Eat Well Sep. 13. 2013
Entreés

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers

Sep. 13. 2013
Entreés
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder

Clever portion control with carbohydrates.

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers are not only a perfect portable lunch or dinner, but are also great for leftovers. These are a perfect recipe to make or even double for several people on your Batch Cooking day, to help save time spent in the kitchen throughout your busy week. This is also a fantastic way for you to get the little ones or picky eaters alike to eat their vegetables (yey for vegetables!). The texture of the fluffy quinoa filling with the soft roasted red pepper is perfection in a perfect package, not to mention a clever way to use portion control with carbohydrates!

The star of the show here is quinoa (KEEN-WAH). I use quinoa in many recipes of mine and what a perfect way to introduce it to Nutrition Stripped with one of my favorite recipes using quinoa, stuffed red peppers! Classic stuffed red peppers have ground beef sauteed with peppers, onion, spices, and occasionally topped with cheese. I’m putting a spin on this classic recipe and making it vegetarian-friendly with a kick of Moroccan spices, but also giving meat eaters alike the flexibility to add in what they choose- great for everyone in the family.

What I love about quinoa is the versatility of how you can prepare, present, flavor, and eat it! Savory dishes, sweet dishes, in stir-fries, as a simple side dish, as cereal, in a dessert, trail mix, granola, the skies the limit. Of course, the nutrition profile of quinoa isn’t too shabby either. Quinoa is considered a gluten-free psuedo-grain meaning it’s technically a seed used as a grain. Quinoa is lumped into the category of grains because it can be used as a grain and turned into a flour. Although most grains lack the essential amino acids lysine and isoluecine, whereas quinoa contains significant amounts of all essential amino acids (a.k.a. a complete protein!) hence it’s higher protein content than other grains.

>>>Fun fact // Red bell peppers contain more than double the amount of vitamin C than oranges per 100g! Most of us when we think of rich sources of vitamin C we think of citrus, now you know more facts- red bell peppers win. Not only are red bell peppers high in vitamin c, they marry perfect with the quinoa in this dish. Why? Quinoa contains a good amount of non-heme iron (a.k.a. iron from a plant), which needs all the help it can get to be absorbed best in our bodies. Guess what helps iron be absorbed in our bodies? VITAMIN C!

Nutrient breakdown of QUINOA | *1 cup cooked (about 185g), full nutrition of Alter Eco quinoa here

  • Protein } 8g
    • essential amino acids
  • Complex Carbohydrates } 35-40g
  • Fiber } 5g
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B1, B6, folate
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Calcium } ounce for ounce quinoa is DOUBLE the amount of calcium than whole wheat.
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Phosphorus
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients

As with all my recipes, if you want to add something in the filling, go for it! Some examples of additions to mix in with the quinoa filling could be chicken, tempeh, tofu, beans, lentils, grass-fed beef, shrimp, etc.; whatever your stomach desires. I kept it pretty basic here for you all to use as a guideline or base to build upon or of course, keep it as is for vegetarians!

 

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers
Cuisine: entree
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
A stuffed roasted red pepper with quinoa, vegetables, and other additional ingredients. A gluten free, vegetarian take on stuffed peppers.
Ingredients
  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (this will reduce greatly)
  • 1 cup quinoa, soaked for at least 20 minutes before cooking and rinsed well
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic corn (optional if allergic)
  • 1/4 cup goji berries or golden raisins
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (add more for more heat)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. QUINOA//
  2. Optional to soak & sprout quinoa or simply rinse thoroughly until water is clear.
  3. Bring liquid to a boil and add quinoa, cook for 20 minutes.
  4. FILLING//
  5. Sautee remaining vegetables except spinach (and meat if including) in a large saucepan with coconut oil and spices until softened.
  6. Add filling mixture to a Vitamix or food processor to lightly pulse the filling until the chunks of vegetables are uniform and small.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa and raw spinach to the filling mixture and stir until combined. The spinach will wilt easily from the heat.
  8. Add goji berries.
  9. RED PEPPER ASSEMBLY//
  10. After rinsing, cut the top off the red pepper very close to the top (1/2 inch)- just enough so you don’t waste much of the red pepper on the discarded top.
  11. Remove the seeds and inside “ribs”- the white linings of the pepper.
  12. You may also need to cut the bottom slightly to ensure the pepper can stand on it’s own and balance- CAREFUL be sure not to cut a hole in the bottom.
  13. STUFFING//
  14. Now that you have the red peppers and quinoa filling prepped, simply spoon in the quinoa filling mixture into each red pepper- you can get about 1 cup or more in each pepper depending on how large the red peppers are.
  15. Stand the bell peppers upright in an edged square dish, cover with foil.
  16. Bake at 350 degree F for 35 minutes with foil covering the dish, remove foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until top is crispy.
  17. Enjoy!
Serving size: 1 pepper Calories: 330 Fat: 9 Carbohydrates: 54 (net 46) Sugar: 12 Fiber: 8 Protein: 11
Notes
Nutrition Information includes what is indicated on the recipe. [br]Increase protein// add protein to the filling[br]Decrease fat// use cooking spray instead of coconut oil[br]Decrease carbohydrates// decrease quinoa and add more vegetables to “bulk” up the filling[br]Decrease sugar// omit goji berries or use less

Alter Eco has been a familiar brand to me through their chocolate bar products, but I’ve never used their Royal Black Quinoa, until this recipe- and let me just say, it’s amazing! Black quinoa has a denser more “crunchy” texture than white/red quinoa, which holds up very nicely after cooking it twice (in the oven) after stuffing the peppers. Read more about their processing and harvesting of this delicious quinoa grain here and be sure to check out their other amazing products!

Disclaimer// Alter Eco was kind enough to send me this black quinoa to try out, thank you Alter Eco. You can check out more of their lovely products (like their chocolate, which I adore!), here. I was not compensated to write a recipe for Alter Eco, they simply supplied me with the goods.

 

I know I have many favorite quinoa recipes, but what’s your favorite quinoa recipe? Share below, I love to hear what you have to say! C’mon now, don’t be shy 😉

xo McKel

The Recipe

Serves 4

Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (this will reduce greatly)
  • 1 cup quinoa, soaked for at least 20 minutes before cooking and rinsed well
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic corn (optional if allergic)
  • 1/4 cup goji berries or golden raisins
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (add more for more heat)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. QUINOA//
  2. Optional to soak & sprout quinoa or simply rinse thoroughly until water is clear.
  3. Bring liquid to a boil and add quinoa, cook for 20 minutes.
  4. FILLING//
  5. Sautee remaining vegetables except spinach (and meat if including) in a large saucepan with coconut oil and spices until softened.
  6. Add filling mixture to a Vitamix or food processor to lightly pulse the filling until the chunks of vegetables are uniform and small.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa and raw spinach to the filling mixture and stir until combined. The spinach will wilt easily from the heat.
  8. Add goji berries.
  9. RED PEPPER ASSEMBLY//
  10. After rinsing, cut the top off the red pepper very close to the top (1/2 inch)- just enough so you don’t waste much of the red pepper on the discarded top.
  11. Remove the seeds and inside “ribs”- the white linings of the pepper.
  12. You may also need to cut the bottom slightly to ensure the pepper can stand on it’s own and balance- CAREFUL be sure not to cut a hole in the bottom.
  13. STUFFING//
  14. Now that you have the red peppers and quinoa filling prepped, simply spoon in the quinoa filling mixture into each red pepper- you can get about 1 cup or more in each pepper depending on how large the red peppers are.
  15. Stand the bell peppers upright in an edged square dish, cover with foil.
  16. Bake at 350 degree F for 35 minutes with foil covering the dish, remove foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until top is crispy.
  17. Enjoy!

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