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.

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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. Want to use homemade beans? Here’s how to make them ahead on the stove or in a pressure cooker.

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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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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38 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mary Delany-Hudzik

    Delicious! I have made this numerous times and highly recommend it! Make sure you don’t forget the cumin, I did once, and it was very bland.


  2. Margaret

    These are very good but definetely need some jazzing up. Firstly, I think they need more black beans and salt & pepper. I added 1 tsp chili powder & reduced the cumin to 1/2 tsp. Next time I will add more of both and a pinch or two of cayenne. With these additions I think they will be excellent.


  3. Sue

    I have made stuffed peppers with Quinoa for a few years now. My version is to use cut up eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, fresh or dried herbs of choice..and sometimes a can of diced tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes cut up and add fresh spinach and cook for a minute or two then mix in the cooked Quinoa and whatever cheese I am using (feta, cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack whatever I’m in the mood for). Stuff peppers and bake….add more cheese on top the last 5 minutes. I will definitely try steaming the peppers first to reduce baking time…and do the version with black beans. etc. I always use red, yellow, orange peppers and finely dice the tops that I cut up and include in the stuffing!

  4. 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?


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  5. Annette

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


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