Italian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Make Ahead Option)
These cheesy Italian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers take stuffed peppers to a whole new level! They’re a healthy, protein-packed vegetarian meal!
These days our evenings are busy with homework and after school activities. Most nights of the week, Julia goes to her martial arts class, and by the time we get home everyone is starving. Myself included! Cooking a homemade dinner at that point isn’t going to happen, so I’ve been relying on my slow cooker and make ahead meals to help us avoid takeout.
This week, for example, we’re having Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, this one pot One Pot Creamy Asparagus Chicken Pasta (which I’ll make earlier in the day because I plan to shoot a video for the recipe!), and these Italian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.
These stuffed peppers are a great make ahead option, because you can prepare them up to the point of baking and then bake them right before you’re ready to eat. Or, you can bake them right away and reheat later on. The leftovers are delicious, so don’t worry if you have a few extra peppers!
In this easy recipe, the bell peppers are stuffed with a mixture of vegetables, quinoa, white beans, marinara sauce and cheese. You won’t even realize these peppers are vegetarian, since they’re packed with so much healthy, filling goodness!
I originally shared this recipe three years ago, and it was long overdue for new photos. When I first posted it, it was actually pretty popular despite the mediocre photos. I hope that means that many of you will want to try these stuffed peppers soon, because they really are delicious!
In my original post, I had written that 4-year-old Julia and 1 ½-year-old William surprised me when they really liked these Italian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. Despite my best efforts, they have gotten less adventurous with their eating over time. The last time I made these, Julia actually ate a pretty good amount of hers. The pepper itself was her favorite. William and Hannah each ate a little bit, but not too much.
Sometimes I’m convinced that they choose not to like certain foods just because they aren’t their very favorite. I’m trying to help them understand that not everything can taste like mac and cheese (don’t we wish!) but you know… kids!
- 6 bell peppers*, any colors you like
- ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 carrots, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 25 ounce jar marinara sauce
- 15 ounce can white beans (cannellini or other small white beans), rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds. Place the peppers, cut sides up, in a baking dish. (You may need two baking dishes to fit them all.) Set aside.
- Place the quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover and simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet with the vegetables and stir to combine.
- Add the beans, cooked quinoa, parsley, and ¾ cup of the mozzarella to the skillet, and stir until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop the filling into each of the bell pepper halves, and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes, until the peppers have slightly softened and the filling is hot. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese just begins to brown. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead Option: Peppers can be made ahead, refrigerated, and then baked when you are ready to eat. Already baked peppers also reheat well.
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