Quinoa is a power-protein seed and a favorite in our household. But with any sort of “grain,” you can make too much of it by accident for a recipe or find that you have boring leftovers that need sprucing up.
I am a person that can’t have the same thing too many nights in a row, so when I have extra quinoa in the refrigerator, something needs to be done with it to make it interesting again.
With that in mind, below is a delicious vegan recipe I came up with to handle extra cooked quinoa. It’s also a fantastic make on its own – no need to wait for leftover quinoa.
Leave a comment with your thoughts and modifications to the recipe below.
“Leftover” Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Serving Size: 6
3 large red peppers, sliced lengthwise and de-seeded
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if you are making low sodium)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
1 Cup vegetable broth
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
1 (16 ounces) can vegetarian refried beans
Large handful from 1 (5 ounces) package fresh spinach
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, coat the bottom of a 9 x 13-in glass baking dish and arrange the peppers with the skin down.
- Roast peppers in the preheated oven until tender for about 30 minutes. Dab the excess liquid that collects in the peppers with a paper towel. Leave the oven on.
- While the peppers are roasting, use the remaining olive oil, heat skillet over medium heat and cook the onion until translucent and softened. Add garlic, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chili powder to the onion; cook and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Mix in tomatoes, vegetable broth, and cooked quinoa to the onion mixture; stirring occasionally. Cook until everything is heated through (about 6 minutes) and some of the liquid has cooked off.
- Stir in refried beans and cook until the beans incorporated into the mixture (about 3 minutes). You want this to have a thick consistency (not too soupy), but you also don’t want it to be too dry, so allow to simmer for a few minutes or add in reserved tomato juice to get the desired consistency.
- Add in spinach, stir until it just wilts. Remove from heat.
- Spoon the mixture into the roasted red peppers, top with nutritional yeast.
- Bake in the oven until the pepper gets crispy around the cut portions, about 20 minutes.
- To reduce the spice level, use only 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder.
- To increase the spice level, add a chopped, deseeded jalapeno to Step 4.
- Add in 1 Cup of frozen sweet corn to step 5 with the refried beans to get a sweet contrast.
- To make non-vegan version: substitute chicken broth and a shredded Mexican cheese blend for the vegetable broth and nutritional yeast respectively. Add any chopped leftover chicken as well.
- Leftover white or brown rice will work as a nice substitute for the quinoa.
Serving size: 1 pepper half
1 Serving: 170 Calories; Fat: 6 g; Sat. Fat: 1 g; Protein: 7 g; Fiber: 7 g
Bonus Recipe – Vegan Nachos
This recipe will leave you extra filling for 3 more peppers. If you don’t want to make another batch:
Leftover quinoa stuffing
1 (4.5 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
Vegan cheese good for melting (or shredded Mexican cheese blend)
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and top with a layer of tortilla chips.
- Mix in green chilies to the quinoa mixture. Just before putting into the oven, sprinkle a layer of the stuffing and top with your favorite vegan cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve with your favorite salsa.
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Photo Credit: Michelle Melton Photography