Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Vegan & Meat Options)

How in the heck is it that I don’t have a recipe for stuffed peppers here on this blog already?! Okay, so I do have this recipe, which is divine. But I mean baked stuffed peppers, dinner style. Filled with rice (or, in this case, quinoa), protein (in this case, black beans) and tons of flavor (in this case, yes).

Stuffed bell peppers are the perfect dinner for us in our multivore home. Can anyone say “individual servings?” Oh man, I love individual servings. That means that each one can be tailored to preferences or diets without hardly having to lift any additional fingers. And everyone’s happy.

Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe - Sweet bell peppers, stuffed with southwestern-inspired goodness. This incredibly versatile dinner can be customized for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.

In the case of these Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, they can be made a myriad of ways. Vegetarian, of course. Vegan, yes – just omit the cheese, or sub vegan cheese, and maybe even add some avocado to the top when serving for some added creaminess. Meaty, you bet. Mix in some chicken and the carnivores are good to go. (Note that most traditional stuffed pepper recipes call for ground beef, but we opt for something a little healthier. Ground beef is also totally doable, though!) Gluten-free? Well, they already are! So, perfect!

I love the mix of flavors and textures in this stuffed peppers recipe. I tried to keep it as simple as possible, because stuffed pepper recipes can get kind of labor-intensive before you even get them into the oven. Cook the rice (or quinoa), saute the onions for the filling, blanch the peppers  … I tried to do away with the those last two. As far as sauteing onions goes, I tried to leave onions out entirely, and no bueno. The filling just didn’t have enough flavor. And you’ve gotta saute the bad boys for maximum flavor (and decent texture). So I do include the step of sauteing onion, some chopped bell pepper, and oregano together.

Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe - Sweet bell peppers, stuffed with southwestern-inspired goodness. This incredibly versatile dinner can be customized for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.

Now, blanching the peppers – this is something that a lot of people suggest so that the pepper has the right texture when done baking. But I found that following Real Simple’s method of cooking the peppers in a water bath worked remarkably well. So there’s one less step!

Really, these do come together pretty quickly, all told. Making the quinoa ahead of time helps (or you could actually make the entire filling ahead of time if you like). Then stuff and bake!

Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe - Sweet bell peppers, stuffed with southwestern-inspired goodness. This incredibly versatile dinner can be customized for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.

Once they’re all baked, drizzle a little sour cream or vegan sour cream over the top, serve with salsa, some avocado, maybe a little extra cheese for the dairy-inclined … perfect weeknight dinner. Sold.

Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe - Sweet bell peppers, stuffed with southwestern-inspired goodness. This incredibly versatile dinner can be customized for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.

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Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Sweet bell peppers, stuffed with southwestern-inspired goodness. This incredibly versatile dinner can be customized for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (cut from the tops of your bell peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese*
  • Assorted toppings: Cilantro leaves, sliced avocado, sliced scallions, sour cream, salsa

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the inside membranes and seeds. Arrange the peppers cut-side up in a rectangular baking dish. 9-inch by 13-inch is a good size.
  3. Cook the quinoa. Rinse it well under cold water, then place in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until fluffy and the water is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Set a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender and the onion is a bit browned, 6-7 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  6. If you’re adding chicken to all, stir that in now. If you’re only adding chicken to some, first fill the peppers you’d like to be meatless, then stir the chicken into the mix, about 1/4 cup diced chicken per pepper.
  7. Finish dividing the mixture between the bell peppers. Carefully add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the baking dish and cover the dish tightly with foil.
  8. Bake until the bell peppers are fork-tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with cheese (omit cheese or use vegan cheese for the dairy-free/vegan versions). Bake until the cheese has browned, about 10 more minutes.
  9. Serve with assorted toppings.

 

Meat option:

Add cooked, diced chicken to the mix – about a scant 1/4 cup per pepper. I first filled three vegan peppers for myself then mixed in about 3/4 cup cooked chicken for the meaty versions.

*Vegan/dairy-free option:

Omit cheese or use vegan cheese.

Note:

The recipe is written so that you’ll have ample filling for just about any size bell pepper, so there’s a chance you’ll have some left over. Which is a good thing! Refrigerate in an airtight container and save it for lunch, top nachos with it, or make taco salads.

Adapted from Real Simple

// All images and text © for Kitchen Treaty.

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Southwestern Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe - Sweet bell peppers, stuffed with southwestern-inspired goodness. This incredibly versatile dinner can be customized for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.

Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.