Raise your hand if you spent two years pinning recipes for Quin-oh-ah!!
Yeah. Me too.
It wasn’t until I took a nutrition class in college (omg I’m so cool!) that I learned what this stuff actually was. My professor raved every week about this super food “keen-wa” and how good it was for you.
Eventually, I was like “ok I need to find this stuff.” I literally googled “keenwah” and couldn’t understand why everything related to this food had to do with quinoa- something I had obviously already known everything about thanks to Pinterest.
Welllll… turns out I was just an idiot. Story of my life.
But after being so incredibly dumb, I made it a point to actually get to know this little super grain.
Turns out, it actually is really good for you. It’s high in protein, fiber, and lots of other good minerals! And, when you get used to it, it actually tastes pretty good.
Now, as far as incorporating this stuff into foods-it’s a little tricky because the texture is a lot different that anything you’ve probably ever eaten… as an American, anyway.
In order to keep this less noticeable, I like to combine it with lots of other textures. Having lots of layers will help distract your feels, and you will learn to enjoy it.
For that reason, stuffed peppers are my favorite way to eat it. The ground meat and other veggies work really well with it, and encapsulating it in a pepper and drowning it in cheese will prevent anyone from knowing the quinoa is there until it’s too late!!!
The secret to a good pepper, in any recipe, is cooking it long enough to get super tender. So, halve them and throw them skin-up onto a baking sheet.
I let them bake for as long as it takes to make all the other parts- about 20 minutes.
Next, you want to get your quinoa going. It might not take as long to cook as your meat, but you can always set it aside. For that, I just boil it like pasta. Depending on the kind you get, it should take about 10-15 minutes.
While that’s going, start on your filling. Most recipes call for a lot of meat, but that’s just not necessary. Instead, I like to add lots of other veggies. My favorites are zucchini and onion, but really you can do whatever you like!
I start to brown the meat, and then add the veggies and let them cook until they’re really soft. Then add the sauce.
When the meat is cooked and veggies are tender; add the quinoa and mix it right in.
All that’s left to do now is stuff your peppers.
As I mentioned early, I halve my peppers because even with my love affair- I think a whole one is too much. Plus, I’ve got kids and they would never eat that much. By halving them, it’s just easier for serving.
Fill them as much as you can, making sure to get every nook and cranny.
Pile. On. The cheese. I feel like I do this with a lot of stuff because I just love cheese. I use mozzarella but again, you can use whatever you like. For the record, I have done cheddar and provolone, too, but mozz is by far the best.
You’re also going to notice that I bake them in a cast iron pan vs a baking sheet. When they get soft, the start to bend and twist and keeping them tight just helps keep everything in place. I swear by my cast iron, but any dish is fine.
Stuffed peppers are one of those things that can never really be “pretty” but if you knew how good these things are, you’re mouth would be watering right now.
So. Freaking. Good.
And the best part? They’re so freaking good for you!
Minus the cheese. That’s not really diet friendly. Ah who cares!
Recipe (serves 4)
2 large green peppers, halved
1 cup dry quinoa
1/2 ground sausage
1 small onion
1 small zucchinni
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 375
Place peppers skin side up onto an oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes
Cook quinoa according to package.
Place sausage into a pan, making sure to alleviate any large pieces
When it begins to brown, add finely chopped vegetable and cook until tender.
Add sauce and quinoa to meat and cook for another 2 minutes
Remove peppers from oven and transfer to a baking dish, keeping them tight
Fill with quinoa mixture and top with cheese
Bake for 20 minutes