I went to the mall the other day. It felt awkward because I couldn’t shop; I was there to entertain my little ones. They wanted to jump and roll in the play area that they have at the mall.
Smart people those playpen-installers and marketers. They put that thing smack dab in the middle of the mall so that kids can throw tantrums because all they want to do now is play, making it all that more difficult for Moms to shop. We can’t even catch a break and buy a new Kate Spade Bag on a whim. Boooo! American Express is probably wondering where I’ve been.
Later that day, because I was dying for a taste of my Southwestern Quinoa Salad, I made a meal out of it by stuffing it into a few colorful bell peppers.
Stuffed Peppers is what I grew up on. They were on my mom’s weekly dinner menu. Stuffed with a delicious, mildly-spiced meat mixture, my Mom’s stuffed peppers are nothing short of awesome. However, and because my head starts to spin a month or two before bikini season, I like to enjoy a lightened up version, made with our favorite grain, quinoa!
Quinoa, on its own, is kinda, umm, bland. BUT, when you mix it up with a few spices, corn, grape tomatoes, cheese and black beans??? Quinoa goes from bland to GRAND! From tame to WILD! From flavorless to DISTINCTIVE!
Okay… I’ll stop.
Now the good news is that these stuffed peppers are some severe comfort food. And healthy! I mean, take away the cheese, if you want, and these babes are 400 calories per 1 whole stuffed pepper. That’s a whole lotta dinner. Trust me! One half of these is more than enough to fill me up, but if you want to go for seconds, don’t hesitate and go for it!
I think that’s the most I’ve ever talked about nutritional value, but, you know, just in case you’re also OHMYGODDING about the extra wings on your arms, I thought it would be nice to let you know that I know how you feel!
Southwestern Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed with a delicious and cheesy quinoa mixture, these peppers are flavorful and filling!
- butter, for baking dish
- 4 bell peppers, halved, lengthwise
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup quinoa
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup canned sweet corn, rinsed
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley (you can also use cilantro)
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups shredded 4-Cheese Mexican Blend, divided
- plain yogurt or light sour cream, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a baking dish with butter; arrange halved bell peppers in baking dish and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine vegetable broth and quinoa and bring to a boil; lower to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, gently fluff with a fork and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add diced onions and season with salt; cook for 1 minute, or until translucent.
Stir in sweet corn and beans; continue to cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Stir in grape tomatoes and cooked quinoa; season with chili powder, cayenne pepper, dried parsley, salt and pepper.
Add 1 cup cheese; mix well and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until everything is heated through and cheese is melted.
Remove from heat.
Divide mixture evenly between peppers, packing the quinoa mixture tightly into the hollow pepper shells.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and top each pepper with remaining cheese.
Put back in the oven and continue to bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or light sour cream.
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