So, yeah… Because we’re completely insane, we had another ankle surgery in our house. Thankfully this one is a bit quicker in the recovery department, and the patient is a tad more brave. Ryan had a bone spur removed from the top of his ankle joint, probably left over from some broken bone that wasn’t treated. He’s been walking around with this Frankenfoot going on for decades! So, since we happened to know a good ankle doc (mine), we made it happen.
What does that have to do with the food blog? Well, since I had a rare weekend where I was stuck in the house (only fair I spend a few days bringing Ryan his every heart’s desire after he spent 5 weeks doing it for me. the saint), I took advantage and made a recipe that I found that takes like TWO HOURS to makes. Usually I’d never pick a recipe with that much time involved.
This recipe was killer. I was skeptical when I was in the ‘simmer’ stage at the beginning because it seemed like a lot of random stuff to be throwing together. Spinach, black beans, carrots, celery, quinoa? Oh wait, there’s browned cheese on top. Sometimes that’s all I need in a recipe.
I’m convinced you can make this in half the time if you boiled the peppers a bit before stuffing and baking them. As it is, they baked for an hour. Add to that the chopping time, browning time, and simmering of the quinoa with the veggies, and there’s your 2 hours. While you’re at it, add another 2 minutes. That’s how long it took us to devour these.
I’d make these again in a heartbeat. It makes a HUGE batch, so we had leftovers and I even sent one home with my brother, who is now a quinoa convert. He was stoked to find a food he can eat that’s a complete protein. This one was another winner. Oh, and Vegetarian Times says this freezes well, so I’ll definitely be doing that next time.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (½ cup)
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin (I was out, so I used chili powder, which contains cumin)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
- 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained, reserved
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 C. chopped baby carrots
- 2 C. water
- 1 ½ cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
- 4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
- Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin (or chili powder) and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in spinach and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrots, and 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Stir in 1 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour a small amount of water in the bottom of a glass baking dish.
- Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 Tbs. remaining cheese. Boil uncovered until the cheese browns. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
Vegetarian Times suggests that these freeze well. I’ll definitely do that next time.