Quinoa stuffed Bell Peppers


Quinoa is actually a plant-based seed with a great nutritional profile that we consider to be a whole grain. It is a gluten-free complex carbohydrate and a great source of manganese, magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber. Not only is it anti-inflammatory, helps balance blood sugar, and supports digestion, but it also contains all of the essential amino acids that other grains don't have. The serving size for quinoa is 1/2 cup cooked.

This vegan dish can be enjoyed as is, over a green salad, or accompanied with 3oz chicken or fish for a non-vegetarian meal. 


1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups filtered water or vegetable broth for more flavor
1 Tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable broth for a healthier saute
1 red onion, chopped
½ pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
7 bell peppers (Tops removed, cored and seeded. Reserve 6 and chop one up to add to the stuffing)
½ cup chopped parsley
1 cup spinach
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and pepper to taste
½ cup raw cashews


Cooking Quinoa:
  1. Combine quinoa, a pinch of salt, and water or broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Quinoa grains will appear translucent when cooked. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
Making the Stuffing:
  1. In a large pan, heat coconut oil or broth over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes. Add carrots and chopped pepper and cook for another 3 minutes or until soft. Add parsley and spinach and let spinach wilt. Stir in cinnamon, cumin, and cooked quinoa and toss gently. Add cashews, salt and pepper to taste and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool until warm.
  2. While the stuffing is cooling, preheat oven to 350° F
  3. Take 6 remaining bell peppers and fill with the quinoa stuffing by gently packing it down with a spoon. Once filled, put reserved top on each pepper and set them upright in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour or until peppers are tender, check halfway through.
Servings: 6


Feel free to add your favorite vegetables to the stuffing and add some crushed red peppers or cayenne pepper if you want it to be a little spicy. I would personally omit the cinnamon if adding cayenne pepper. 


The World's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan
Flavors of Health by Ed Bauman, Ph.D. and Lizette Marx, N.C. 


Happy Snacking

Half a grapefruit and 1 Tablespoon of almonds

I frequently get asked about healthy snack options. When we're on the go, It's not always easy to find a healthy snack in a vending machine, gas station, or coffee shop that will give us the nutrients our body needs to go on with our busy life. I recommend having 2 to 3 small snacks throughout the day to keep the metabolism up and prevent overeating at meal times. A good snack should be a good balance between complex carbohydrates* to give you a good energy boost and protein to keep you full longer. Here are some delicious snack ideas that I like that will hold me over until the next meal and won't take much time to prepare:
  • Celery sticks with 1 Tablespoon nut butter of your choice (Make sure you get a natural kind and not one with added sugar. Ingredient list should only read: nuts, That's it!)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw nuts
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Your choice of vegetable(s) with 2 Tablespoons hummus
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame sprinkled with sea salt
  • 1/2 apple or 1/2 banana with 1 Tablespoon nut butter and sprinkled cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt with 1/2 cup berries and/or 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 3 oz (about 1/2 cup) steamed sweet potato with 2 Tablespoons goat cheese
  • 1 oz smoked salmon on top of seed crackers (I make my own, but I buy 'Mary's Gone Crackers' when I don't get to baking) and sprinkled with black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons goat cheese with seed crackers (One serving is 13 crackers) or cut up vegetables
  • Mix 2 Tablespoons nonfat greek yogurt with any herb and/or spice (I make mine with dill and black pepper) to create a dip and enjoy with carrot sticks or cucumber
  • 1 string cheese (part-skim) and 1/2-3/4 cup of berries
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal (you can prepare this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for later) topped with 2 Tablespoons chopped nuts and cinnamon
I know you might think these portion sizes are very small. These will obviously vary depending on each individual's calorie needs for the day, but these are the average serving sizes. Just remember, this is only a snack, not a meal. Although all these snacks are healthy, portion control is always something to consider. This goes for beverages as well, they count towards your daily calories and sugar intake if drinking something sweet. Drink lots of water and herbal tea to stay hydrated. If you don't like the taste of water you can squeeze some lemon juice in it or add cucumber or fruit to give it flavor.

Trust me, you'll feel way better after having one of these energy boosting snacks and won't be inserting all the empty calories and high amounts of refined sugar that other snacks out there contain. Try having a healthy snack with you at all times to avoid going for something packaged that will do your body no good.

Complex carbohydrates are those that are not refined and take longer to breakdown, keeping your blood sugar balanced. These are found in whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots. 

Orange bell peppers and cherry tomatoes with 2 Tbsp goat cheese sprinkled with fresh ground pepper and dried basil leaves