Black Bean, Sweet Potato, & Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
The nice part about becoming older, is that you truly gain wisdom. It’s kind of weird to think about sometimes, isn’t it? To really acknowledge how much you change each and every year. As I glanced out at the sunrise during my flight to Chicago this morning, I thought about the little (big) things I’ve learned during my 20s (thus far):
- Your time is better spent doing what you love. Always.
- You learn a lot about other people and the relationships you find yourself in and sometimes it’s a pattern. It’s weird.
- You become better at understanding others in a more of an emotional sense. A good thing!
- You realize that sometimes two people just aren’t right for each other, but you accept it, move on, and that’s that.
- You realize you need to be patient when it comes to your career and success.
- BUT You learn to walk away from the things that don’t leave you satisfied with happiness, and then choose to pursue what keeps you smiling.
- You value close friendships more than ever. You leave drama behind.
- You are more thankful for your family because they will always be rock solid.
- You begin to acknowledge the fact that a different location wont change your feelings or allow you to start over. Your location doesn’t control your happiness — YOU do.
- Somewhere along the way, you grow up a bit.
More than anything, I’ve discovered that your 20s are about trials and tribulations. The best you can do is to just be yourself. Only try to change what you CAN control… and the rest? Whatever! Simply put, we all can be better than the people we were yesterday.
After all this, I’ve also realized that growing up means enjoying thing that are actually HEALTHY for your body and mind. Especially food that makes your body feel good on both the inside and out. Unfortunately, inhaling 5 cookies at once won’t bring you any sort of happiness.
Trust me on this. I’ve had several bad experiences with Girl Scout Cookies. Shhhh.
So what should we be eating? Nutritious things from the earth! This means unprocessed whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy natural fats, and things that don’t come from a drive-thru or a box. If this is a weird or foreign concept to you, then please plan a trip to the farmer’s market and clear out your cabinet. I’m going to teach you how to cook and bake oddly delicious things. AND it’s going to be fun.
That’s right, we have to learn when to say no to cookies and when to say yes to mind-blowing delicious vegetarian stuffed peppers like these. Hehe.
You guys know me and my obsession with margaritas and Mexican food. Like hellooooooooo… marqs + chips + guac complete me. I love the flavor profiles of Mexican food so much that nearly every dish I create uses garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, and some sort of chile based sauce. Definitely no apologies there.
But today I wanted to give you a vegetarian (and gluten-free!) stuffed pepper recipe — packed with flavor but WITHOUT mega calories! They’re filling, gorgeous, and probably one of my favorite meals I’ve had in quite sometime.
You must make them! SERIOUSLY.
I find that they are perfect for just about anyone. Make them vegan by leaving off the cheese (or use vegan cheese), plus they’re already gluten-free! If you want an extra satisfying meal, add in a cup of chopped chicken breast to the mix.
I think you’ll get the idea with these totally amazing vegetarian stuffed peppers! Load them with guac and low-fat sour cream or greek yogurt.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if desired
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste if desired
- 3 large red bell peppers, seeds removed and cut vertically
- 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded colby jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a saute pan over medium-high heat olive oil. Add onions, jalapeno. and garlic and saute until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent about 4-5 minutes. Place into large bowl and set aside.
- To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil again. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl.
- While quinoa is cooking place a medium pot over high heat and fill with water, bring water to a boil and add in diced sweet potato. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and continue to cook for about 6 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. This might take more or less time depending on how small you cut your sweet potatoes. Once tender, drain water from sweet potatoes and place into bowl with quinoa and onion mixture. Gently stir in black beans, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
- Arrange bell peppers in large skillet or baking pan and stuff with a heaping 1/2 cup of quinoa mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until peppers are tender. Uncover and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Place in oven for 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Remove and serve immediately with toppings such as sour cream, your favorite hot sauce or guacamole.