Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
With the new year, I’ve been doing a really good job at menu planning again. I make out a list every week with the week’s meals, a grocery list, and a list of the recipes I need to make for work. It works out really well on most nights. There’s always those days though that I just can’t seem to get it together. I either forget to take out something to thaw, or I forget till it’s too late to put dinner in the crockpot.
For those crazy bust days, I like to keep some great pantry items on hand that will pair well with the weekly fresh produce I buy. This week I had bought a ton of colorful bell peppers. I’ve been buying them all month because they’re in season here in Florida and super cheap. I’ve been making lots of pepper stir fry, sweet and sour pork, sausage and peppers and ton of salads. But tonight I decided to pull out one of my pantry emergency items, some delicious tricolor quinoa, because I forgot to take out anything to thaw earlier today.
Quinoa is a great ingredient that’s full of protein that’s perfect for meatless meals like these stuffed bell peppers. To start this dish, I salute some fresh vegetables until they’re tender and then add a cup of quinoa. Then I add some water and simmer the quinoa until it’s almost done. Next I transfer the quinoa to the bell peppers and finish cooking them in the oven. The bell peppers become tender crisp, yet still retain their freshness.
It’s so easy to eat fresh, local fruits and vegetables here in Florida because our growing season is all year long. The mild temperatures here in Florida allows for us to have have fresh fruits and vegetables all year. Eating these fresh, seasonal items means foods are fresher and tastier, and the nutritional value is optimized. It encourages a diverse diet that is more economical and harmonizes with nature’s production cycle. For the freshest foods, make sure to look for the Fresh From Florida logo. This way you’ll be sure that the produce is local and fresh. You can find this logo in the produce department, the seafood department and in your favorite local Florida restaurants.
So what’s in season right now? Lots of stuff! In January we have fresh:
- Bell peppers
- Passion fruit
- Snap beans
- Sweet corn
For this recipe I used fresh Florida bell peppers, Florida celery and Florida mushrooms. I found some beautiful Florida Bell Peppers at an amazing price today at the grocery store. I just couldn’t pass them up. After I got home I used some trip color quinoa along with other fresh veggies to make these amazing stuffed bell peppers. My whole family loved this recipe, and I loved how fast and easy it was.
Be sure to check out the Fresh from Florida site get great recipes updated with the seasons. Don’y forget to also follow Fresh from Florida on Twitter and connect with Fresh from Florida on Facebook too!
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 4 Florida bell peppers (red, orange, yellow and green)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
- 2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup tricolor quinoa
- 2 cups water
Heat oven to 350°. Halve each bell pepper and remove seeds. Place in a large baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil and add onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms and spinach. Add salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are tender and translucent.
Add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 6 - 8 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed, and quinoa is almost done.
Divide quinoa evenly among bell pepper halves. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the casserole dish. Place in oven and bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and bell peppers are tender crisp. (Quinoa on top of the peppers will cook slightly crispy.)