October 27, 2012

Slow-Cooker Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

It's been a crazy week. The kind of week where I left work every day and papers were still scattered across my desk. I don't do scattered papers. The scattered papers were like a big red flag -- relax! slow down!  

Enter slow-cooker and these quinoa stuffed peppers, a dish that allowed me to both slow down and relax for an evening. These incredibly nutritious veggie bowls are packed with protein-rich quinoa, meaty black beans, and salty-good cheese. To round it all out, the sweet packaging of bright bell pepper and tomato sauce topping balance those savory flavors perfectly. 

Hmm... Balance. That's another welcome feeling at the end of my day. 

2 T. butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow zucchini, diced
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1.5 cups quality chicken or vegetable stock
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 t. garam masala
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
dash of cumin
1/2 cup quality white cheddar cheese
1 can diced tomatoes in puree
2 t. tomato paste.
2 red or yellow bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed inside

Preheat a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add and melt the butter, then add the onion and cook until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and stir, one minute, then the zucchini, and cook another minute more. Add the quinoa and stir to toast lightly, 2-3 minutes, then add the stock, beans, garam masala, salt, pepper, and cumin. Stir and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa grain is translucent and the grain has developed a "tail" off the end. Stir in cheddar cheese at the last moment.

Inside the crock pot, stir together the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Use a spoon to fill each bell pepper with mixture. Carefully place each pepper into the crock pot and set to low 7-8  hours or high 3-4 hours. Spoon tomato sauce over pepper and serve.

Use leftover filling to create "Next Night Quinoa, Spinach, and Poached Egg Skillet." It's delicious!

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