When cooking with bell peppers, I chop them or slice them and make them a small part of my dish. But I often forget that peppers can also be prepared as the main attraction of the meal. When cooked whole, you can really taste the natural sweetness and enjoy the delicate form of the vegetable. And with the variety of colors available — red, yellow, orange, green and purple — you can easily make a colorful dish that is not only healthy, but very appealing to the eyes. Here’s a simple way to do it:
- 6 medium sized bell peppers (any one color or a mix of colors is fine)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (use veggie or chicken broth instead of water for added flavor)
- 1-2 scallions chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 stalk of celery medium chopped
- ¼ cup frozen peas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
- ½ tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a pan, heat some olive oil to medium heat.
Add the fennel and cumin seeds and cook until they change color slightly.
Sauté the garlic until translucent.
Add the celery and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Next, add the scallions and cook for another 2 minutes.
Now add the peas and continue to cook for a minute.
Toss the pine nuts to this mix and cook for another minute.
Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat off and let cool.
Add the cooked quinoa to the veggies.
Add juice of lemon and mix everything well.
Cut the bell peppers right through the middle starting from the non-stem side toward the stem side until you reach the seeds. Stop at this point and do not cut further so as to keep the bell pepper intact.
Take the quinoa mix and slightly separate the cut bell pepper to carefully stuff the quinoa in the bell pepper. Once stuffed, gently close the two halves back together with your fingers. Continue to stuff the rest of the bell peppers the same way.
In the same pan you used to sauté the vegetables, add some more olive oil and bring to medium heat.
Gently place the bell peppers in the pan and let cook from the bottom. Once cooked on this side, carefully flip them one at a time to cook on the top side. Repeat turning and cooking the pepper until cooked all around.
Alternatively, you can also bake the stuffed peppers in the oven. Place them on a baking tray or dish. Sprinkle them with olive oil and place them in a preheated oven. Bake them at 385 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Gently flip over and let them cook for another 7-8 minutes, or until you see them start to brown. Remove from oven once cooked all around.
That’s it, the stuffed peppers are ready to devour!
By: Preeti Gubdecha