Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Here is a fast, easy, healthy recipe that most people will enjoy as a side dish or something different to take to a potluck.  quionoa3When I’ve made these on occasion, people really seem to enjoy them (unless everyone is lying which can happen). For vegetarians, just omit the meat.  You can use black beans and corn to turn it into something more southwestern and melt cheese overtop.  Use your imagination – they’re pretty foolproof.

Ingredients:

4-6 large red (or variety of colors) bell peppers

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ large white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed

1 lb. ground turkey

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup cooked tricolor quinoa

2 cups tomato and basil pasta sauce

Directions:

  • Cup the tops off the peppers and remove all seeds. Set aside.
  • Heat large saucepan on medium heat. Drizzle olive oil in the pan, toss in diced onions, cook until onions start to turn clear (about 1 minute).  Add garlic, and stir.  Let onions and garlic simmer for 30 seconds before adding ground turkey.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and half the parsley; stir occasionally.  Save remaining parsley for garnish.
  • Once turkey is no longer pink, turn off the heat and drain excess liquid. Add 1 cup cooled quinoa and 2 cups pasta sauce, stir to incorporate.
  • Stuff each pepper with the filling (add a bit of cheese to melt overtop if you want) then place peppers upright in a small baking dish filled with a little water. Cover with tinfoil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes until peppers are  slightly soft.  Some people prefer using a microwave to steam the peppers covered in plastic for 5 minutes.
  • Either way, cautiously remove them and plate the peppers individually. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 4 – 6

A few health benefits for Bell Peppers, Ground Turkey & Quinoa:

Peppers: the highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety. Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. They contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful.

Turkey: when you compare ground turkey with its beef counterpart, they’re relatively even. But ground turkey comes in a fat-free version that could be the best option for your heart. It’s a food low in both sodium and saturated fat, making it a great choice in general—and especially solid for those watching their blood pressure or cholesterol. Turkey also packs a nutritional punch with a healthy dose of B-complex vitamins, which help regulate cholesterol levels and promote healthy blood circulation.  Just make sure the packaging specifies ground turkey breast and that it’s labled at least 90% lean. (If not, there’s probably dark meat and skin mixed in, adding unwanted calories and fat.)

Quinoa: in comparison to cereal grasses like wheat, quinoa is higher in fat content and can provide valuable amounts of heart-healthy fats like monounsaturated fat (in the form of oleic acid). Quinoa can also provide small amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Given this higher fat content, researchers initially assumed that quinoa would be more susceptible to oxidation and resulting nutrient damage. However, recent studies have shown that quinoa does not get oxidized as rapidly as might be expected given its higher fat content. This finding is great news from a nutritional standpoint. The processes of boiling, simmering, and steaming quinoa do not appear to significantly compromise the quality of quinoa’s fatty acids, allowing us to enjoy its cooked texture and flavor while maintaining this nutrient benefit. Food scientists have speculated that it is the diverse array of antioxidants found in quinoa—including various members of the vitamin E family like alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol as well as flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol—that contribute to this oxidative protection.

Source: let’s eat – OC Family

Let me know if you like this recipe

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