Serves 4 (or more)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or chicken broth
4 medium bell peppers, varied colors
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic clove, minced
1 link chicken (or tempeh) sausage
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ small zucchini, diced
½ cup chopped spinach, sliced
½ cup chopped broccoli
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, optional
2 ounces feta cheese, divided and crumbled
Rinse the quinoa well by pouring it into a fine colander or strainer and run water through it until the water runs clear. Gently tap the sides of the strainer to allow any excess water to escape. Then combine quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Once it reaches boiling, lower the heat to simmer and cover. Set your timer for about 12 minutes.
Slice the tops off the bell peppers about ½inch down from the stem. Rinse the bell peppers and remove the seeds and ribs from the inside of the peppers. From the tops that were cut off, cut off the bell pepper surrounding the stem – make sure it is well rinsed and then dice and add to a medium size bowl.
Fill a large pot with water and heat until boiling. Once the water reaches boiling, submerge the larger bell peppers into the water and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Remove to a large colander in the sink to allow to drain (or you can set them upside down on a paper towel or two).
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sausage and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Add the reserved chopped bell peppers and broccoli and cook another five minutes. Add pine nuts and cumin and stir for about a minute and then add the diced zucchini, chopped spinach, fresh oregano, and sea salt. Stir for another 3 minutes and then add the cooked quinoa and the feta.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Set the bell peppers in a large rectangular baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Fill each bell pepper with 1/6 of the quinoa and veggie mixture. After all the peppers have been filled sprinkle the remaining feta over the tops. Bake for 25 minutes (or if you have prepared the peppers ahead of time and they have been refrigerated, allow about 30 minutes for cooking.)
You will likely have extra quinoa-vegetable filling leftover. Save it for another meal or make the peppers your main dish and serve additional quinoa filling around the pepper in a shallow salad bowl.
Per Serving: 290 Calories; 12g Fat (3g sat); 12g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 340mg Sodium.