Friday, March 23, 2012

Red Peppers Stuffed with Curried Quinoa

I believe quinoa and I have finally formed a lasting friendship.  The super-grain fascinated me.  I really wanted to like it, but something about its tiny and compact healthfulness intimidated me.  I felt it needed to be treated uniquely.

It took a while to overcome that.  I have since discovered that quinoa really wants to be treated like any number of other pantry staples.  As I think of it more like rice or couscous or even as oatmeal, the ideas begin to flow. 

Stuffed peppers are a wonderful step in the right direction.  If you are still hesitant to try quinoa, rice can be substituted.  Remember to adjust you water and cooking times accordingly.

adapted from Roni's recipe at Green Lite Bites

serves 4 as a side or 2 as an entree

The Ingredients:
2 medium red peppers (or color of you choice)
1 1/2 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup water or vegetable stock
2-3 cups spinach, slightly torn

The Process:
preheat the oven to 375

Heat the oil in a 1-qt saucepan over medium-heat.  Add the garlic, onion and carrots and saute until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the spices and saute a minute or two more, stirring to completely coat the vegetables.  Add the water and quinoa.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until most of the moisture is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

While the quinoa cooks, prepare the peppers by slicing in half lengthwise through the stem.  Remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers, leaving the stems intact.  Place pepper halves cut side up in a lightly oiled 9 x 9 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle each half with a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

Fluff up the quinoa and add the torn spinach to the saucepan.  Stir until the spinach begins to wilt and is well distributed through the quinoa mixture.

Spoon the quinoa into the pepper halves, mounding slightly.  Bake, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes, or until the pepper is tender.  Serve hot.

The Review:
The golden piles of fluffy, spicy quinoa served up in their own edible bowl create and elegant meal even vegans and vegetarians can fully appreciate!  I am not the biggest fan of turmeric's slightly metallic taste, so I had opted swap out some of Roni's suggested spice for garam masala, ginger and garlic.  The resulting flavor is much more layered and complex.  But if curry powder is the most exotic spice in you cabinet, go nuts!  There in lies the true beauty of this dish.  It'd needed be an  Indian(-ish) entree.  Add some tomato paste and Italian seasonings.  Or maybe cumin and chili powder for a little something Tex-Mex.  These are the recipes that quickly become staples in out household!

1 comment:

  1. I do a lot of cooking and have yet to cook Quinoa. I tend to love grains that are flavored with curry so I am sure this is very tasty. The presentation in the pepper is a nice way to portion control