Cheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers

Gluten-FreeVegetarianBell PepperQuinoa

Easy cheesy stuffed bell peppers with quinoa, black beans, cheddar, green onions, and cumin.

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

  • 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.


  • 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)


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.

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.

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

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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35 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Maureen

    This is a family favorite. But there is some confusion re cook time. At the top of the recipe it says 1 hour, 10 minutes. In the body of the recipe it says 35 minutes plus another 5 to 10 minutes. Which is correct?


  • Annette

    My daughter made this and added frozen corn and used mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar. It was delicious!


  • 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?

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