Bell peppers stuffed with black beans and quinoa

October 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm (Beans, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Isa C. Moskowitz)

Stuffed bell peppers are a standard in any 70’s vegetarian cookbook.  Despite being a pretty easy way to disguise “brown vegan mush”, they’ve never really become part of my repertoire.  Before the summer peppers completely disappear, I decided to try the stuffed pepper recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs. chile powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

The technique is to saute the onions until soft, then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until dry.  Then the chile powder, salt, 1 cup. tomato sauce, water, and quinoa are added, and the mixture is simmered for 20 minutes. Afterwards, the black beans and maple syrup are added to the mixture.  The bell peppers are blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes, then filled, topped with the remaining tomato sauce, and baked at 350 for 15 minutes.  The peppers are garnished with cilantro before serving.

My notes:

I followed the recipe exactly except I added 1 minced jalepeno with the onion.

The biggest problem I had with this recipe is that 1/4 cup of water was not enough water to cook the quinoa.  I think at least 1/2 cup of water, and maybe 2/3 cup is needed.  After 20 minutes my quinoa was still in hard, white balls, and I had to add more water and cook it for another 10 minutes.

The flavor of the mixture is good.  I wouldn’t have known that there was maple syrup in it, or mushrooms.  Since the quinoa is cooked with the veggies and tomato sauce, it doesn’t become extremely light and fluffy–it has more of a gooey texture. The mushrooms and quinoa form a brown, starchy glue that helps the beans stick together, and adds nuttiness and depth.  The cilantro garnish added a lot of flavor.  The bell peppers, although not overcooked or undercooked, didn’t add that much.  They were sweet, and tasted like bell peppers, but the flavor just didn’t meld that well with the filling.  Derek said he wouldn’t make this recipe again, but he would make the filling again.  He gave the whole recipe a B/B- and the filling a B+/A-.  I liked the filling, but didn’t love it. I think the filling might work well in enchiladas or burritos, or maybe could be used to fill zucchini or halved winter squash.  I’d give the recipe a B-, and the filling a B.

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