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Monday, April 05, 2010

Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Pepper Recipe

Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Pepper
I've been cooking more vegetarian and even vegan recipes lately. One reason is the Meatless Monday effort sponsored by the John Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Health. The idea is to help reduce meat consumption by 15% in order to improve both the health of individuals and the health of the planet. But it also has a lot to do with challenging myself to try new things.

When it comes to cooking, I love a good challenge. Cooking with less meat or none at all inspires me. I do better with fewer ingredients than more ingredients. In a way, it forces you to be creative and think outside the box. Or in this case, the refrigerator. You know the saying, necessity is the mother of invention? It always reminds me of my experiences as a babysitter back when I was a teenager. At some point while babysitting either I, or the kids I was watching would get hungry. It was sometimes a challenge for me to come up with something tasty to eat based on whatever I could find in an unfamiliar kitchen.

Stuffed peppers are an acquired taste. I like them, but my dad doesn't. I know this because when I was growing up we only ate them when he was out of town. If you like the earthy flavor of roasted peppers and quinoa, you will like this dish. It combines a number of vegetables with quinoa and nuts to give you lots of flavors and textures in each bite. The filling is basically a quinoa pilaf, so feel free to swap out the chard for another leafy green or change up the nuts. I used Roland red quinoa but I didn't think that it tasted much different from white quinoa. Originally I thought I would top it with cheese but upon tasting it, I didn't feel like it needed it. I also think you could make this without the sauce if you prefer. You know the drill, make this recipe yours.

Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Makes 4 servings as a side dish, or 2 entree serving


2 poblano peppers, cut in half, seeds removed
1 cup water
1/2 cup white or red quinoa
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups swiss chard leaves, shredded
1/4 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, crushed and liquid


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine water and quinoa in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover; cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Saute mushrooms, onion and garlic, stirring frequently for 8 minutes or onion is tender. Stir in chard and let it wilt. Add cooked quinoa, pistachios and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into peppers. Add the tomatoes and their liquid to a baking pan large enough to hold the peppers. Tuck the stuffed peppers into the sauce and bake for about 30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.