Quinoa Stuffed Mediterranean Peppers
by Marco Girgenti
YIELD: 3 large bell pepper servings
3 bell peppers
1 cup rinsed quinoa
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 medium sized zucchini
2-3 medium mushrooms, chopped (preferably cremini)
Half an onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 dried, chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Handful of chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 oF.
Wash all vegetables.
Rinse 1 cup of quinoa in cold water and let sit for 20-30 minutes (as you move ahead with prep).
Slice crowns off of bell pepper and set aside; Do not discard as these will be your lids after filling with quinoa mixture.
Hollow, seed and core peppers; set aside.
Quinoa Cooking Instructions
Bring 2 cups of water to boil. Salt (should taste like a day at the beach/beach water).
Add the rinsed quinoa. Cover until water with quinoa returns to boiling point.
Reduce heat and cook until quinoa has a sprouted look to it (about 15 minutes).
2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil in medium-high heat pan.
Mince onion and garlic, place into pan with the olive oil.
Saute until translucent.
Finely chop zucchini, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes and add to pan.
Season to taste.
Continue to saute for 4-5 minutes, set aside.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
When quinoa has cooked, strain if necessary.
Re-heat the filling and add quinoa, stir until combined.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the 3 peppers and cover with crowns (lids).
Option: Brush the insides of the peppers with olive oil, if desired, or spray to season upon serving.
Stand upright in a roasting pan and cover.
Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until peppers are cooked and softened.
To speed the oven cooking time, consider placing the peppers in a bowl with water and microwave for several minutes to pre-cook, or steam in a double boiler.
Add lean ground turkey or beef to the mixture to boost the protein content.
This dish is loaded with nutrients including iron, vitamins A, Vitamin B-6, a powerhouse source of Vitamin C, and fiber, just to name a few.