Quinoa stuffed peppers

Being a wannabe vegetarian (honestly, I’m quite fussy with meat and aside from increasing it in my diet lately due to my fitness training, I usually go for vegetarian options over meat), I’ve always loved stuffed peppers. Whenever my Mum and I have made them at home in the past, Cous Cous or rice have always formed the base of the stuffing, so for a protein-rich and Coeliac friendly option I’ve started to make them with quinoa instead. I actually think I prefer them this way.

 

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Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) is an ancient grain that’s naturally gluten free. In recent years, its popularity has increased and it’s the perfect gluten free substite for pasta and Cous Cous. It’s much more nutrient-rich unlike the glutinous counterparts too. Many people struggle to warm to quinoa, but this was never the case for me. Aside from a few cooking issues when I first got hold of some, I’ve never questioned the taste or texture. I far prefer it to the Cous Cous in my pre-Coeliac days and I find it much lighter than rice. It’s a great accompaniment to a hot dish, brilliant in summery salads and even makes a great porridge alternative. I’ve even converted my Mum!

For the stuffed peppers, I used a couple of tablespoons of quinoa mixed with basil pesto, pine nuts, red onion, spinach and cherry tomatoes. Topped with a little cheddar cheese, it’s a great dish to make for just yourself or for a dinner party. We’d run out of salad so I lazily ate these on their own, however they’d be fantastic served on a bed of rocket or spinach.

 

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

(I made just one for myself, I’d suggest doubling the recipe for two people, or just sharing this along with other dishes)

 

1 red pepper, halved from top to bottom

1/4 small red onion, finely chopped

5 cherry tomatoes, halved then halved again

6 spinach leaves, chopped finely

Handful of pine nuts

2 tbsp Sacla Fiery Chilli Pesto

2-3 tbsp cooked quinoa

Small block of cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

 

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Place the pepper halves on a baking tray and place to one side.
  2. In a bowl, place the quinoa, red onion, tomatoes and spinach. Mix together well.
  3. Add the pine nuts and pesto and mix well again.
  4. Spoon the mixture into each pepper half, making sure you push it into the corners.
  5. Top with the cheese slices and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pepper has softened.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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