This recipe was inspired by my mom’s classic stuffed bell peppers, as well as Olivia’s recipe, and finally, Kevin’s love for all things quinoa. This is a veggie recipe that could easily go vegan with the omission of cheese – I’m 100% certain it would still taste fantastic but I had a block of Gruyere just begging to be used. This is another quick weeknight meal: it would probably be under 45 minutes for a good multi-tasker, but definitely less than 45 minutes if you make the quinoa ahead of time. Protein and vitamin-filled, easy and gooey delicious – how can you resist?
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups mushroom broth or water (I prefer homemade mushroom broth if it’s available, really amps up the flavor)
8 ounces mushroom of choice, sliced (I like the tastes of criminis)
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
1/2 large white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, optional (can substitute any other melty cheese you’d like)
Salt and pepper
5 large bell peppers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place quinoa and broth into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until grains are soft and chewy. Stir every now and then, but no need to babysit (I love that about quinoa!).
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until fragrant, just a few minutes. Add mushrooms and zucchini and saute until soft and just starting to brown.
Mix quinoa with vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper (although I like to go easy on the salt in this one – you are adding some cheese too, remember). Fold in Gruyere.
Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds, leaving a bowl-like shell. Gently spoon the quinoa mixture into each bell pepper and space a few inches apart on a baking sheet or large casserole dish (the edges help keep not quite perfect bell peppers from falling over). Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes if you like your bell peppers a bit crunchy or 30 to 35 if you’d prefer them soft.