I first tried quinoa over the Fourth of July holiday. My son, Justin, was here for a visit. Not even sure how to pronounce quinoa (keen-wah), I asked Justin if he'd had it and how to pronounce it. We found both red and white quinoa in bulk at Whole Foods. We decided to purchase some of both colors.
Since first trying quinoa last month, I've been reading and hearing about quinoa and it's health benefits. It is so much more nutritious than rice or pasta and is gluten free.
We have a great crop of banana peppers from our garden. We've been grilling them and using them in salads. I wanted to try and find another way to use them. In doing some searching yesterday, I found lots of recipes for stuffing them. We love stuffed peppers but always stuff the larger peppers. Most of the recipes I found used meat in the stuffing. I often make the green ones vegetarian and use rice for the stuffing. I decided to create my own recipe using quinoa for the stuffing.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
8 banana peppers
2 tablespoons butter
2 whole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup bread crumbs
Cut off tops of peppers, and remove ribs and seeds. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add peppers, reduce heat, and simmer until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Slit peppers for stuffing.
Cook 1 cup quinoa in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Heat butter in a medium skillet. Saute onion until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce and garlic. Season with basil, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan. Mix in quinoa, bread crumbs and 1 cup of the tomato sauce mixture.
Fill each pepper with the meat mixture. Place in a 3 quart casserole dish, and pour remaining tomato sauce mixture over peppers.
Bake uncovered for 30 - 45 minutes.
My notes on this recipe: We loved the flavor and texture. This makes a great vegetarian stuffing. I would like to try this recipe with a mozarella cheese topping. This recipe made more than enough stuffing for 8 banana peppers. A half recipe would be just about the right amount for 8 peppers or a whole recipe would be ample for 16 peppers. I froze my leftover stuffing.