Cheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of my favorite recipes from childhood is one for stuffed bell peppers. (We love them so much both my mom and dad have their own versions!) I’ve been experimenting with a quinoa stuffed version and have settled on this one as a great meatless approach to stuffed peppers. 

Although quinoa looks like a grain, it’s actually a seed, native of South America, gluten-free and high in protein. It loves dairy. Milk, farmers cheese, cheddar cheese—all go well with quinoa.

This is a rather simple dish, not that many ingredients, and is flexible in the ingredients. You can use poblano chiles instead of bell peppers for a spicy version. Or add some cooked Mexican chorizo to the stuffing for a meatier take.

Personally I love the more vegetal taste of the green bell peppers with this dish, but any color will do. You can also stir in some corn or toasted sunflower seeds.

Cheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For a non-vegetarian option, cook up some Mexican chorizo on medium heat until cooked through, and mix that in with the stuffing!

Although I've focused on the orange and red bell peppers in the photographs, personally I prefer the green bell peppers with this dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (white or red or both)
  • Salt
  • 6 large bell peppers, any color
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, 2 cups for stuffing, 2 cups for topping
  • 3 to 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Method

1 Cook the quinoa: Place 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, covered. Spread cooked quinoa out in a baking dish to cool quickly.

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2 Steam the bell peppers:  Cut the top 1/2 to 1 inch off of the bell peppers and remove the core and seeds inside. (If you want, you can finely chop the pieces of good bell pepper you've removed and include them in the stuffing, otherwise, save them for another use.)

Fill a large pot with an inch of water. Place a steamer rack in the pot, place the pepper shells on the steamer rack, cut side up. Bring to a boil, cover and steam the peppers 5 to 10 minutes, until they begin to soften.

3 Make the filling: In a large bowl mix the cooked quinoa, drained black beans, 2 cups of the grated cheddar cheese, most of the green onion (save some for topping), cumin, and cilantro if using.

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4 Stuff the bell peppers with the stuffing you've prepared. You should have plenty of stuffing, you can pack it and mound the stuffing in the peppers. Place 1/4 cup of water at the base of the peppers.

5 Bake: Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Then remove from oven, uncover, top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese, and return to the oven to cook, uncovered, until the cheese has melted about 5 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining finely sliced green onions to serve.

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Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers

Showing 4 of 32 Comments

  • Brandi

    This is amazing!! My kids gobbled it up! I added a little tomato bouillon and salt to the quinoa/bean mix and eliminated the cilantro and green onions because we don’t like them and it was so good. Will definitely be making this again!

  • vivian

    Very, very good. The filling was moist, but not soupy. I loved it!

  • Nancy

    Can you freeze and cook these later?

  • Matt L

    Needed a quick recipe to cook for 6 people at my house. Ton of Vegans / Vegetarians, so I’ll make the cheese optional but this is a bomb recipe and easy for beginners. Much thanks to you.

  • Stefanie F

    This is a great, versatile recipe. I’ve tried it with and without the chorizo (both good!), and with about half the amount of cheddar since I get plenty of that in my diet already. My husband, who usually won’t touch quinoa, loves it. We’re both very grateful for all the awesome recipes you’ve posted here. This is my go-to site for just about everything food related. Thanks!

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