Tuesday, April 23

Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa is a magical little grain that you can find in just about every market these days (or at least here in California). It easily replaces rice in most recipes, which is how I came up with the idea for these ay-may-zing sausage and quinoa stuffed bell peppers. 
A few of the ingredients you'll need.
I boil my peppers, but you could steam them if you have a big enough basket. I don't like soggy peppers, so I usually don't cook them for more than about 5 minutes. To cut them, just use a paring knife and carve the stem out like you would a pumpkin. Pull any remaining ribs and seeds out by hand.
This is one large, fresh italian chicken sausage with the casing removed that I got from the meat counter at my local Sprouts. Brown it along with onions and garlic. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine.
Then add cooked quinoa, your favorite marinara sauce (mine happened to be homemade) and some parmesan cheese.
Fill each pepper and top with a healthy helping of more parmesan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes. If you like a little crust on the top, broil the cheese until brown and bubbly. Serve with some good Italian bread.

Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 C uncooked quinoa
3-4 green bell peppers, tops removed
1 large or 2 small Italian sausages, casings removed
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C good white wine
1 jar marinara or tomato sauce of your choice
1/4 C parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling

Cook the quinoa according to package directions (I do mine in a rice cooker). Meanwhile, boil or steam the peppers. Drain the peppers on a kitchen towel once they are cooked. In a large, oven safe pot, heat about 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes until it starts to become translucent. Add the sausage in, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, then add the garlic. Once the sausage is no longer pink, splash in the white wine. Turn the heat down and add the marinara sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and add the cooked quinoa and parmesan cheese. Stir until the quinoa is coated with the sauce. Push the sausage/quinoa mixture to the sides of the pot, making room for the peppers. Place the peppers into the pot and fill with the mixture. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately.


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