These bell peppers are stuffed with a flavorful vegetarian quinoa filling and are perfect for weeknight dinners and meal prep! They're easy to customize and can even be frozen.
If you're looking to add more veggies to your diet, look no further than these veggie-packed stuffed bell peppers. The filling is inspired by my southwest quinoa salad recipe, which relies heavily on pantry staples and canned goods.
The result is an easy and inexpensive vegetarian meal!
- Flavors: These roasted bell peppers are stuffed with a flavorful taco-seasoned quinoa and black bean filling that is easy to customize!
- Great for meal prep: Stuffed bell peppers freeze well and are easy to double.
- Versatile: Add your favorite veggies, use rice instead of quinoa, and choose from fresh, frozen, or canned ingredients.
- Nutritious and delicious: At 14 grams of protein per stuffed pepper, this recipe is nutrient-packed.
- Dietary features: vegetarian, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and vegan optional (just use your favorite vegan cheese)
Ingredients and substitutions
- Bell peppers: You can use any color of pepper but my favorite is red or orange because of their sweet flavor. Green also works but can sometimes be bitter when roasted.
- Black beans: Drain and rinse canned black beans before using or use beans cooked from dry. Choose "no salt added" beans for a healthier option.
- Fire-roasted diced tomatoes: You can also do regular diced tomatoes or tomatoes with green chiles for a little extra kick.
- Quinoa adds a nutty flavor and extra protein. Any color of quinoa works. I recommend rinsing the quinoa before cooking it.
- Corn: Fresh, frozen, or canned works. If it's available to you, fire-roasted corn is especially delicious.
- Taco seasoning: This features onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Feel free to just use a taco seasoning packet or make homemade taco seasoning.
Step by instructions
Step 1. Prepare the quinoa filling. Sauté onion in olive oil until softened, then add garlic cloves, optional jalapeño (if you like spicy!), and dry quinoa.
Toast the quinoa for a minute to enhance this grain's natural flavors. Stir in seasonings and liquid.
Step 2. Bring the quinoa to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until quinoa is cooked and fluffy, about 15 minutes.
Step 3. Stir in the black beans, drained tomatoes, frozen corn (the corn does not need to be thawed), and ½ cup shredded cheese.
Step 4. Assemble the peppers in a lightly oiled baking dish or cast iron. Add 1 cup of the quinoa black bean mixture to each pepper. Push down the quinoa mixture with a spoon to make sure it's tightly filled. Top peppers with shredded cheese.
Step 5. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more, until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
Pro tip: Lightly spray the foil with cooking oil before placing it on the peppers. This keeps it from sticking to the cheesy bell pepper tops.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
- Serving size and extra quinoa filling: This recipe is written for 6-8 large bell peppers. You will likely have leftover filling if making just 6 bell peppers. The leftover filling is great on its own, on top of lettuce in a taco salad, or as a burrito filling.
- Dice the bell pepper tops and saute them with the onion. This adds extra veggies and cuts back on unnecessary food waste!
- Spice level: Sauté one or two jalapenos with the onion for a spicier mixture. You can also add ¼ teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon hot sauce.
- Extra vegetables: Try adding sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, or broccoli for more veggies. Depending on how many veggies you add, you might end up with extra filling.
- Extra protein: This quinoa filling is so good with vegan chorizo or taco tempeh meat mixed in.
- Vegan/dairy-free option: Just use vegan shreds/vegan cheese in place of shredded cheese, or omit the cheese entirely.
You can use an equal amount of white or brown rice in place of quinoa. You will need about 2 cups of cooked rice.
Yes! You can precook the peppers to make them softer when they come out of the oven. Simply add the hollowed-out peppers to a pot of boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes. They should be softened but still firm.
The bell peppers should be covered with foil while roasting or the cheese will cook and burn quickly. Don't take the foil off of the dish until the peppers are about done.
Storage and reheating
- Leftovers: Place the peppers in a closed container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Reheat individual peppers in the microwave until the filling is warmed through. You can also reheat the peppers in the oven by wrapping them in foil and cooking at 325 degrees until heated through.
- Freezing: Stuffed peppers freeze well. Wrap in foil or place in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight (or at least 12 hours) in the fridge before reheating.
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Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 6-8 large bell peppers tops and cores removed; see note #1
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion medium diced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 small jalapeno diced (optional)
- 1 cup dry quinoa rinsed
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn
- 1 cup shredded Mexican style blend or shredded cheddar divided in half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced red onion and salt. Cook until softened and lightly golden, about 4-6 minutes.
- Add optional jalapeno and dry quinoa along with the seasonings (cumin, chili powder, optional smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder). Toast for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. Pour in 2 cups of vegetable broth, stirring to combine.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer over medium-low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
- Once cooked, add tomatoes, black beans, sweet corn, and ½ cup shredded cheese. Taste mixture for seasonings.
- Place bell peppers in a cast-iron skillet or lightly oiled baking dish. Add 1 cup quinoa mixture to each bell pepper. Top bell peppers with remaining ½ cup of shredded cheese.
- Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are about roasted to your liking. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more, or until cheese is bubbling and golden. Remove from the oven and serve.
- Bell peppers: Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers make the best roasted peppers. Green peppers do work but are slightly more bitter after roasting. Dice up the bell pepper tops and saute with onion.
- Foil tip: Spray foil with cooking spray, then place the oiled side of the foil on the bell peppers. This will prevent the cheese from melting onto the foil.
- Vegan option: Just use vegan shreds/vegan cheese in place of shredded cheese, or omit the cheese entirely.
- Storage and reheating: Place the peppers in a closed container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Reheat individual peppers in the microwave until the filling is warmed through. You can also reheat the peppers in the oven by wrapping them in foil and cooking at 325 degrees until heated through.
- How to freeze: Wrap in foil or place in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight (or at least 12 hours) in the fridge before reheating.
- Extra filling can be served in corn tortillas as tacos or as a taco salad with lettuce. You will likely have leftover filling if making just 6 bell peppers.