Many people like to eat to feel good and have more energy but don’t want to give up some of their ‘favorite’ foods. It’s not necessary to give up anything, just ‘crowd it out’ by eating more delicious dishes that are mostly vegetables; along with protein-packed quinoa and a mix of spices and fresh herbs. The filling for these Stuffed Peppers combines meaty black beans, protein-packed quinoa, spinach, tomatoes, and a mix of warm spices.
STUFFED PEPPERS WITH MEATY BLACK BEANS AND PROTEIN-PACKED QUINOA
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes. Serves: 4
4 large bell peppers
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced (leave for 5 minutes before using)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
3 cups cooked quinoa
4 medium tomatoes or 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/3 cup of cilantro, chopped
Sea Salt & fresh ground pepper
Garnish: Fresh sprigs of cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush a thin layer of olive oil across the bottom of a large baking dish. Prepare the peppers, cut hole in top around stalk and remove along with the seeds inside. Wash and turn over to drain.
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and paprika, season with salt and pepper; cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the black beans, spinach, quinoa, and tomatoes, and mix together to fully combine. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro.
Use a spoon to fill peppers with quinoa stuffing and top with crumbled goat cheese. Arrange peppers in a large baking dish and cover with tinfoil. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove peppers from the oven. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.
Note: Another way to prepare the peppers is by cutting them in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, wash, set aside; stuff and bake.
Hint: When reheating leftover peppers, sprinkle a spoonful of vegetable stock over the stuffing to keep it moist.
HERBED POMEGRANATE SALSA
Prep time: 15 minutes. Chilling time: 2 hours. Serves: 4
1-1/2 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
1-1/2 bunches fresh cilantro, chopped
1-1/2 bunches Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 pomegranate, skin & light-colored membrane removed
6 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp grated lime zest
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 Serrano pepper, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
In a medium size bowl, toss together mint, cilantro, Italian flat leaf parsley, red onion, pomegranate, lime juice, lime zest, jalapeno pepper, Serrano pepper, tomato, and olive oil. Season with salt and white pepper. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.
KALE WITH BLACK-EYED PEAS AND BARLEY
Prep time: 15 minutes. Serves: 4
½ bunch kale
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground sea salt
1 can black-eyed peas, heated & drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp minced shallot
1 cup cooked pearl barley
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Wash and dry the kale, and remove the thick stems. Tear the kale and toss with the olive oil and salt. Using your hands, massage the kale between your palms for about five minutes until it has reduced in volume by about half and the color has changed to a deeper green.Add the black-eyed peas, shallot, barley,olive oil, hot sauce, vinegar and black pepper; toss. Serve room temperature, warm or cold.
Hint: To this recipe I added some cooked beetroot and a little goat cheese to go with the STUFFED PEPPERS.
Note: When you rub (massage) tough kale between your hands for a few minutes with a small amount of oil, it transforms the texture of tough kale into something supple and tender.If this is new to you, then you’re in for a treat!