Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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Have you tried quinoa yet? It's a grain-like crop that's more related to beets or spinach than rice or barley, although it has a barley-like look about it and is often used as rice substitutions in recipes. If you haven't tried it yet, the first thing you need to do is figure out how to pronounce it. It's Keen-wa. When I saw it the first time I immediately assumed it was Quin-oh-a. Good thing I didn't go to the grocery store asking what aisle the Quin-oh-a was in, right? :-)

Quinoa has become pretty popular in the blogging world recently. Everyone wants to try it out and see what its like. Of course I hopped on the bandwagon. Well, kinda. One particular week when the grocery cart was already pretty full, I slipped in a box of quinoa. I knew if Tom saw it he'd ask me why I was buying something else that would just join the 10 or so current boxes of different types of pasta in the pantry. Ironically, he would have been correct because that small teal box of Ancient Harvest Quinoa sat in the pantry for quite a long time. Every time I'd open the pantry door, there it would be, sitting on the shelf right at eye level taunting me. "You spent $6 on me. What are you afraid to cook with me?" 

Finally, a craving for stuffed peppers came around and while I was checking the pantry to see if we needed rice, the box of quinoa jumped out at me. I picked it up and looked at it for a few seconds before turning it over and realizing there was a recipe for stuffed peppers right on the back. Obviously this was a recipe meant to be.

Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Yield: 3-4 servings
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 4-5 green peppers
    • 2 cups quinoa
    • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • 8 oz. mushrooms
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
    • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
    • 2 tbs. Sriracha
    • 1 tsp. olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth and quinoa to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the quinoa is fluffy. You'll see the little rings on the quinoa look like they have popped.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain the grease and transfer the ground beef to a plate. Add the olive oil to the skillet and once hot, add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes or just until the mushrooms are slightly soft and the garlic is fragrant. Remove from the heat and add the corn and tomatoes.
4. Once the quinoa has cooked, add that to the skillet as well as the ground beef and Sriracha sauce. Stir to combine.
5. Slice off the tops of the green peppers and remove the insides. Place the peppers into the baking dish and spoon the mixture into the peppers. Add any remaining mixture around the peppers. Sprinkle the cheese over the peppers and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly golden.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this recipe since I just used most of the ingredients we had on hand but it ended up being pretty tasty! Some people like to steam the green peppers first so they're as soft as everything else, but since the rest of the ingredients are soft, I've always like a bit of crunch. The Sriracha sauce gave the peppers just the right amount of heat.

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