Since I’ve discovered my love for quinoa (last year), I get excited anytime I see a recipe with this healthy grain. I didn’t care much for the preparation of this meal, which seemed too involved to me. I like recipes that much more simple to prepare. However, I love quinoa and feta cheese (red peppers, too!), so I was willing to try it. I had all the ingredients, except for the feta cheese, and as a substitute, used a white cheese (queso fresco).
As I feared, it took too much time to put the meal together. I didn’t like the oven part with the red peppers. Also, I decided that I didn’t really care for my quinoa stuffed into the whole peppers. So, with the leftovers, I decided to cut the peppers in strips. I enjoyed the meal, the second way that I’d prepared it, much, much better!
I also loved the inclusion of the butternut squash. Very nice!
I don’t have the best photos of this meal for this post, but I enjoyed the quinoa with the peppers cut this way, much better. It tasted much better than it looks in the photos above. Next time, I’ll use feta cheese, which I know will add even more to the overall taste of this meal.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Feta
adapted from Giada’s Kitchen
as seen on Lattes and Leggings
2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup quinoa
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (reserving 1/4 cup juice)
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup crumbled feta, plus more for sprinkling
1 garlic clove, minced
4 large red bell peppers
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly tender, but still firm. The squash will finish baking in the peppers. While the squash is roasting make the quinoa.
In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, give it a quick stir, and cover with a tight fitted lid. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to steam covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. All of the water should have absorbed.
In a medium bowl, add the tomatoes and reserved 1/4 cup juice, zucchini, basil, feta, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the cooked quinoa and butternut squash. Gently stir to combine. Set aside.
Fill a baking dish with enough water to cover the bottom. The water will help steam the peppers when baking. Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove the ribs and seeds with a paring knife. If the peppers don’t stand up on their own, barely trim the bottoms so they sit flat in the baking dish. Spoon the quinoa mixture into the peppers. Arrange the peppers in the baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil. Sprinkle the peppers with feta and continue baking for 10 minutes until cheese is slightly melted. Garnish with basil and more feta if so desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Tomatoes, zucchini, basil, cheese and garlic.