This stuffed peppers recipe is the perfect dish to meal prep at the beginning of the week. Red quinoa and lentils are mixed with fresh vegetables and spices and then stuffed inside of tasty bell peppers. Whether you're vegetarian or not, you're going to love this simple-to-make meatless dish.
This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.
- 6 large, nicely shaped red, orange or yellow bell peppers (or a combination), about 3 pounds
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 Cups cooked red quinoa and lentils
- 1 Cup cooked white or brown rice (or more quinoa and lentils)
- 1/2 Cup dark raisins, or chopped ripe apricot, pear or tart apple
- 1/4 Cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
- 2 Tablespoons za‘atar spice
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground sumac or grated lime rind
- 1/4 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Cups baby spinach, roughly chopped (or half of an 8-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, about 1 cup)
- 3 green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced
- 1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1-2 Teaspoon chopped fresh mint
- 1 jar (18 ounces) tomato sauce
Step 1: Cut tops off of 6 peppers about a quarter of the way down the pepper. Use a grapefruit spoon to remove the core and membranes inside. Shake out all the seeds. Put hollowed-out peppers and lids into a microwave-safe baking dish. Add ¼ cup water; cover with plastic wrap vented at one corner and microwave on high until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Cool. (Refrigerate covered up to 3 days.)
Step 2: Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add half of the chopped onion. Cook until golden, about 4 minutes.
Step 3: Stir in 2 cups quinoa mixture, 1 cup rice (if using), 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1 tablespoon of the za’atar spice, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon sumac, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir in 4 cups spinach, 3 onions, 1/4 cup cilantro and 1-2 teaspoons mint.
Step 4: Mix 1 jar of tomato sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon za’atar spice and ½ teaspoon cumin.
Step 5: Heat oven to 375F. Stuff each pepper tightly with a generous portion of the quinoa mixture. Pour tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the peppers snuggly. Stand the stuffed peppers upright in the baking dish. Place the tops of the peppers in place.
Step 6: Bake until peppers are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with spoonfuls of tomato sauce.