By: Lillian Lin-Levitan a recent ASU Nutrition student
Stuffed bell peppers have always been a favorite of mine; however, they haven’t always been so popular with the kids. But that has recently changed! The trick was getting my 6-year involved in the preparation process – I’ve found he’s a much more enthusiastic eater when he’s worked to prepare the meal.
These bell peppers are filled with complete plant proteins – quinoa and black beans – and cheeses to make for a satisfying dish. I’ll share the recipe I use – but know it can be altered to your preference. Stuffed bell peppers are very forgiving and usually turn out great! I’ve also included tips for getting kids involved in the cooking process.
When selecting the bell peppers – I try to find ones that will stand up straight to best hold the filling.
What you’ll need
- 1 large white onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 limes – juiced
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 1 ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can hatch chilies (any sort of chili is good!)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 1 cup monetary jack cheese
- 6 bell peppers – assorted colors
Start by precooking the quinoa. Here, I let my son measure out 1 cup of dried quinoa and rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer under cool running water. While he’s doing that, I heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toast the quinoa for about 2 minutes, then add vegetable broth. Cook covered on low heat for about 15 minutes – then remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes – keep covered. Then fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Dice onion and mince garlic, sauté in remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Add lime juice, black beans (drained and rinsed), chilies, tomatoes, and spices. I like to let my son do the combining and stirring here!
- Cover and let cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Then add the quinoa and let cook another 5.
- Cut the top of the bell peppers off and scrape out the seeds.
- Layer the quinoa and bean mixture with cheese until the bell pepper is full. Filling the bell peppers is my son’s favorite part!
- Sprinkle with cheese and line up in a baking dish.
- Drizzle with oil and cover the dish with foil.
- Cook for about 35 minutes – uncover – and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
This dish is rich in nutrients, easy to make ahead of time, and has minimal clean up!