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My mom, bless her heart, was not the best cook. But she tried. While her repertoire was not varied, the few dishes that she did cook were quite good.
One of my favorites was stuffed bell peppers. When she made it, she stuffed the peppers with a mixture of seasoned ground beef and rice. While I still enjoy her recipe from time to time, I tend to eat less meat and have adapted her recipe using quinoa.
If you still haven’t given quinoa a try, you’re missing out. Most people say it tastes deliciously nutty. But my favorite thing about it is its nutritional value…
Just one cup of uncooked quinoa contains 24 grams of protein, close to 48 percent of the recommended daily value (DV), which means quinoa does not need to be combined with other foods to make a complete protein equivalent to meat, fish, and eggs or dairy. Plus, it’s only 16 percent fat.
Quinoa contains virtually no sugars and boasts 36 percent of the DV for carbohydrates (mostly as starch) and a whopping 48 percent DV for dietary fiber. Even though it is lacking in vitamins C and D, it is a vegetarian powerhouse of other vitamins and minerals. Did I mention it’s gluten-free? And, best of all, it cooks in about 15 minutes.
The other tasty part of this recipe is of course, the bell peppers. You may not have heard but a study posted in the Annals of Neurology reported that eating peppers is a great way to keep your nervous system healthy. In fact, they found that eating peppers may lower your risk for Parkinson’s disease — up to 30 percent — if you eat them two to four times a week.
I like to top my stuffed peppers with parmesan cheese. You can use the cheese of your choice, but parmesan has some heart healthy benefits you may not want to pass up…
As far as I’m concerned, eating healthy never tasted so good, or so easy. I used boxed quinoa in my recipe for quinoa stuffed bell peppers. Just cook it following directions on the box then proceed as directed below…
- Box of quinoa (cooked according to directions)
- 4 or 5 bell peppers
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 1 large tomato, peeled and diced (may substitute canned, but avoid plastic-lined cans)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Prepare quinoa as directed. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a shallow pan, heat olive oil and sauté garlic and onion until translucent. Add cooked quinoa and stir together, then add diced tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Clean and core bell peppers, then stuff with quinoa mixture. Place in casserole dish with sides so they don’t fall over, or use crumpled-foil to steady them. Cook covered for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Return to oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is golden.