Cakes are so passé. To celebrate my favorite Pisces turning a year older, I stuffed red peppers full of deliciousness and quinoa; after all, we needed the protein to power up for a celebratory karaoke sing-a-thon that lasted til 2 AM.
I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen as a baseline, but changed the filling up a bit. These were a hit. Not only are they good looking and good tasting, they are fun to make and eat while practicing your Journey vocals. And they hold a birthday candle surprisingly well (even if you forget to buy matches and have to light the candle on the gas stove, hoping that you will not singe your eyebrows off in the process).
Happy birthday, Ryan!
Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers (makes 6 red peppers. Together, we ate 4 , and there were 2 left over for lunch the next day!)
Adapted from this recipe by Smitten Kitchen
- 6 red peppers
- 1 orange pepper (for a little pepper inside of pepper filling…very meta)
- 1 medium sized zucchini
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups veggie or chicken broth
- chopped parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 T pine nuts (I know these are crazy expensive, but I was given some so I used them. Some other cheaper nut would probably be a fine substitute.)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
To make the quinoa, place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered 10-15 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the quinoa are spreading their “flags”. You can taste to make sure it’s done.
Meanwhile, heat the over to 350F. Cut the red peppers an inch or so from the top, core them out and pre bake them on an oiled baking sheet for 12 minutes to soften them.
Dice the onion and garlic and cook in an oiled saucepan over medium low heat. Chop the pepper and zucchini (I cut mine into quarters lengthwise and then chopped into little triangles). After 3 min or so, add the zucchini and pepper and continue to sautee until the veggies become soft.
When the quinoa is cooked and the veggies are ready, combine them in the pot and add the chopped parsley, salt, red pepper flakes, and pine nuts. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Fill the pre-baked pepper shells up to near the brim, then add a layer of shredded cheese. You might have a little filling left over to give to a hungry sous chef.
Put back in the 350 oven for 15 minutes. Then serve. If you have leftovers, they reheat well in the microwave.