Rush Hour Gourmet

Posted: October 11, 2012

With their vibrant color, stuffed peppers provide a stunning presentation as a main course. This version is gluten-free and vegan, with protein-rich quinoa.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4

For the stuffed peppers

4 bell peppers, any color

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup diced shallot (2 or 3)

1/2 cup diced zucchini

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth,

   plus more for the baking dish

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

For the pesto

2 cups basil leaves

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 to 4 medium cloves garlic

2 tablespoons walnuts

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish (large enough to hold the peppers) with cooking oil spray.

2. Slice off the stem and a thin portion of the top of each pepper. Scoop out and discard the ribs and seeds, also the stems, and cut the remaining pepper tops into fine dice.

3. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallot, diced peppers, and zucchini; stir to combine. Add the quinoa and stir for about 2 minutes or until the quinoa is lightly toasted. Add the broth, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook, (adjust heat so liquid is bubbling around the edges) stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the pepper; stir to combine.

4. Spoon the filling into the peppers. Transfer the stuffed peppers to the prepared baking dish and pour a shallow layer of broth into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic (to taste) and the walnuts in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream and puree into a smooth sauce.

6. To serve, drizzle a little of the pesto over each pepper.

Per serving (using 1/4 of the pesto): 310 calories, 8 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, no cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

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