Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

2016 is still going to be my year.  I keep saying it event hough I have been sick for all of it so far!  I'm on a new antibiotic starting today so hopefully I will be able to swallow without wincing soon.  And more importantly (or is it?), I will have the energy to make myself a good meal after work!

With last weekend being a long weekend, I did manage to force myself off the couch (out from under my heated blanket) and into the kitchen for a few new great recipes coming your way.  I'll start off with these delicious stuffed peppers.  Jesse mentioned that stuffed peppers are among his favorite meal, and I was pretty surprised when I saw no stuffed peppers on my blog yet.  I'm 90% sure I made some before, but I think it was before my blog started, and I don't recall them being earth shatteringly great or terrible, so even though I remember where the recipe came from, I decided to start fresh.  I came across this lovely little idea: stuffing the peppers with a healthy, protein-filled mixture of quinoa, onion, black beans, diced sweet potato, tomato, and lots of fresh cilantro.  Toss a jalapeño in there if you are feeling wild, but there's already lots of flavor going on.  I did add some crushed red chili flakes, which made it super spicy if you ask me, but since Jesse doused his peppers in hot sauce, I guess he didn't think it was hot enough!

Besides the comments I was already bracing myself for, ("what is that stuff?  What's wrong with rice?"), this healthy vegetarian meal went over better than I had expected.  Jesse ate three entire peppers (2 halves each) over the course of the night (we decided he likes to have about 10 small meals in a day).  As always, they were compared to his mother's peppers, but were announced to be "different, but still very good!"  I will take that.  I was happy to have lots of the tasty filling left over (the recipe says it makes 3 stuffed peppers, but I manage to stuff 4 and still have extra filling, which was perfect for lunches!).  I just finished off the last of it, and even if it was spicy according to my tastes, I am kind of sad that it's gone.


black bean, sweet potato, and quinoa stuffed bell peppers
from Ambitious Kitchen
makes 4 stuffed peppers

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes if desired
salt and pepper
3 - 4 large bell peppers (I used red and green), seeds removed and cut vertically
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded colby jack cheese


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a saute pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.  Add onions, jalapeño, and garlic, and saute until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent, about 4 - 5 minutes.  Place into large bowl and set aside.

2) To cook quinoa, rinse with cold water in a mesh strainer.  In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil.  Add in quinoa and bring picture to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water.  Remove from heat and fluff with fork.  Place into bowl with vegetables.

3) While quinoa is cooking, place a medium pot over high heat and fill with water.  Bring to a boil and add in diced sweet potato.  Reduce heat to medium, cover, and continue to cook for about 6 minutes or until your potatoes are fork tender.  This might take more or less time depending on how small you cut your sweet potatoes.  Once tender, drain water and place potatoes in bowl with quinoa and onion mixture.  Gently stir in black beans, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 cup vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.

3) Arrange bell peppers in a large skillet or baking pan and stuff with a heaping 1/2 cup of quinoa mixture.  cover with foil and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until peppers are tender.  Uncover and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of cheese.  Place in oven for 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Remove and serve immediately with toppings such as sour cream, Greek yogurt, or hot sauce.

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