Have you tried quinoa yet? I am becoming a big fan! Quinoa is both healthy and versatile. It is a great meal component for vegetarians or vegans, individuals exercising a gluten free diet, or anyone who simply likes to take care of their bodies. There are several different varieties/colors, but I most commonly find the off white variety in stores. Though it cooks like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed from the spinach family and has a slight nutty taste once cooked. I really enjoy its light, fluffy texture but it has a little crunch in the end that is a pleasant surprise. 🙂
A few of the health benefits of quinoa include:
- Quinoa is a complete protein containing all 9 essencial amino acids.
- It is high in iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium (benefits blood pressure), and copper (acts as an antioxidant).
- Quinio is also high in fiber.
In my kitchen, I often use quinoa as a side to fish or chicken, just as I would rice. However, a week ago I used quinoa to stuff green peppers and it may be my favorite quinoa recipe yet! If you are interested, this is how you make it:
- 1 cup white/traditional quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 4 large green peppers
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms (or whatever mushroom variety you prefer)
- 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes – reserve the juice to use. (I made this meal for my mother and I and she likes tomatoes more than I do. I actually didn’t use quite as much tomato in my peppers as I used in hers. Therefore, don’t add all the diced tomatoes at once. Tailor this to your liking.)
- 2 Tbls Butter
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 (12 oz) jar of salsa
- 2 Tbsp Dry Sherry
- 10-14 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cook the quinoa: Combine 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
- While the quinoa is cooking, steam the green peppers until they have softened but still hold form.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and mushrooms in 2 Tablespoons of butter.
- Once the onions begin to turn translucent, drain the diced tomatoes but reserve the juice and set it aside. Add the tomatoes to the onions and mushrooms.
- Add the crushed garlic.
- Add all the salsa.
- Let simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Fold the quinoa into the vegetable combination.
- Place the green peppers into a baking dish (see mine below) and fill with the quinoa mixture. You should have quinoa mixture that does not fit into the peppers. Add the reserved tomato juice to the leftover quinoa and pour it around the peppers.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the whole dish but concentrate most of it on the peppers.
- Bake in the oven at 325 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes.