I volunteer to cook at a local shelter once a month with a group from church. I’ve typically signed up for side dishes and desserts, but this time I signed up to make the main dish. After almost running out of time with my roasted potatoes last time, I wanted to make something that would be reasonably easy to assemble. These were fairly easy to make, and I was able to make 86 of them by myself in 2 hours (including all prep work of halving and gutting 43 peppers).
When I was thinking about what to stuff the peppers with, I was thinking about ground beef. I knew I needed something else to mix with the beef. I thought about rice, but ultimately ended up with quinoa because I thought it would have a good texture to go with the ground beef. The peppers were a hit, and lots of people came back for seconds. I will definitely be making these again at home, and I will probably add spinach to the filling.
This is a good low-cost meal because the quinoa makes a good filler to go with the beef. It’s filling, has a good texture, but isn’t as expensive as ground beef. Excluding the salt-free all purpose seasoning, garlic powder, and salt, this recipe was less than $1.50 per serving. I calculated this price based on ingredients to make 6 whole peppers, not the mega-sized recipe where I saved for buying ingredients in bulk.
This recipe is in my blog’s gluten free category, but check the all-purpose seasoning you’re using to make sure it’s gluten free. If it’s not, substitute your preferred combo of any of the following: oregano, thyme, parsley, celery seed, paprika).
Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Ground Beef, & Basil
- Baking dish
- 4 to 6 bell peppers
- 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp salt-free all purpose seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 package shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
- Preheat oven to 375°, or 350° convection.
- Place diced onion in a large mixing bowl, and stir in basil, salt-free all purpose seasoning, and garlic powder. Set aside.
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large pot.
- Meanwhile, begin cooking ground beef over medium heat.
- When the beef is fully browned, remove it from the pan and let it sit in a bowl with paper towels to absorb the extra fat.
- The water should be boiling by now. Add the quinoa to the water.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is simmering, prep the pepper halves by cutting them in half, removing the stems, and scooping out the remaining seeds and membrane with a spoon. Set peppers aside.
- Remove the ground beef from its bowl (blot with more paper towels if needed) and add it to the bowl with the onions. Stir to combine.
- Stir in the can of tomatoes and salt.
- When the quinoa is done, add it to the bowl and stir. It can be a bit clumpy, so make sure to mix it well.
- Taste the filling and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Use a spoon to fill each pepper half with filling.
- Line peppers up in a baking dish.
- Top each pepper with cheese.
- Fill the dish with a little bit of water (enough to cover the bottom of the pan).
- Cover with foil and cook for about 20 minutes (15 minutes for convection).
- Remove foil and cook until cheese begins to brown, about another 10 minutes.