After last week’s ‘mystery illness,’ which left me exhausted, sans appetite and in full-fledged pity party mode for several days, I’m finally getting around to posting this recipe, which I managed to cook and photograph before the symptoms appeared. It’s a delicious dish and one I’ve made a few times now – so don’t go thinking it was the cause of my nausea or anything along those lines, haha 😉 The problem was I was feeling so distinctly (and very uncharacteristically) grossed out by food that I couldn’t even bear to write about it. It was rough few days.
The starting point for this dish comes from a recipe on the fantastic Veggie Belly website, which uses Thai curry paste to flavour fried rice. After I tried the original recipe I thought to swap out the rice for quinoa, add black beans for additional protein, some pineapple for a little sweetness, and a bit of coconut milk just because it pairs so well with curry. Then I thought to throw the whole lot in some bell peppers, which make perfect edible receptacles. That’s how this recipe evolved – I suppose it bears little resemblance to the original apart from the Thai curry paste, but there you have it!
The concept of stuffed peppers is hardly new, but something must have been in the air last week because not one but two other quinoa and black bean stuffed pepper recipes appeared in my WordPress reader just as I was preparing my own version! I can’t recall the source of the first recipe, which is too bad because it looked really good, but the second appeared on one of my favourite blogs – Love & Green Juice – and can be found here. Larissa’s version has more of a Mexican vibe, which goes to show you can put pretty much any spin on a stuffed pepper!
This recipe can easily be doubled and makes great leftovers. I like keeping my leftover peppers wrapped individually in aluminum foil (they can also be frozen this way), then throughout the week I throw them in a 350F oven for 20 minutes or so until hot. They also make a great portable meal – bring them with you in a ceramic or glass container and reheat in a microwave for a healthy and filling snack or lunch 🙂
Recipe: Curried Quinoa, Black Bean and Pineapple Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 4 medium bell peppers
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup water (to cook quinoa)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a bit more to grease casserole dish)
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1/2 cup pineapple, diced
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 1/2 cilantro, chopped (plus a bit more for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons yellow or green curry paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Bragg’s All Purpose Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons of sambal olek
Prepare quinoa: In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Let cook for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Place in fridge to cool.
Blanche peppers: Remove tops from peppers and scoop out inner seeds. Fill a large saucepan or stock pot with water (enough to cover 4 bell peppers) and bring to a gentle boil. Add peppers and blanche just until tender crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside until needed.
Prepare quinoa filling: In a medium bowl whisk together coconut milk, green curry paste, Bragg’s and sambal olek. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and zucchini and saute until tender. Add garlic and ginger and saute just until garlic begins to brown. Fold in black beans and pineapple. Remove quinoa from fridge and add to skillet. Add coconut milk mixture and gently stir until everything is combined. Fold in cilantro. Remove skillet from heat.
Finish peppers: Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a casserole dish (the one I used is about 9″ in diameter and 5″ deep) with olive oil and set aside. Fill each bell pepper with quinoa mixture and stand upright in casserole dish. Cover casserole dish and place in oven for 15 minutes or until peppers are hot all the way through.
Remove from oven and serve, topping each pepper with chopped cilantro and freshly ground black pepper. Eat!