These healthy and nutritious quinoa stuffed peppers are filled with extra veggies, spices, nuts and dried cranberries. Topped with garlic and herb yoghurt ranch dressing. These are gluten-free and vegetarian.
3 red bell peppers /capsicums (small)
3 green bell peppers (small)
2–3 yellow bell peppers (small)
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
For the filling
200 g / 1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used mixed colour fair-trade quinoa that has been soaked in lightly salted water for 2 hours)
4 cups of water
1 cube vegetable stock (you could use 4 cups of pre-made veggie stock)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
2 bell pepper tops, diced (from the peppers above)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
A good pinch of black pepper
A handful of dried cranberries, chopped roughly
A handful of roasted hazelnuts or almonds, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the ranch dressing
250 g / 1 cup and a bit of full-fat, unsweetened yoghurt
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons chopped spring onions or chives
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon vegetable stock powder (you can grate or chop a stock cube)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard dressing
Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425 F.
Prepare the peppers first. Cut off the tops with the stem, twist and pull out the core with the seeds and white membranes. Reserve 2 of the red bell pepper tops to add to the filling.
Brush the outer sides of the peppers with olive oil (I use my hands) and place in the oven tray standing up (cut side up). Place the remaining tops in between the peppers. Roast for 22 minutes.
Prepare the quinoa. Add the pre-soaked, rinsed quinoa, water and vegetable stock cube to a large pot and bring to a boil, then cook for 12 minutes over medium heat. Strain the cooking water but reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid in the pot with the cooked quinoa. Set aside.
While quinoa is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions, carrot, celery, chopped bell peppers (2 of the reserved tops without the stem) and a little salt. Sauté veggies for 10 minutes, stirring a few times.
Add the garlic, spices, chopped cranberries, nuts and lemon juice and stir through and turn the heat off.
Transfer the veggie mix to the cooked quinoa and stir through with an extra tablespoon of olive oil.
Remove the peppers from the oven. They should be soft by now. Fill evenly with the quinoa mixture. There might be a little juice from the peppers inside their cavities – this is normal and will combine with the quinoa and add extra flavour and moisture.
Place the peppers back in the oven (still at 220 C/ 425 f) and roast for 10-12 more minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the garlic and herb yoghurt ranch sauce. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or a jar and set aside.
Once done, serve with a generous dollop of yoghurt ranch on top of each pepper and a few chopped cranberries and hazelnuts sprinkled on top. You can also garnish them with some freshly chopped herbs like parsley or coriander/cilantro.
I use the back of the knife and press down on the nuts on a chopping board to crush them. You could also use a food processor or something like this mini hand-held processor.
Refrigerate leftover peppers in an airtight container or loosely covered with foil for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave. I like to have them for breaky with a fried egg on top.