Cheese…Please?

Ah, Cheese. Like peanut butter is to jelly, or like Jim is to Pam – it can be enjoyed any time, any place, and on virtually anything. It never gets old. But, despite the lovely sensation it has on the taste buds, it also possesses some rather not-so-lovely characteristics.

Cheese is both highly addicting and high in fat. In fact, “cheese is the number-one source of saturated fat in the American diet“. In this article from The New York Times, we see that with just one slice of Domino’s pizza we have consumed 2/3 of our recommended saturated fat intake.

So, you may be wondering, “what is one to eat in a life without cheese?” Well, we have some great news – with less than 10 ingredients there is a solution. That solution is a little thing we like to call the stuffed pepper.

Whether you are dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, or just avoiding cheese in your diet, these stuffed peppers are a nutritious go-to meal, and you will forget cheese ever existed in the first place.

These peppers are full of flavor, and are a healthy option for your next get-together with friends, or binge-watching session on Netflix! So, let yourself indulge in this yummy dish without a single ounce of guilt!

Ingredients

PEPPERS

  • 1 cup quinoa or rice (or a mix of both, if you are anything like me and can’t decide), thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup salsa, plus more for serving
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn, drained
  • Olive oil

TOPPINGS (optional)

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • Fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Add quinoa and vegetable stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy – about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Lightly brush halved peppers with olive oil.
  4. Add cooked rice/quinoa to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients – salsa through corn. Mix to combine the ingredients, then taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  5. Fill halved peppers with quinoa mixture until all peppers are full, then cover the dish with foil.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove foil, increase heat to 400 degrees F, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are soft and slightly golden brown.
  7. Serve with optional toppings, or as is.

Serves 4

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