I’ve been cooking a lot of vegetarian meals lately, as some of the students with whom I work are really passionate about food issues. A couple of the students with whom I work are thoughtful about ethically raised and locally grown animals. While I try to focus my meat purchases on that as well, I’m not beyond looking for a good deal – something I am hoping to continue to work on as I move into the next academic year.
One such student came over for dinner over a month ago as a thank you for watching my house while I was out of town earlier this year. Because I’ve been focused on writing my comprehensive exams (woohoo—I’ve turned them in!), I haven’t been writing on the blog when it’s been the height of new recipes and fresh vegetables. As a result, I’m playing catch up at the moment.
When this student came over, I made a vegetarian-friendly meal. I’ve done a similar stuffed pepper in the past, like the Lentil Stuffed Pepper I made a couple of summers ago. Knowing I wanted to do some cooking that involved a stuffed pepper, I went looking. On the Ambitious Kitchen web site, I found a recipe for Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers that I used as my inspiration for cooking. Then, I looked to see what was in my CSA for the week and went for it.
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ large onion (we had fresh white onions, so I used one of those)
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
¾ c uncooked quinoa
2 c vegetable broth
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped (I used one large garden tomato)
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp dried oregano (I used 1 tsp fresh oregano)
½ c chopped cilantro
1 tsp red pepper flakes, if desired
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
3 large bell peppers, seeds removed and cut vertically
¾ c shredded Colby jack cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a sauté pan over medium high, heat olive oil. Add onions, jalapeno, and garlic and sauté until the unions begin to soften and turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Place into a large bowl and set aside.
To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ c of vegetable broth to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil again. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl.
While quinoa is cooking, place a medium pot over high heat and fill with water, bring water to a boil and add in diced sweet potato. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and continue cooking for about 6 minute or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. This might take more or less time depending on how small you cut your sweet potatoes. Once tender, drain water from sweet potatoes and place into bowl with quinoa and onion mixture. Gently stir in black beans, tomatoes, remaining ½ c of vegetable broth, and spices.
Arrange bell peppers in a large skillet or baking pan and stuff with heaping ½ c of quinoa mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until peppers are tender. Uncover and sprinkle each with 2 Tbsp cheese. Place in oven for 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Remove and serve immediately with toppings such as sour cream, your favorite hot sauce or guacamole.