I know we’re a couple days away from Christmas, and the fact that I’m posting a completely non-holiday themed recipe is blasphemous. I know. I’m sorry. But the reality is that people do need to eat food that isn’t covered in sugar and chocolate in order to button up their pants and live past 30. They’re green peppers with red pepper flakes and white cheese on top – so they’re at least holiday colors!
In the spirit of balancing out the tendency to over-indulge in sweet treats during the holidays, I wanted to share with you a healthier twist on a long-time family favorite. I usually make these with tomato sauce and rice, but I wanted to try something a little lighter and nicer on my waistline. These have just enough kick to excite your taste buds, but certainly not overpowering. If you prefer to sweat while you’re eating, add a bit more of each spice (and maybe a little chili powder, too). They are delicious with red peppers as well, but in this instance all I had around the house were green. I usually eat these by themselves, but they’re also great paired with some cornbread or a side salad.
Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup water
4 large green peppers
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 an onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 can black beans
1/2 can corn
1/2 can green chiles
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup reduced-fat Mozzarella, shredded
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) First, rinse quinoa in cold water in a colander. Now place quinoa and 1 cup water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3) Cut a hole in the top of each pepper and gut the insides. You want the hole to be large enough that you can comfortably fit a spoon inside to fill them later, but not so large that they’re fall apart. Use your best judgment – I have faith in you.
4) In a large pot, place peppers inside and fill with cold water just enough to cover the tops of the peppers. Bring to a boil over high heat – boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Use tongs to carefully remove peppers from pot and place in 8-inch glass square pan. Make sure all the water is drained out of the inside of the peppers!
5) In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
6) Add ground turkey and heat until no longer pink and slightly browned.
7) Add black beans, corn, green chiles and quinoa. Mix well. Now add crushed red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper and continue heating mixture for another 5 minutes.
8) Remove from heat and begin spooning mixture into peppers. Pack it in there as much as you can and don’t be afraid to over-stuff them a little. If some spills into the baking dish, don’t fret – you can try to spoon the runaways back into the peppers, but if they stay in the bottom of the dish the world won’t end. I promise.
|Now – wasn’t that fun?|
9) Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cover the tops of each pepper with shredded mozzarella. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, uncovered, until cheese is completely melted. If you want to brown the tops a little, just broil them for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbling a little. Serve with a little hot sauce if you want even more spice. Enjoy!