This week's menu was largely inspired by this week's sale paper; when peppers go on sale (10 for $10!), we eat a lot of peppers in a lot of different colors for a lot of nights in a row. Since I had recently made my standby roasted red pepper soup, I went searching for something new. This was a delicious and beautiful meal that I found in Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, a favorite tome of mine. The cookbook recommends serving the peppers with a tangy salad, which would be lovely, but I think it would also be great with black beans on the side. You could also serve it with eggs as a brunch dish.
This makes a lot of peppers - between the four of us, we ate five halves, saved one, and packed the other six up for a friend who just had a baby (you know who you are!). While there is a bit of preparation involved in this meal, you could make and stuff the peppers in advance then do the final bake just before dinner.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
1 cup raw quinoa
6 medium bell peppers, any color
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 cup diced zucchini
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well under running water. In a covered pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the quinoa is soft and the water is absorbed.
While the quinoa cooks, cut the peppers in half lengthwise and, leaving the stems intact, seed them. Brush the peppers on both sides with oil. Place peppers cut side down on an oiled baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, until softened and slightly browned but not collapsed. When the peppers are roasted, remove from oven to cool and reduce the heat to 350 degrees (or turn off oven if you are going to bake them much later).
In a large skillet, warm 1 tbsp olive oil and saute the onions and garlic on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions have softened. Stir in the spices, carrots, zucchini, and corn. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.
Combine the sauteed vegetables and the cooked quinoa and add salt to taste. Turn over the pepper shells and spoon filling into each half. Sprinkle each bell pepper half with some cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted.