Monday, July 26, 2010

Red Peppers and Quinoa

By now, you've probably caught on that I like to cook vegetarian meals, although meat is very much part of my diet. I adore vegetables, and like to try new ways of preparing them. It doesn't hurt that many vegetarian dishes are cheaper and healthier than some of their meaty counterparts, and often take less time to prepare. I definitely consider myself an omnivore, but definitely don't have to eat meat everyday to fill myself up.
These red peppers are filled with quinoa, a complete source of protein that's closely related to beets and spinach. It has a somewhat nutty, mild flavor, making it the perfect complement to the stronger walnut and salty parmesan cheese. If you can't find it, feel free to substitute couscous or even just rice. Plus, how cute does the quinoa look inside of the red pepper cups?

Red Peppers and Quinoa
4 red peppers
1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
1/2 c. walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare quinoa according to box instructions and set aside.
2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare peppers to be filled- cut off tops and clean out ribs and seeds. If bottoms are uneven, cut a sliver off to steady them standing up. Chop tops of peppers into small pieces, and toss in a bowl with walnuts, cheese and quinoa.
3. Stand peppers in a small casserole dish, and fill each pepper with grain mixture. Top with a drizzle of oil in each pepper and more parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is browned and peppers are tender when poked with a fork.
4. Take out of oven, and serve with freshly grated pepper on top. Delicious the day after, too, if you've got leftovers!

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