Middle Eastern Chicken Meatballs with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

This recipe is inspired by my love of Lebanese food. Made with lean ground chicken, turmeric, cumin, and parsley, these easy baked meatballs are packed with Middle Eastern flavors, and (surprisingly) loaded with veggies. Whip them up as a high protein snack or serve them over salad--there are so many things you can do with this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe!

 Turmeric-infused chicken meatballs, made without eggs, dairy or gluten.

Turmeric-infused chicken meatballs, made without eggs, dairy or gluten.

I’ve always loved Middle Eastern food. I remember requesting Lebanese food for dinner as young as five years old. It was one of many cuisines on the dinner table growing up in Sydney.

Our local Lebanese restaurant was nothing fancy. It was a dimly lit place with long strings of beads hanging from the door frame. However, the dishes were fresh and fantastic. To this day, I still think about the kibbeh, and the soft rounds of Lebanese bread from that shop.

I am no Lebanese Grandma, but after testing many variations of this recipe, I can confidently say that these lean chicken meatballs are fresh, flavorful and delicious. Toss over greens, add them to a grain bowl, or eat them all by themselves-- these gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo and freezer-friendly bites are worth the effort! Bon appétit!


Middle Eastern Chicken Meatballs with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

IMG_2403.jpg

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • ½ lb white mushrooms

  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1 lb (455g) ground chicken

  • Cooking spray

Dressing:

  • 6 tbsp tahini

  • 8 tsp lemon juice

  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3 tsp honey

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉ (215℃).  

  2. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray.

  3. Finely chop the mushrooms (or pulse a couple of times in a blender/food processor).

  4. Finely chop the parsley.

  5. Add the parsley, mushrooms, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and ground chicken to a medium-large mixing bowl. Mix until well-combined.

  6. Roll the chicken mixture into 1-inch balls, and place on the greased sheet pan.

  7. Insert the sheet pan into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165℉ (74℃). While the meatballs are cooking, combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water, and, honey in a small bowl. Whisk until well-combined.

Makes 24-26 1-inch meatballs.

Hungry for more? Find additional quick and healthy recipes here.

 Quick Middle Eastern chicken meatballs with lemon-tahini dressing. Delicious and nutritious!

Quick Middle Eastern chicken meatballs with lemon-tahini dressing. Delicious and nutritious!

Beet, Orange, and Feta Salad with Yogurt Mint Dressing

Bring your salad game to a new level with this sweet, salty, and crunchy salad combo! Made with beets, oranges, feta, and mint, this delicious dish offers a fresh take on a classic combination and adds a healthy dose of color to the table.

 Easy beet, orange and feta salad with light and creamy mint dressing.

Easy beet, orange and feta salad with light and creamy mint dressing.

It’s citrus season in America, once again. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched summer berries and stone fruit slowly disappear from the supermarket and citrus, apples and pears take their place. I always feel a little sad to see fresh bluebs leave the shelves, however, I’m excited to embrace Autumn produce.

There’s something wonderful and underappreciated about the versatility of citrus, especially oranges. They add a sweet and acidic pep to any salad, come in an array of colors, and are affordable and abundant. Oranges are also full of vitamin C and a decent source of fiber to help fight off cold-weather bugs, and keep your digestive system healthy. (Get the full rundown on cold-fighting foods here).

Last week I picked up navel and blood oranges from the supermarket and, threw together this delicious beet and orange salad. Fresh mint and juicy orange segments cut through the earthiness of the beets, and greens to create a balanced, flavorful mix. Feta brings saltiness, and almonds add crunch to round out this easy, healthy recipe. Enjoy!

 Healthy beet, orange and feta salad with yogurt mint dressing. Gluten-free and vegetarian.

Healthy beet, orange and feta salad with yogurt mint dressing. Gluten-free and vegetarian.

Beet, Orange, and Feta Salad with Yogurt Mint Dressing

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 3-4 cups baby greens

  • 2 tbsp red onion

  • 2 oranges

  • 1 cup cooked beets (I used these ones)

  • ¼ cup feta

  • 2 tbsp almonds

Dressing:

  • ⅔ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt

  • 4 tsp lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp fresh mint

  • 2 tsp honey

  • ¼ tsp salt


Directions:

  1. Arrange the baby greens on a platter or in a salad bowl.

  2. Thinly slice the red onion, and scatter over the greens.

  3. Peel the orange, removing all the white pith. Cut the orange into segments, and scatter over the greens and, red onion.

  4. Slice the beets into wedges roughly the same thickness as the orange segments. Add the beets to the salad.

  5. Crumble the feta over the salad.  

  6. Roughly chop the almonds, and add them to the rest of the salad ingredients.

  7. Finely chop the fresh mint.

  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the mint, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and, salt. Drizzle the dressing mixture over the salad (you might not need all of it). Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Find more delicious, healthy recipes here.

 Quick beet and orange salad. Add a protein to make it a full meal!

Quick beet and orange salad. Add a protein to make it a full meal!

One Pot Moroccan Tagine with Dried Apricots and Chickpeas

Bring the flavors of North Africa to your kitchen table with this one-pot chickpea and vegetable tagine recipe. Made with a potpourri of spices and veggies, this easy dish is packed with plant-based nutrition, and adds a pop of color to any meal. Plus, it’s ready in under 30 minutes, freezer-friendly, and makes the house smell incredible! Win, win, win.

 Vegan Moroccan tagine made with 6 veggies, dried apricots, and chickpeas. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and plant-based.

Vegan Moroccan tagine made with 6 veggies, dried apricots, and chickpeas. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and plant-based.

Truth be told, vegan meals are a bit of a hard sell in my household. One of us is 6ft 3in and active and those two things alone mean it’s a little trickier to fill up solely on plants.

Nevertheless, I still experiment with the occasional vegan dish. And this hearty vegan stew got the thumbs up from my meat-loving significant other, E.

Infused with cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric, this vegetable tagine recipe is a delightful balance of sweet, savory and aromatic flavors. Moreover, it’s loaded with satiety-boosting ingredients like chunky veggies and chickpeas, making it ideal for plant-based skeptics. Dish it up over a wholegrain or eat it all by itself. Either way, it’s a satifying gluten-free, dairy-free vegan meal. Happy noshing!

6-Vegetable Moroccan Tagine with Dried Apricots and Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • ½ red onion

  • 1 sweet potato

  • 1 zucchini

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • ⅓ cup dried apricots

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes

  • 15oz (425g) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth

  • Cilantro

Directions:

  1. Crush the garlic and thinly slice the onion. Add the garlic, onion and olive oil to a soup pot (don’t turn the stove on yet).

  2. Chop the sweet potato and zucchini into one-inch cubes.

  3. Peel, and slice the carrots into 0.5cm/ 0.25inch pieces.

  4. Slice the red bell pepper into 1cm/0.5-inch-wide strips. Discard the seeds and white membranes.

  5. Chop the dried apricots into quarters.

  6. Place the soup pot on the stove and turn the stove on to medium heat. Cook the garlic and onions until the onions are soft and translucent.

  7. Add the carrot, sweet potato, and red pepper to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

  8. Toss the zucchini, salt, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric into the pot. Cook for another minute or so until the spices become fragrant.

  9. Add the dried apricots, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and vegetable broth to the other ingredients in the soup pot. Bring the stew to the boil, cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes (or until the sweet potato is cooked through).

  10. Remove the lid from the pot, and cook for another 5 minutes uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.

  11. Scoop the chickpea-vegetable mixture into serving bowls, and garnish with chopped cilantro. Bon appétit!

Serves 6.

 Moroccan vegetable chickpea stew with dried apricots.

Moroccan vegetable chickpea stew with dried apricots.

Easy Spinach and Parmesan Quinoa Muffins

Take your savory muffin game to a new level with these easy, high protein quinoa muffins. Made with quinoa, eggs, spinach and parmesan cheese, these vegetarian-friendly muffins are packed with nutrition, and make a great snack or meatless protein alternative. Serve them hot or cold-- either way they’re delicious, healthy and gluten-free!

 Healthy spinach and parmesan quinoa muffins: Vegetarian, gluten-free and delicious.

Healthy spinach and parmesan quinoa muffins: Vegetarian, gluten-free and delicious.

Fun fact: I didn’t really eat eggs until I was in my mid 20s. There was something about the texture and smell that didn’t appeal to me. I was much more of a pancake-eater than an omelet-orderer at breakfast.

But over time something changed. I started eating scrambled egg whites with salt and pepper -- the easiest thing to stomach for a non-egg eater. Gradually, I liked them more and more. Then I conquered omelets, and whole scrambled eggs. These days egg whites are still my preferred taste-wise, but I will quite happily down a whole egg omelet on a Sunday morning.

Forming A New Habit Takes Time

My journey with eggs is not unlike other dietary changes. Whether you’re trying to eat more veggies, or cut back on sweets, it takes patience and practice to get used to new tastes and behaviors. And you might not enjoy it very much at first. Rest assured, it gets better (if it didn’t I wouldn’t be eating omelets on weekends).

Speaking of eggs, I have a great egg-containing recipe for you this week. These little quinoa and muffins have become a staple in our house. We eat them as a high protein snack or as a light lunch/dinner paired with a salad. They’re vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and can be prepped ahead of time...because weekdays are fairly busy around here.

Before I sign-off, there’s one more egg-y thing that’s worth a mention: the yolk. Egg yolks got a bad wrap in the 90s when low-fat was cool, and have been struggling to shake their not-so-healthy image ever since.

Are Egg Yolks Bad For You?

Good news, yolk lovers! Eating 6-12 eggs a week does not appear to impact cholesterol, LDL or triglycerides if you otherwise follow a reasonably heart healthy diet (lots of veggies, whole grains, plant-based fats, and lean protein/seafood) [1, 2].

Eggs are great source of high quality protein and the yolk offers several nutrients including:

  • Vitamin A and carotenoids: Support vision,  immunity and reproduction

  • Vitamin B12 and folate: Support cell division, DNA replication, neurological function, and more.

  • Phosphorus: Supports bone health, metabolism, and cell structure.

  • Selenium: Supports reproduction, immunity, thyroid hormone metabolism, and DNA synthesis

  • Choline: Support the brain and neurological system, fat metabolism, and cell integrity.

 Savory spinach and parmesan quinoa muffins, dotted with cherry tomatoes.

Savory spinach and parmesan quinoa muffins, dotted with cherry tomatoes.

Savory Spinach and Parmesan Quinoa Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach

  • 12 cherry tomatoes

  • 6 eggs

  • 3 cups cooked and cooled quinoa

  • ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, shredded (or crumbled feta)

  • 2 tsp dried basil

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃.

  2. Shred the baby spinach, and halve the cherry tomatoes.

  3. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and aerate.

  4. Add the cooked quinoa, parmesan/feta, baby spinach, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Stir until all the ingredients are well-combined.

  5. Liberally grease a non-stick muffin tin with cooking spray and line each muffin cup with a thin strip of parchment to make removing the muffins easier (see picture above). Alternatively, you can line the muffin tin with silicone muffin cups like these ones to stop the quinoa muffins from sticking to the pan.

  6. Spoon the quinoa and egg mixture into the pre-greased muffin cups. Press two cherry tomato halves into the top of each muffin.

  7. Insert the muffin tin into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the egg is just cooked.

  8. Allow the quinoa muffins to cool. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin, and gently lift the muffins out of the tin using the parchment paper as handles. Serve hot or cold.

Makes 12 quinoa muffins.

Pro tip:

Baked eggs stick to everything! Be sure to spray your muffin tin liberally with cooking spray or line your tin with silicone muffin cups (like these ones) before you add the quinoa muffin mix to the tin to avoid extra scrubbing.

Hungry for more recipes? Find them here.

 These high protein, vegetarian quinoa muffins make a delicious snack or light meal.

These high protein, vegetarian quinoa muffins make a delicious snack or light meal.


References:

[1] Impact of Egg Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes and at Risk for Developing Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Randomized Nutritional Intervention Studies. Richard C, Cristall L, Fleming E, Lewis ED, Ricupero M, Jacobs RL, Field CJ. Can J Diabetes. 2017 Aug;41(4):453-463. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2016.12.002. Epub 2017 Mar 27. Review.

[2] Egg Consumption and Human Cardio-Metabolic Health in People with and without Diabetes. Nicholas R. Fuller, Amanda Sainsbury, Ian D. Caterson, Tania P. Markovic. Nutrients. 2015 Sep; 7(9): 7399–7420. Published online 2015 Sep 3. doi: 10.3390/nu7095344




One Pot Chicken & Turmeric Rice

This is a stove-top version of my favorite dish, chicken rice. My mum has been making this for as long as I can remember and often has a big batch of it waiting for me when I fly back to Sydney. It’s packed with flavor, ready in 30 minutes, and contains three different veggies. Plus, everything is contained within a single pot...because no one likes scrubbing dishes.

 Easy one-pot chicken and turmeric rice. Gluten-free, dairy-free and delicious!

Easy one-pot chicken and turmeric rice. Gluten-free, dairy-free and delicious!

Happy Sunday, friends! Yesterday for the first time in ages I put my phone away for the day and didn’t touch my computer. I love the work that I do but it was SO nice to have a day off. We spent the afternoon at a friend’s barbeque, chatting and sunning ourselves with our SF besties. It’s Fleet Week here in SF so we also got an incredible show from the Blue Angels. (I will never understand how people have the stomach for that job but they put on an awesome show nonetheless).

I’ve been riffing on this one-pot, chicken and turmeric rice recipe for a while. It’s a variation of a dish my Mum makes, and one of my favorite things in the world. We’ve eaten a lot of rice during the development process but I am pleased to say that I think I’ve got it right.

This easy recipe draws inspiration from Indian cuisine, and is wonderfully vibrant and flavorful. It’s ready in 30 minutes, and requires only one-pot, making it perfect for weeknights. It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free for those with dietary restrictions, and offers veggies, lean protein, whole grain carbs, and fat all in one delicious dish. Enjoy!

 30-minute chicken and turmeric rice. Easy, and nutritious.

30-minute chicken and turmeric rice. Easy, and nutritious.

One Pot Chicken & Turmeric Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 1 red onion

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • 1.5 tsp cumin

  • ½ tsp chili powder

  • ½ tsp turmeric (Learn about the health benefits of turmeric here)

  • ½ tsp ground coriander

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 2.5 cups low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup uncooked basmati brown rice

  • 3 cups baby spinach

  • Cilantro


Directions

  1. Thinly slice the red onion, and red pepper.

  2. Slice the chicken breast into thin strips.

  3. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, coriander, and salt.

  4. Add the olive oil, onion and pepper to a large non-stick pan. Place the pan on the stove, and turn on to medium heat.

  5. Cook the onions and peppers until the onions are soft and translucent.

  6. Add the chicken breast to the pan. Stir-fry until browned all over.

  7. Add the spice mixture to the pan. Stir-fry for another minute or so, then add the rice and chicken broth to the pan.

  8. Cover and cook the rice mixture for 25 minutes or until all the liquid has absorbed.

  9. Add the spinach to the pan after approximately 20 minutes.

  10. Fluff the rice with a fork, and garnish with cilantro. Serve warm.

Serves 4.


Hungry for more? Check out more delicious, healthy dishes here.



Gluten-Free, Apple & Cinnamon Banana Bread

This ultra moist banana bread recipe incorporates some of the best Autumn flavors, and is a delightful antidote to cooler temperatures. Made with a combination of apples, bananas, gluten-free flour, Greek yogurt, and coconut oil, this recipe is lower in added sugar than other banana bread options, and butter-free. However, judging by the flavor, you’d never know it!

 Gluten-free apple and cinnamon banana bread made with Greek yogurt, and coconut oil instead of butter.

Gluten-free apple and cinnamon banana bread made with Greek yogurt, and coconut oil instead of butter.

Living in New England for 10ish years, I grew to love Autumn. I am a warm weather girl at heart, but there’s something pleasant about curling up with a warm apple dessert with the leaves crunching outside. Hygge to the max!

Channeling all the New England fall cosiness over the weekend, I whipped up this easy, gluten-free apple and cinnamon banana bread recipe. The weather is pretty consistent all year round in San Francisco (no complaints) however it’s fun to bring a little Autumnal deliciousness to the kitchen.

This one bowl, gluten-free recipe has less added sugar than other banana bread recipes, but still has enough sweetness to be considered a dessert. It infuses the house with fall fragrance, and is the perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee. And you don’t need any fancy equipment to make it. A large mixing bowl, a couple of measuring cups and spoons, and a spatula will do the trick. Cheers to (healthy) hygge!

Pro Tip

Leave the apple skin on the apple for an extra dose of fiber, and nutrition! Inflammation-fighting phytonutrients like quercetin are particularly concentrated in the peel.


Gluten-Free, Apple & Cinnamon Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple

  • 2 medium bananas

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup canola oil

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1.5 cups gluten-free all purpose flour

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • Topping: 1 apple

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉/190℃ and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

  2. Chop the apple into small cubes.

  3. Mash the bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.

  4. Add the eggs, canola oil, coconut butter, Greek yogurt and vanilla to the mixing bowl. Stir until all the ingredients are well-combined.

  5. Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon to the wet ingredients. Stir until all the ingredients are well-combined, and a thick batter forms.

  6. Mix the apple cubes into the batter.

  7. Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin, and smooth with a spatula.

  8. Thinly slice the remaining apple, and arrange on top of the batter.

  9. Insert the loaf tin into the oven, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Start checking the banana bread after roughly 35-40 minutes).

  10. Allow the banana bread to cool. Enjoy!

Makes 1 loaf (approx. 8 slices)

Hungry for more Autumn recipes? Find them here.

 One bowl apple and cinnamon banana bread made with less added sugar than other recipes. The perfect fall dessert!

One bowl apple and cinnamon banana bread made with less added sugar than other recipes. The perfect fall dessert!

Easy Greek Chicken Burgers with Tzatziki

Bring the flavors of Greek cuisine to your dinner table with this quick and easy chicken burger recipe. Stuffed with lemon, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and feta, this recipe is bursting with flavor, and an easy way to please a crowd. Plus, they’re on the table in under 30 minutes, and loaded with nutrition. Hooray for burger night!

 Easy Greek chicken burgers stuffed with lemon, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and feta.

Easy Greek chicken burgers stuffed with lemon, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and feta.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a burger fan. It was one of my go-to kids meals at restaurants, and remains one of my favorite dishes. And I’ve devoured some pretty delicious patties in my day.

In Boston, I was all about the Craigie Burger at Craigie on Main. It’s only served at the bar, and virtually impossible to replicate (read more about that here). I once waited over two hours for that burger, and it was worth it.

In San Francisco, Roam Burger has been my go-to. Their burgers are affordable thoughtfully-sourced and most importantly, delicious. If we’re going to eat out, Roam Burger is usually on our short list.

We also do burgers at home, and this Greek chicken burger recipe has fast become one of my favorite weeknight meals. It’s made with a handful of kitchen staples, like powdered garlic, dried oregano, dried rosemary, and lemon, and on the table in under 30 minutes. The grated zucchini keeps the patties extra moist and adds an extra (hidden) helping of veggies. Ground chicken can be substituted for turkey, and the result is just as good.

Easy Greek Chicken Burgers with Tzatziki

Ingredients:

  • 1lb (455g) ground chicken

  • 1 zucchini

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • ¼ cup feta

  • ½ lemon

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • Cooking spray

  • 6 whole grain hamburger buns

Toppings:

  • 1-2 ripe tomatoes

  • Lettuce/Greens

  • Store-bought tzatziki


Directions:

  1. Grate the zucchini.

  2. Add the grated zucchini, ground chicken, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder and salt to a medium-large mixing bowl.

  3. Crumble the feta over the bowl.

  4. Juice the lemon, and add the juice to the other ingredients in the mixing bowl.

  5. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly with either your hands or a wooden spoon, and form the chicken into 6 patties roughly 4-inches (10cm) in diameter.

  6. Spray a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Place the pan on the stove and heat over medium heat for 2 minutes or so. (Alternatively, you can cook the patties on the grill).

  7. Add 2-3 patties to the pan. Flip the patties when the bottom side is golden brown.

  8. Continue to cook until both sides are medium brown, and patties have reached an internal temperature of 165℉ (74℃) or the juices run clear.

  9. Remove the burgers from the pan, and repeat with the remaining chicken patties.

  10. Toast the hamburger buns, and thinly slice the tomatoes.

  11. Add a chicken burger to each bun and top with lettuce, tomato slices, and tzatziki. Bon appétit!

Makes 6 burgers.


Serving Suggestions

I like to serve this recipe with a big pile of greens, dotted with tomatoes, cucumbers and balsamic, but any salad will do. If you’re watching your carb intake you can pair the patties with a whole grain English muffin or toast instead of a big pillowy hamburger bun.

 Quick Greek turkey burgers with tzatziki.

Quick Greek turkey burgers with tzatziki.


Vegetarian Quinoa and Black Bean-Stuffed Peppers

Take your meatless meal game to a new levels with this easy, gluten-free stuffed pepper recipe. Made with quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, cumin, lime and baby spinach, this colorful, healthy dish is packed with fresh Mexican flavors and ready in 30 minutes.

 Vegetarian stuffed peppers with quinoa and black beans. Gluten-free and absolutely delicious!

Vegetarian stuffed peppers with quinoa and black beans. Gluten-free and absolutely delicious!

Last week I went on a shopping spree. No, I didn’t find myself loading up on Louboutin’s or going long on a Chloe handbag. Instead, I purchased six bell peppers of varying shapes, colors and sizes from Whole Foods.

Admittedly, this is not the first time I’ve found myself with a glut of one specific veggie. My enthusiasm for fresh produce knows no bounds and sometimes I go overboard. Some people do drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. I do bell peppers.

Nevertheless, with 6 beautiful bell peppers to burn, I found myself experimenting with all sorts of interesting dishes. This stuffed pepper dish is a vegetarian riff on a recipe I developed way back when for the blog. It’s a delicious intersection of meatless and hearty, packed with nutrition, and ready in 30 minutes. This will definitely be on our dinner table again soon.

Fun fact:

A medium red bell pepper contains 253% of the daily Vitamin C recommendation. Move over oranges--bell peppers beat you by a mile.  

 This easy, quinoa and black bean-stuffed pepper recipe is packed with nutrition, and ready in just 30 minutes.

This easy, quinoa and black bean-stuffed pepper recipe is packed with nutrition, and ready in just 30 minutes.

Quinoa and Black Bean-Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 2 red/yellow/orange bell peppers

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic

  • ¼ red onion

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • ½ cup canned diced tomatoes

  • ½ can black beans (7 oz/ 223g), rinsed and drained

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • ½ lime

  • 1 cup baby spinach

  • ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉ (200℃).

  2. Crush the garlic, and finely dice the onion. Set aside.

  3. Cut the peppers in half. Remove the seeds and white membranes.

  4. Spray a baking tray with baking spray (or a drizzle of olive oil).

  5. Lay the peppers skin-side-down on the baking tray. Bake the peppers for 15-20 minutes, until they are just beginning to brown around the edges. (Note: leave the oven on 400℉/200℃ when you remove the peppers. We will return to it later).

  6. Shred the baby spinach and set aside.

  7. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic to a large non-stick frying pan. Place the pan on the stove, and turn the stove to medium heat. Stir fry until the onion is soft and translucent.

  8. Add the cooked quinoa, diced tomato, black beans, salt, and cumin to the pan.

  9. Juice the lime over the pan.

  10. Stir-fry the ingredients for a couple of minutes, then add the shredded spinach to the pan. Continue to cook until the spinach is wilted.

  11. Return to the cooked peppers. Fill the peppers with the quinoa and black bean mixture.

  12. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cheddar cheese over pepper half. Return the peppers to the baking tray, and cook for another 5 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble.

  13. Remove the baking tray from the oven, and serve warm.

Makes 2 servings.

Hungry for more? Find additional vegetarian recipes here.