Cheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers

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.

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


  • 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.

quinoa-stuffed-bell-peppers-3 quinoa-stuffed-bell-peppers-4

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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  • 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.


  • 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!

  • 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?


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Maureen, I’m so glad you and your family like the recipe! To answer your question, you have to cook the quinoa and steam the bell peppers which adds to the overall cooking time.

  • 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?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Nancy, I don’t see why not, though I haven’t tried freezing them. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

      • Nancy

        I ended up freezing them. I took one out and thawed it and then cooked it per your directions. It was very good!

  • 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!

  • dora

    Soooo I accidentally put a tsp of ginger powder in this instead of cumin, but I ALSO added the cumin after I realized my mistake and it was amazing. lol

  • megan

    Solid prep guideline (par boiling, baking time) but overall the recipe was pretty bland, and I had added a few cloves of garlic and some chipotle powder. I still have some of the mix left so am going to add more garlic and possibly some canned chiles to try and really make it tasty.

  • Leisa


    Thank you for this recipe! I made it for a gathering where there were vegetarian guests. These were easy and delicious. If any are on the fence to try these, take the plunge! I will definitely make them again.

    Here are my cook’s notes: Sliced the peppers in half rather than just cutting off the tops. (If cutting tops, slice a small amount off the bottom to square up pepper so it will sit well). I added a can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles. Added one chipotle in adobo sauce and some of the sauce. For those who like spicy dishes but have to accomodate tamer tastes, it would be easy to make 1/2 of mixture spicy and 1/2 more tame and using qty of adobo sauce/peppers to calibrate heat. Added a bit of chile powder. Used roasted cumin which has a bit of deeper flavor than regular cumin (to my tastes). Also used Mexican cheese mix v. cheddar.

    I thought the quinoa paired wonderfully with the black beans and the spices and gave the dish a wonderful texture. I will make this dish again for a meatless, yet satisfying and delicious meal at home. I am also forwarding to some friends, who like me, sometimes struggle with finding a vegetarian dish to accomodate others. This will be my go-to!

  • robin

    I LOVE this recipe… I’m going to try to freeze the filling before adding cheese. Have a bunch of swiss chard I need to use so I’ll add that to the mix!

  • Lisa Ouellette

    This recipe appealed to me the first time I saw it and have been holding the thought ever since. This week, followed through and despite a completely simple ingredient list I was surprised at how flavorful and satisfying these were. Great for leftovers too. Delicious!

  • Kristina

    This was so good! I had a bunch of cilantro that wasn’t improving, if you know what I mean, and so I used more like 3/4 cup and it turned out delish! Very cheesy.

  • Lea Andersen

    Good fact about quinoa! Quinoa (“keen-whah”) is rich in protein than any other grain or seed and offers a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids our bodies can’t make on their own. It’s also a great source of calcium and is high in lysine, the B vitamins and iron. Better still, the seed is easy to digest and gluten free.

  • Karen E

    could you prepare these ahead and freeze?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Karen, I haven’t tried freezing them, but I don’t see why it would work. If you give it a whirl let us know how it turns out!

  • Ellen Paton

    Made a batch for dinner last night… put a little more cumin in them. Never too much cumin! Tasty… these will go into our dinner rotation!

  • Sandy | All Cooked UP

    I’ll atest that this recipe for stuffed bells is delicious. I didn’t make enough the first time as my kids wanted seconds. I’ll be making a larger batch next time!

  • Christine

    Wow! This dish is a winner! This is why I love your site so much, Elise. This was easy, tasty and healthy. My vegeterian husband said it was the best stuffed pepper that he has ever eaten. My carnivore, quinoa-hating son said, “mom, if you want me to eat quinoa, make this dish!” Thanks! I will enjoy experimenting with this recipe, although it is quite good as is. Last week I made your dad’s recipe for stuffed peppers. They were good too. Thanks!


  • Kate

    These look yummy! I’ve never tried cumin before, may I use something else? Or will it taste good without it? I really want to try and make this, but I want it to taste good, I just don’t know what cumin tastes like.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kate, you could add some chili powder instead of the cumin.

      • Kate

        Hi, I just made these and they came out great! Very tasty. I only used 2 cups of cheese and chili powder like you said. My family even liked them which is very hard to please them.

  • Ruth Plymale

    Can these be made in a slow cooker?

    • Elise Bauer

      Probably. If you try it in a slow cooker, please let us know how it turns out!

  • drongo

    I don’t like goopy melted cheese (which is probably a capital offense in some states, so I shall remain anonymous) but I made this with cotija (which softens but doesn’t really melt – similar to feta in that respect). Very good! Thanks Elise.

    • Elise Bauer

      I’m glad you liked it! I’ve also made it with cottage cheese instead of cheddar, liked it too. Quinoa just likes cheese.

  • reen

    And here I and my family thought I made the be-all and end-all of the stuffed pepper…LOL! My version is on the Italian side, but this Southwest-ish flavor looks divine too – and healthy. I typically skip using any water methods to soften the peppers, just pop them in the oven long enough to heat the filling/melt the cheese, and let the peppers get a bit browned but retain their crunch. I’m definitely trying your filling style this weekend!

  • Sandy S

    Quinoa for stuffed peppers! What a great idea! Love the generous doses of cumin and cilantro along with everything else, Such an intriguing change-up! I will be using a non-dairy cheese. I have found a mozzarella flavored version that I like, and will try it. May also top one or two peppers with a slice of tomato brushed with olive oil and salt and pepper, to see what that tastes like. Forgive my variations. The pictures of the beautiful cheese topped ones are making my mouth water!! Who would not say “I’ll have one of those!” in a buffet line? Going dairy free seems to be improving my energy level and brain fogs, otherwise I would be going cheddar all the way! None-the-less, I am so motivated to make this recipe!! And happily all the ingredients are on hand!

  • Emily van Kampen

    I love this recipe! It would be a good way to get my family to eat quinoa, as they don’t like it in a salad or something. I think they do like this!

  • kurinji

    healthy and yummy recipe…

  • Kate @

    Yum! I just made quinoa vegetable stuffed peppers the other day and smothered them in cheese also. They were so yummy and yours sound awesome with the black beans! I like that you used a mix or yellow and red peppers, it’s more fun that way.

  • KalynsKitchen

    That sounds so delicious. I’d love Poblano peppers in mine, please!

    And we’re both on the stuffed pepper wavelength.