Serves | 4 |

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 medium bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or crumbled Feta, divided
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse quinoa using a fine-mesh strainer or paper towel-lined strainer. Add to a stock pot with broth and cumin. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside.

Slice the top off each pepper and clean out the insides. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, spinach, onion, ¾ cup of the cheese and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the peppers in an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch casserole dish and stuff each pepper with the quinoa mixture. Combine bread crumbs with the remaining cheese and sprinkle onto the top of each pepper. Drizzle the top and sides of each pepper with olive oil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. If the top starts to brown faster than the pepper, cover with foil. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

STACY'S NOTES: Traditional stuffed peppers filled with rice and ground beef can be a heavy entrée in which the mild flavors of bell pepper and rice are completely dominated by the beef and spices. This version subs quinoa for the rice and nixes the ground beef all together, allowing the individual ingredients to shine in a dish that’s light enough to enjoy with a few sides.

When I first started cooking, quinoa was not only a word I pronounced incorrectly but also an ingredient I didn’t know how to work with. Once I discovered how easy it was to incorporate in my usual rice dishes – with the added benefit of a unique flavor you can’t get from rice – I started throwing it in everything.

One of the best things about this dish is the many adaptations you can make to suit your family's taste. Don't dig onion? Kick it to the curb and up the garlic. Miss the meat? Add beans for extra heartiness without the fat. Can’t stand spinach? You can switch up the greens any way you like. For a south-of-the-border spin, add jalapeño to the filling, stuff it in a poblano pepper and top it off with some cotija cheese. This is a dish that you can easily adapt to what you and your family like on the dinner table.