Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Mushrooms
These stuffed peppers are another of our “what do we do with the leftovers in the fridge” concoctions. We had a bit of kale and a bit of swiss chard, some mushrooms, two peppers, a small chunk of feta, and some leftover quinoa. So, we set out to make a meal with it all.
When it was all said and done, we found these stuffed peppers to be flavorful and filling but not too greasy or “heavy.” We think these peppers (or any dish with healthy, homemade pesto) are a great way to “sneak” greens into your meals without having a big, overt pile of greens on your plates.
Next time we make these peppers, we’ll probably pre-cook the peppers (before we stuff them) in the pre-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes. At the end of cooking, all of our fillings were steaming, and our cheese was nicely melted and bubbly, but our peppers were slightly crunchier than we wanted them.
We really enjoyed the salsa in our peppers and will probably add a bit more next time. (We use Resa’s salsa because it’s made locally and it’s one of our favorites, but we think any brand/variety will work here). We also think you could easily sub your favorite pasta sauce for the salsa if you wanted something less spicy. And, of course, you can play around with the fillings based on your tastes and what’s in-season … we’ve made these in the summer with roasted squash and eggplant in lieu of the mushrooms. You could also add meat or sub rice or orzo pasta for the quinoa.
- About 2 cups of cooked quinoa
- 2 peppers, washed, cored and halved
- about 1/4 lb mushrooms (we used one bag of 5th Kingdom silver oysters)
- 1 shallot, chopped
- about 1/3 c feta, crumbled (we used raw goat's milk feta, but any feta you have on hand will do, and we think these would be tasty without the feta, too)
- about 4 tbsp of your favorite salsa (or pasta sauce, if you're more in the mood for an Italian-themed meal)
- a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
- handful of pecans or walnuts
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups of herbs and/or greens (we used a mix of our kale and swiss chard with a few dashes of dried basil and oregano)
- a few shakes of red pepper flakes
- a few pinches of salt
- about 1/4 c EVOO (for the pesto) + about a tablespoon of EVOO to cook the onions and shallot
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Prepare baking dish. (We just lined a medium-sized glass casserole dish with parchment paper to cut down on grease and mess).
- Cook chopped shallot in EVOO until it starts to soften and lightly brown. Turn up heat to medium-hi and add mushrooms. Stir frequently until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
- Make pesto: Put nuts, garlic, greens/herbs, red pepper flakes, salt, and EVOO into your food processor and pulse until everything is well chopped, finely minced and well-blended. (We use a mini Cuisinart food processor for our pesto, but you can mix yours up in a blender or using any other food processor that's sturdy enough to handle chopping nuts. We always put our nuts and garlic cloves on the bottom so they'll get minced up first; we think this keeps the greens/herbs from getting overly pulverized. You can also add some parmesan cheese if you want to make a more "traditional" pesto).
- Mix pesto with quinoa.
- Divide about 1/2 of the quinoa mixture between the pepper halves.
- Top quinoa mixture with mushrooms and shallots and about 1/2 of the crumbled feta. (If you have extra salsa or pasta sauce, you could also add a bit to this layer).
- Top peppers with the remaining quinoa mixture, salsa, and additional feta.
- Bake, at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove peppers from oven and top with mozzarella cheese. Return peppers to oven, turn up temperature to 400 degrees, and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes until cheese is nice and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and enjoy!