Vegetarian stuffed peppers with heart-healthy quinoa and beans are an easy weeknight dinner. Vegetarian recipes like this delicious meal will satisfy everyone in the family, even the meat-eaters, and they are gluten-free.
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How to make vegetarian stuffed peppers
The first step is to par-cook the bell peppers. I’ll be honest, sometimes I skip this step because I’m lazy.
However, to get really soft bell peppers, it is necessary.
Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Place the peppers cut side down on a baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil and roast for about 20 minutes until they just begin to soften.
While the peppers are roasting, cook the filling. By the time the peppers have cooled a bit, the filling will be done and we’re ready to stuff.
When it comes to stuffing the peppers, don’t be stingy. Pack it in there! I find it is easiest to do this with my hands. I use food safe gloves so I can hold the pepper in one hand and pack the filling in with my other hand.
The peppers go back into the oven just long enough for everything to be heated through and for the cheese to get melty and a little browned on top. Need to make them vegan? Omit the cheese and now this is a vegan recipe.
How long to cook stuffed peppers
Generally speaking, the peppers will bake for anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes after being stuffed.
Personally, I don’t like them too soft. I like a little texture, but not too much, so I usually bake them for 20 minutes. If you like them very soft, leave them in the oven for 30 minutes.
One more note to mention – everyone’s oven is different. Setting the temperature for 350°F means that it will be somewhere close to that temp. It might be a few degrees higher or lower, depending on your oven.
If you think your oven runs a little cool or a bit hot, you can buy an oven thermometer to double check and then adjust accordingly.
Ingredients for stuffed bell peppers
To make vegetarian stuffed peppers, you will likely have almost everything you need already. Below is the list with appropriate substitutions if you need to swap ingredients.
- Bell peppers – I am partial to red, orange and yellow. If green peppers are your favorite, use them!
- Quinoa – Good source of fiber and protein. Swap it out for brown rice if you prefer.
- Beans – The staple of every vegetarian pantry. I’m a big fan of dried heirloom beans, but there’s no shame in canned beans. Use whatever you have. No beans? Use lentils.
- Diced tomatoes – I use canned diced tomatoes, but if you happen to have an abundance of fresh garden tomatoes, use them.
- Onions and garlic – The flavor base for practically everything. I prefer sweet onions, they aren’t quite as sharp as a regular white onion.
- Leftover veggies – I used a cup of leftover roasted zucchini that I had in the fridge. If you have leftover vegetables from dinner and don’t know what to do with them, add them to the mix.
- Mozzarella – Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. Much better than the pre grated cheese and less expensive.
- Dried spices – These will boost the flavor our the filling as it cooks. Check the dates and make sure they aren’t expired. (It happens to all of us)
- Fresh herbs – Fresh herbs like parsley and basil give a freshness to these peppers and brighten up the flavor. Plus, parsley can aid in digestion and reduce bloating from gas (hello, beans!).
I also added in a banana pepper because I had one from the garden. This is a great way to use some of the vegetables you’ve grown!
You can find banana peppers in the produce department labeled as “Hungarian wax peppers”. They are almost identical.
What can I serve with this?
You could serve a big green salad and call it a day. But, if you are looking something a bit more substantial and maybe a dessert recipe, here are a few suggestions:
• Butternut squash arugula salad – topped with white beans and toasted pecans, then drizzled with maple vinaigrette
• Baby kale salad with pomegranate and sweet potatoes – packed with nutrient dense foods, it is gluten-free and can be easily veganized by omitting the goat cheese.
• Nectarine spinach salad with blue cheese – Topped with fresh and dried fruit, a zingy dressing and a few crunchy, toasted almonds.
• Peach pound cake – studded with chunks of juicy, fresh peaches.
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- 3 - 4 bell peppers, halved and cleaned
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced (3/4 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked (according to package instructions)
- 1 can cannellini beans (15.5 oz), drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- 1 banana pepper, diced (optional)
- 1 cup zucchini or other leftover vegetables (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped (save 2 tbsp. for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C / Gas Mark 4
- Cut peppers in half, remove seeds and membranes.
- Place peppers cut side down on baking sheet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- While peppers are baking, start the filling - On medium heat, add olive oil to a medium-large pot.
- Add diced onion and sauté until beginning to soften, about 6 - 7 minutes. Add banana pepper (if using) and garlic, stir to combine.
- Add diced tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Fold in quinoa, beans, parsley, fresh basil and leftover veggies, if using. Set aside.
- Remove peppers from oven, carefully uncover and flip over. When peppers are cool enough to handle, fill with quinoa and bean mixture.
- Top with grated mozzarella and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned, and peppers are warmed through.
Depending on the size of your bell peppers, you will need between 6 - 8 halves.
Serving size of half a pepper is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. For a heartier dinner, one whole pepper would be a serving.
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Serving Size:1/2 pepper
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 638mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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