Introduction: Healthy Stuffed Peppers

About: Freelance mechanical engineer from the Bay Area.
Most stuffed pepper recipes call for ground beef, cheese, glutenous rice, etc. They sure are tasty, but they aren't the healthiest of foods. I've taken this classic recipe and made it as clean as possible. These peppers have a ton of veggies, quinoa, and lean chicken stuffed inside them so go ahead and eat as many as you want. I've found that about three peppers fill me up pretty well. Also, since they've got all your necessary carbs and protein, simply add a vinaigrette salad with these peppers and you've got yourself a complete meal!

  • 6 Bell Peppers
  • 1.5 pounds Lean Ground Chicken (or Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breasts)
  • 28 oz. Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stick
  • 1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa 
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil or Cooking Spray 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil
  • Oregano 
  • Garlic Powder 

Nutrition Information 
Serving Size:       1 Pepper
Calories:              320

Fat             7.5g
   Sat. Fat     1g
Carbs         35g
   Fiber       7.5g
   Sugar        9g
Protein        30g

Step 1: Tomato Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Dice your onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and garlic. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and toss the garlic in once the oil gets hot. After a minute or so, throw in the onions, celery, mushrooms, and carrots. Saute for several minutes until things start to stick. Now pour in your canned tomatoes and stir those around. Make sure to mash up the tomatoes into smaller chunks so they cook well. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for an hour-ish, stirring occasionally. (You dont really need to cook it for an hour, but the longer you cook it the more the flavors meld together.)

Step 2: Cook the Quinoa

While your sauce is simmering, make the quinoa!

Making quinoa is pretty simple, so i'll let you figure it out. I used 2 cups water for 1 cup quinoa, and I've found using wider saucepans works better than smaller ones, I think because it allows the quinoa to spread out more and cook in a thinner layer. Swap out some of the water for chicken broth or stock to add more flavor. 

Step 3: The Meat Sauce

Rinse and clean your chicken breasts, and cut them into chunks into a blender or food processor (or meat grinder if you have one). Pulse your chicken for several seconds until its nice and ground up. It will look like a giant, gooey, chicken-blob, but when you cook it, it actually separates out into little ground pieces. 

In another frying pan, heat some olive oil until it smokes. Add your chicken-blob to the pan and stir it around to brown it evenly. The blob should start to look more like ground meat now. Once it is well cooked (whitish brownish color) turn the heat off.

In a blender or with a pureeing tool, whizz up about 1 cup your tomato sauce until its smooth. Set this aside for later.

If you want a chunkier sauce, skip this step, but if you want a smooth sauce, use a hand pureeing tool to blend the sauce to the desired consistency. 

Dump the ground meat and quinoa into the rest of the tomato sauce. Add a whole ton of spices like basil, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, whatever you want! Stir it up!

Step 4: Prepare the Peppers

Wash your peppers and cut out the tops. Scoop out the insides and remove the seeds and bitter 'white ribbing stuff' as best as possible. I find my finger nails work well for this part. Boil a couple quarts of water in a large pot, throw your cleaned peppers in, and let them cook for a couple minutes. (This will just speed up the baking process).

Step 5: Stuff and Bake the Peppers

Spoon the delicious quinoa-meat-tomato filling sauce into the peppers.
Place all the peppers in a baking tin so they won't fall over. 

Bake the peppers on 350 F for about 30 minutes, or until the peppers begin to get crispy on the edges.

Step 6: Garnish & Serve Warm!

Put a pepper on a plate and garnish it with the pureed tomato sauce you set aside earlier. Enjoy!