Grandma Chava used to make amazing stuffed bell peppers and stuffed cabbage leaves. She passed away when I was only twelve years old, so my memories of her are dull and scattered, but some of the sharpest memories are food memories. Grandma was an amazing cook. She stuffed her vegetables with a mixture of rice, tomatoes and seasonings, and just like all her other dishes, something about the way she seasoned food made it taste wonderful.
Grandma belonged to a different generation, a generation of women who worked hard in the kitchen, cooked without recipes, and created masterpieces out of the simplest ingredients. There were no blogs back then, no fancy grains and high-end oils, yet her food tasted so good, some flavors linger even after 30 years.
My quinoa stuffed peppers are different. They are made with healthy quinoa and extra-virgin olive oil. They are delicious, pretty and elegant, especially if you use several different colors. A tasty side dish, quinoa stuffed peppers are filling enough to serve as a vegan main dish.
My quinoa stuffed peppers are amazing, but they’re not nearly as good as grandma’s.
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup dry quinoa (or 2 cups cooked quinoa)
- 5 large red bell peppers
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 (8 oz) package button mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Cook the quinoa: rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of its bitter coating. Place the rinsed quinoa and 1½ cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 17 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
- Remove the tops of the peppers, core and seed them. Slice a very thin slice off the bottom, so that the peppers will remain upright in the baking dish.
- Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, until soft and most of the liquids have evaporated. Add the garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the cooked quinoa, parsley and toasted pine nuts.
- Fill each bell pepper with the mixture, packing it in, and place in the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more, until the tops are golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.