Recipe: Quinoa stuffed peppers

As a kid, one of my favourite meals was stuffed peppers. I remember them being filled with cheesy goodness, flavourful and super filling. Now that I’m a young professional, I try to eat better and to prepare meals for the week. I decided to change up my mom’s recipe; sub quinoa for rice (more protein and lower glycemic index), ground chicken for medium ground beef (less fatty and easier to digest) and add some veggies for filler. I’m a huge cheese lover, but depending on just how lean and clean you want to eat, depends on if you want to add some cheese.

Note: If you’re new to the world of quinoa, EMBRACE IT! I find it’s easier to make than rice and it tastes great! You can now find quinoa in most major grocery stores, often in the health food aisle. If you can’t find it, try a health food or even just a bulk store (often cheaper too!)

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What you’ll need:

6 bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange are sweet, green is more bitter)
1 cup of quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup of frozen corn
1 can of whole tomatoes, diced (the whole tomato cans have more liquid than pre diced)
Seasoning (salt, pepper, oregano, basil as preferred)
Shredded cheese (optional)

What you have to do:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil 2 cups of cold water and 1 cup of quinoa. Once it begins boiling, turn it down to medium heat and keep the lid on until all of the water is absorbed (about 15-minutes, stirring occasionally).

2. While the quinoa is cooking, cook your onion over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the onion until it is soft and very lightly browned.

3. Add the ground chicken to the onion and cook completely. Season with your choice of seasoning.

4. Add the corn to the cooked chicken and onion. Cook for 2-minutes, then add the tomatoes and half of the liquid. Turn the heat off and save the liquid.

5. Once the quinoa is cooked, add it to the meat mixture and mix well.

6. Cut the tops off the peppers (as little as possible, while still getting the stem off). Clean out the inside of the pepper with a spoon.

7. Stand the peppers up in a round dish, 9″x13″ should be large enough.

8. Fill the peppers with the mixture, packing well. Pour the remaining liquid (you can water down slightly if it’s thick) in the dish, around the peppers. Add cheese on top of peppers, if desired.

9. Cook for 30-minutes at 375 degrees.

10. Peppers will keep for a week in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing, as they amass a lot of extra liquid when thawed and reheated.

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