Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers: Turkey and Chorizo with lots of Veggies

Stuffed peppers look so pretty, and this recipe is pretty healthy too, stuffed with lots of veggies and quinoa.  I like to make dishes that have it all – lots of healthy veg, some protein and a complex carbohydrate.  So I put together some of my favourite ingredients, and this is what I came up with.

You can prepare the filling ahead of time, even stuff the peppers and pop them in the fridge.  Throw them in the oven just before serving, make a little green salad on the side and you’re ready to go!

What you need:

sweet peppers (a dozen mini or half a dozen regular sized)

200 grams ground turkey

1 chorizo sausage, removed from casing

1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked

1 sweet onion, diced

4 mushrooms, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 sweet red pepper (for filling), diced

1 stalk celery, diced

2 tablespoons dried currants

salt and lots of pepper

olive oil

What you do:

1. Before cooking the quinoa rinse it, then put it in a pot with about a cup of water.  Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and put a lid on it, cooking for 15 minutes.  If the water doesn’t all get absorbed in this time, put it back on the heat for a few minutes, stirring until the liquid is gone.

2. Cook the chorizo, removed from its casing, along with the turkey meat.  Drain the fat off and set the meat aside.

3.  In a little olive oil cook the onions on medium-low heat until they start to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.  The onions will  begin to get quite brown, which is exactly what you want, because a lot of the flavour in the dish is coming from the nicely browned onions.

4.  Add the garlic and the rest of the veggies, stirring and cooking until they begin to soften.

5.  Mix the meats, quinoa, currants and veggies together, adding salt and quite a bit of pepper to taste.

6. Cut the tops off the peppers, the  fill each pepper and put the tops back on.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

7.  Arrange them in a baking dish as you fill them, then pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes!

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Capers and Raisins

This recipe comes from my mom – she’s been making it for years.  I’ve just changed a few things – I bake the squash instead of boiling it, which makes it sweeter (I think), I use less oil to cook the onions, and for meat-eaters I serve a bit of fried chorizo on top.  Oh, and a splash of wine, red or white, in the sauce, if I’ve got some on hand.

This is comfort food at its best – it tastes great, and it’s good for you.  I serve it on brown rice pasta, which is better for you and tastes so good, and works better for all the people who need to have gluten-free recipes.  I prefer the texture of it to whole wheat pasta, which seems grainier to me.  Just make sure you don’t overcook it – I always check it a few minutes before the recommended cooking time is up.

What you need:

1 medium-sized butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 finely diced onion

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 dried chili pepper, crumbled

1 – 796mL can plum tomatoes, chopped and undrained

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon capers

salt and pepper

pasta, 3-4 cups cooked, keeping in mind that 1/2 cup or cooked pasta is one serving

chorizo sausage, optional (if you’re in Vancouver, Windsor meats on Main street makes their own amazing chorizo)

parmesan to grate on top, optional (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre)

What you do:

1.  Cut squash in half, remove seeds and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30-ish minutes at 350F, or until a knife pierces it very easily.  Let it rest until it is cool enough to handle.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then add the onion, cooking for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and chili peppers and cook for another minute.

3.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, along with the raisins, capers, salt and pepper and optional wine.  Let this cook for 20-30 minutes, or until much of the liquid has evaporated.  During this time you can boil the water and cook the pasta when the sauce is almost ready.

4.  Cut the squash into cubes.  I make cuts in it while it’s still in the peel, then scoop the squares out.  Carefully stir the squash into the tomato sauce, then combine with the pasta.

Top with a few slices of chorizo and some freshly grated parmesan.  So good, and fabulous as a leftover for my lunch today!



Fresh and Healthy Quinoa Salad

This is a simple and healthy salad that works great for a lunch or picnic food.

Quinoa is a supergrain, originating in South America.  It is an excellent source of iron and fibre, and is a complete protein.  It is also gluten-free.

You need:

1 cup quinoa

1 can corn

1/4 red onion

1 jalapeno pepper

1 red pepper

1 orange pepper

juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup cilantro or parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

What you do:

1.  Rinse the quinoa – this is important to rinse off the slightly bitter coating.  Place in a pot with 1 & 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover pot and cook for 15 minutes.  Take the pot off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool.

2.  Dice onions and peppers and chop cilantro.  Chop jalapeno, removing the seeds if you don’t like it very spicy.  

3.  Mix the veggies in with the cooled quinoa,  along with lemon and lime juices, salt and hot sauce.  You can add the juice along with the canned corn. 

4.  Mix it all up and it’s ready to go, but I like it after a few hours, as the flavours come together and the onion mellows a bit.