When it comes to preparing hearty meals, it's quite common to tend toward the ways of thinking that say meat is the cornerstone of a filling, well-balanced meal. While many people find meat to be both delicious and filling, there are a lot of ways to prepare vegetarian meals that are just as, if not more, hearty than meals that feature meat as the centerpiece. For many, one of the main challenges of a vegetarian diet is ensuring that you are getting enough protein while still getting to enjoy vegetables galore. Problem solved. We picked up some bell peppers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs from the farmers market and incorporated them into this recipe for stuffed peppers that also includes quinoa and black beans. For starters, quinoa's health benefits are off the charts--it is already one of the most protein-rich foods you can eat, and also contains plenty of fiber. This hearty dish is definitely a crowd-pleaser, and takes just over 40 minutes to prepare AND bake.
A few simple stepsPreheat the oven to 380F and start the quinoa before doing the rest of the veggie prep. The quinoa should be cooked according to the directions on the package (generally all you do is put double the amount of water in the pot along with the quinoa, bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water has absorbed). While the quinoa is cooking, you'll start by slicing the tops off the bell peppers and setting them aside. Be sure to remove the seeds and any of the white insides. You don't need to save the tops, although if you want to impress your guests, putting a few of the tops back on the baked peppers before you serve them is a fun way to present them to the table. Rinse and drain the black beans and add them to a medium-sized bowl. Dice the tomato and add that to the bowl, and add the cloves of garlic, which should be finely minced. Hopefully by now the quinoa should be done cooking, and after giving it a minute to sit off the burner, you can add the quinoa to your bean and tomato mixture. At this point you can add in your chili powder, salt, pepper, and cilantro (which we would recommend preparing in a rough chop first) and then mixing well.
Taking care not to spill the eggs over the edges, place the sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. You'll know they are finished when the white of the egg is cooked through and the yolk is starting to develop a bit of a cracked skin (if the yolk begins to brown, take them out of the oven, they are probably done!). This dish is best served hot, so transfer them to a tray, top them with the pepper tops, and get ready to wow your guests with this hearty vegetarian meal--enjoy!