This recipe has been one of my most popular since posting the original two years ago. I’ve recently made some updates and decided to get some new, better photos. I hope you enjoy!
I am a big fan of stuffed peppers … stuffed anything, really. Stuffing something that is already good, really can’t do anything but make that something even better. In this case, crisp bell peppers are turned into a filling and comforting dish.
I’ve used spicy Italian sausage because I wanted a spicy dish – feel free to substitute any variety of sausage (chicken, turkey, sweet, etc) or for the vegetarians, substitute soy crumbles. A nice sage chicken sausage would be lovely in this recipe as well.
*A note on quinoa:
Most boxed or packaged varieties of quinoa are already rinsed, but I’ve mentioned it in the recipe because I often buy my quinoa bulk at the farmers’ market. Like any grain or bean, you want to rinse and remove any debris or dirt. Plus, quinoa seeds are coated with saponins, naturally-occurring plant chemicals that can cause a bitter taste and are intended to keep insects from eating the plant.
If you’re using boxed quinoa, a rinse won’t hurt it to be on the safe side. I like to run the quinoa (placed in a fine mesh strainer) under water until it runs clear. Some people suggest soaking, but I find that unnecessary.
- 4 large bell peppers (I like assorted colors), halved lengthwise and ribs/seeds removed
- Olive oil
- 2 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef)
- 1 cup dried quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 zucchini, diced small
- 1 small yellow onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, plus more for topping
- Optional – fresh herbs such as sage, parsley, or basil, minced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the halved bell peppers on an oiled (or nonstick sprayed) rimmed baking sheet, cut side up.
- Pour the broth in a medium saucepan and add the rinsed quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until broth is evaporated and quinoa soft. (If using a packaged quinoa, you can still use broth to add flavor but follow the package’s cooking instructions).
- As the quinoa cooks, place the sausage in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Transfer sausage to a large bowl.
- In the same skillet, add the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Season with S/P and add olive oil if needed.
- Add the vegetable mixture to the bowl with the sausage. Add the cooked quinoa, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs. Stir to combine; taste and season with S/P as needed. If you want to add fresh herbs, stir them into the stuffing now.
- Divide the mixture between the bell pepper halves and top with more Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Drizzle olive oil on top and bake until the stuffing is browned, Parmesan is melted, and peppers are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
- **If you have extra stuffing, spoon into small baking dishes and place in the oven in the last 15 minutes of cooking, to warm and bake. Serve to those who want more filling 🙂