Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spicy Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I love me some stuffed peppers!  I ate these many times growing up and have thought about them over the years, but it never really went beyond simply thinking about them.  They were naturally meat filled (beef), so I couldn't get over thinking about using a soy substitute, but that didn't really sound all that appetizing to me.  I love beans (hubbs loves beans) and I love love quinoa (hubbs tolerates it but says it's too vegan - insert roll of eyes), so I thought about doing a black bean, quinoa stuffed pepper.  To keep it from being bland, I added some ground chipotle pepper powder and some other tasty peppers and they turned out amazingly!  So yummy and the pepper texture was just as I remembered it as a kid - firm enough to hold up, yet soft enough to be cut with a fork. 

They were really great and pretty quick, since I have been in the habit lately of cooking beans in large batches and freezing them in bags or plastic containers, then thawing them as I need them. I usually put 1-2 cups of cooked, drained beans in plastic bags, label them and freeze them flat.  Sometimes I will reserve the cooking liquid and place some beans in plastic deli containers, label and freeze them as well.  I use these for cooking Dominican beans.  Using the cooking liquid is the secret to having a thick sauce with the beans, and it gives them a lot of flavor as well.  Not to mention when the hubbs gets hungry and wants beans, all I have to do is thaw out the beans, add my seasoning, simmer and we have dinner in the amount of time it takes for the rice to cook.  Easy and delish!


The uncooked peppers stuffed with the quinoa/bean mix

Serves: 4-5

4 assorted color peppers, top removed and all insides taken out
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked black  beans
3 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons boullion powder
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 small red onion, small diced, about 1/2 cup
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pepper tops, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and small diced
Fire roasted tomatoes with chipotles, to top peppers

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place an 8" square baking pan on the stove and fill with 1/2" water.  Set aside until ready to  use.
2.  In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Add the shredded carrots, onion, garlic cloves, tops of peppers and jalapeno pepper.  Saute, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
3.  In  the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black  beans, the chipotles in adobo sauce, the spices (onion and garlic powder, black and cayenne peppers and boullion powder).  Add the cooked veggies and stir the mixture to coat. 
4.  Taste - it should taste a bit on the over-spicy side, but that's ok - it will mellow as it cooks.
5.  Fill the peppers with the stuffing, pressing down firmly to ensure the filling will not come out as it cooks.  Place the stuffed peppers into the prepared baking pan.  If the peppers have a tendency to tip over, prop them up with the other peppers.
6.  Cover the peppers with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. 
7.  After the 35 minutes, remove the foil and top each pepper with a couple tablespoons of the fire roasted chipotle tomatoes. 
8.  Return the peppers to the oven without the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
9.  Allow the peppers to cool for at least 10 minutes, then serve. 

Topped with fire roasted tomatoes

Dinner - stuffed pepper and a simple mixed green salad



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