I love stuffed peppers but hate all the saturated fat that comes with the traditional ground beef and cheddar cheese version. Not to mention that we don't really eat a whole lot of meat around here. I had to come up with something or else no stuffed peppers at the dinner table for our family. That's a sad realization, especially heading into the winter season.
My mother-in-law, Cindy, had just mentioned last week how much she loves stuffed peppers but couldn't imagine eating them without the ground beef. I told her of this version and she was hopeful but skeptical. She is from Nebraska and is a true mid-westerner at heart, but like us, she tries not to eat meat very often.
I had made these once before and knew how good they were. It was apparent when every morsel was eaten at the table that night and my daughter Isabella, requested that I make the meal for her birthday (which was months away) that it was a winner.
It went over very well with the in-laws too. I make mine with Morning Star Grillers Veggie Crumbles for the "meat", which you can find in the frozen section of the grocery store. But you can also use turkey. The peppers retain just a slight crunch after baking which work really well with the highly seasoned filling. And filling it is! Just what the doctor ordered on a snowy or rainy day when nothing but comfort food will do.
Skinny Girl Stuffed Peppers
adapted from Bethenny Frankel
makes 6-8 peppers
6-8 bell peppers (colors of your choice)
1 pound turkey meat OR 1-12oz pkg. Morning Star Grillers Veggie Crumbles
1 cup quinoa
1/2 large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 cups jarred tomato sauce (I use organic)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove seeds and core from the inside. Cut the bottom of the pepper flat only if it can't stand level. I usually can skip this step.
Add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups boiling water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring back up to a boil, then turn the heat down and let simmer with the lid on until the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork, then re-cover and let stand off the heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the onion and turkey over medium heat until turkey is cooked through and onions are translucent. Alternately, if using Morning Star Veggie Crumbles, saute the onion first until translucent, about 7 minutes then add the crumbles straight from the freezer and stir and let cook for about 1 minute before adding other ingredients. Add cooked quinoa (which should be about 4 cups) Add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and all the spices. Stir to combine and let everything simmer for 5 minutes.
Fill the peppers with the turkey/quinoa mixture to the top and set in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly over the tops of the peppers and bake for 30 minutes. Take a piece of foil and cover the peppers so the cheese doesn't burn and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes. When peppers are done, sprinkle the tops with toasted pine nuts and serve.