I have fallen in love with quinoa and especially these Mediterranean stuffed quinoa peppers. Not only is it good for you but it tastes so delicious if cooked with the right flavours. It can taste so bland if not. The first time I tasted quinoa I didn’t like it. It was in a vegetarian restaurant and they had literally just boiled it to bits with no regard for taste or texture. Quinoa should be cooked with flavour and with a bite to it. If not it tastes soggy and uninteresting and if you want your family to love it then you need to start cooking it the right way with plenty of flavour. For years I’ve been making stuffed peppers with rice but then I started thinking quinoa would taste even better especially the mediterranean way with spices and saffron, roasted cherry tomatoes and feta cheese to add that little bit extra.
First roast your garlic, cherry tomatoes and diced courgettes slowly in the oven for an hour on a low heat. This allows the flavours to sweeten, especially good if your tomatoes aren’t ripe enough. Leave to cool. Next cook your quinoa. I use mixed red and white quinoa as it adds colour and texture (the red has more bite to it) but you can add one or the other if you like. I like to use organic quinoa as you know it’s full of goodness….
I also like to use multi-coloured peppers as these look so much better when served and I just love yellow peppers! Wash them and cut off their tops, scoop out the seeds and reserve the tops as they can be nice to place on the top when cooked.
Spray these with olive oil and season . Then roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime chop your onions and squeeze out your roasted garlic.
Sweat your onions for 10 minutes in olive oil and then add the garlic . Add 3 tablespoons of tomato puree, smoked paprika and saffron and mix thoroughly. Add your quinoa and coat with the spices.
Now add your vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked but still has a slight bite to it. Red quinoa takes a little longer than white so you may want to add an extra 10 minutes if you have mixed them together. The softness of the white quinoa with the bite of the red quinoa adds a nice texture. If you are only using white quinoa then I suggest no longer than 15 minutes.
The liquid should be totally absorbed but if it isn’t then take the lid off for the last few minutes to evaporate the juices. Turn off the heat and add your cherry tomatoes, courgettes, parsley and feta cheese, reserving some feta cheese. Next fill your peppers to the brim with the quinoa and crumble over the remaining feta. Return to the oven for 15 minutes. Delicious served with a green salad.
- 6 mixed peppers
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 courgette diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- pinch of saffron
- 300g quinoa
- 750ml vegetable stock
- a handful of parsley chopped
- Preheat your oven to 150˚C. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and place on a greased roasting tin and season. Add your garlic cloves unpeeled. Add your diced courgettes and spray with some olive oil. Roast slowly in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Turn up your oven to 190˚C. Cut the tops off your peppers reserving them for garnish. Scoop out the seeds and spray lightly with olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
- Squeeze out the roasted garlic from the cloves and sweat with the onions in olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the paprika, saffron and tomato puree and mix well.
- Add your quinoa and mix well to coat the spices.
- Add your vegetable stock and bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes until cooked.
- Add your cherry tomatoes. courgettes and half the feta cheese to the quinoa and mix well.
- Fill the peppers with the quinoa mix and crumble extra feta over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Enjoy.
- If using red quinoa allow an extra 5 minutes simmering time as this takes longer to cook.