Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quinoa and Brown Rice Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers is a dish that I remember loving as a child, but back in the 80s, peppers in our house were filled with fatty beef and white rice. Our updated version is heart-healthy, meatless, and comforting. Quinoa is one of the world's only grains that is actually a complete protein - meaning that nutritionally, you won't miss the omission of meat at all. We use brown basmati rice for its low glycemic index value; it will help keep blood sugar levels stable. If capers, currants, and pine nuts seem foreign, give them a shot in this dish. The combination of sweet, salty, sour, and nutty pack a dynamic punch.

The prep time is long, making this recipe ideal for cold weekends when you aren't interested in venturing outside. The advantage is that it reheats quite nicely. Make it ahead of time, store in the fridge, and reheat on a night when you would otherwise have to resign yourself to a bowl of cereal. Maybe Friday night during Lent (if you're into that sort of thing!)?

If you don't have time to dry out tomatoes, sub tomato paste or sun dried tomatoes. Both should give the required flavor and texture.

Dressed in their jaunty little caps, these peppers promise to fill you up but not stick to your ribs -- or your arteries.

Makes 8 peppers (I could eat 2 each myself!)

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup (about 10 each) chopped, pitted green olives
1/4 cup currants
2 tablespoons capers
2 oven dried tomatoes(8 quarters or 4 halves, depending on how you cut them), chopped
3/4 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 bell peppers
2 oven dried tomatoes (8 quarters or 4 halves, depending on how you cut them)
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup water

1. In a large flameproof casserole, heat oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, or until tender.
3. Stir in pinenuts. Cook until vegetables and pinenuts begin to brown.
4. Add paprika. Toast for 1 minute. Stir in olives, currants, capers, and tomatoes.
5. Add rice, quinoa, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, and cook for 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper. Stir in parsley.
6. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Remove the tops of the bell peppers. Set aside 5 of the tops (stems in tact). Chop the remaining 3 tops, and discard those stems. Remove and discard the seeds and veins of the peppers.
7. Place all 8 peppers in a large roasting pan. Fill each pepper with the rice and quinoa mixture. Place tops on 5 of the peppers. Leave the other 3 uncovered.
8. In a blender, puree chopped pepper tops, oven dried tomatoes, roma tomatoes, and water. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Pour puree in the bottom of the pan, around the peppers. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, rotating occasionally. Remove the foil, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Stuffed Green Peppers on Foodista

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