Leftover City: Pumpkin-Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yet another recipe involving pumpkin from yours truly. What can I say, it’s Thanksgiving time! If you’re wondering what you’re going to do with all that leftover pumpkin puree from your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie recipe, I have one for you. It’s easy, cheap, tasty, and healthy without tasting particularly like a health food. You can serve a couple of these as a main course, or use one as a nice, hearty side with your turkey leftovers. Either way, you’re looking at a complete protein, fiber, veggies, and a little bit of savory indulgence (blue cheeeeeese!) all at once. Win win win.

Pumpkin-Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

2 large red bell peppers
3/4c rainbow quinoa
1 1/2c chicken broth
1/2c pumpkin puree
3/4lb ground chicken, browned
3 cloves minced garlic
2c baby spinach
4 tbsp gorgonzola crumbles
salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare the peppers. I used to cut the tops off and stuff them standing up, which looks really cute, BUT it’s kind of unrealistic because whenever I make them that way, they always fall over in the oven or, if they hold up through baking, fall apart while on the plate. Womp womp. Now I cut them the long way and make two little “boats” out of each pepper and it works out quite well! Make sure to scoop out all the seeds and white innards of the peppers before you stuff them…

Start your filling by cooking up your quinoa. Just get the broth to a rolling boil in a saucepan and dump in the quinoa, then let it simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the little “hairs” on the quinoa start popping out. (It’s gross to think of them as hairs, but you know what I mean—the little white threads around each seed.) Mix in salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Add the pumpkin to the warm quinoa and mix it in—the puree will easily melt into the quinoa and make it nice and creamy (and act as a nice binder for the filing). Add your browned ground chicken, garlic, and spinach. Taste the filling and add any more seasonings you may need.

Scoop a generous portion of quinoa filling into each pepper half and top with a tablespoon of gorgonzola. Bake the peppers in the oven for 15 minutes, until the pepper has softened and the cheese has melted into the topping. Let cool for about five minutes, then serve! BTW, you can totally make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the chicken and cooking the quinoa in vegetable broth. You’ll still get a good dose of protein thanks to that quinoa.

Makes 4 stuffed pepper halves.

For more healthy recipes, cocktails, food travel, and restaurant reviews, check out ES Emily’s individual blog, A Time to Kale, or tweet her @emilyteachout.

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