauce for an easy weeknight meal.
Eat well. Be well. And if you want some help on the journey to healthful eating, check out Baby Steps to Better Health.