Last year, one of my cousins asked me if I had any vegan/vegetarian recipes that his daughter would like, for Passover. Increasingly, I’m getting requests for vegan recipes, gluten-free recipes, and recipes that don’t contain matzo meal, for the very religious who don’t eat “wet” matzo on Passover. And you thought I had some tough dietary restrictions!
I was determined to come up with something for my cousin, this year. When I read that the Orthodox Union of Rabbis had approved quinoa for Passover use, I was thrilled. Not technically a grain, quinoa is loaded with protein, amino acids, vitamins, and is perfect for people on vegan and gluten-free diets. It’s so versatile, easy to prepare, and delicious, you can feel good about eating it anytime, not just on Passover.
Keep in mind that quinoa cooks like rice, that is, every one cup of uncooked quinoa will result in 3 cups, cooked. This recipe can be made using mini bell peppers, such as the Bailey Farms Bella Fina peppers we told you about recently, for appetizer or side dish portions, or using full-sized sweet bell peppers for main course portions, so the number of servings will vary. Using the Bella Fina mini peppers is an economical choice, however, since they’re open-field grown and domestic to the U.S., they’re less expensive to produce and are less expensive in the store than the full-sized colored peppers imported from Canada or Holland. Either way, you’ll enjoy the change of pace!
Vegan Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 small onion (or about 1/2 cup, chopped)
- 1 -2 cloves garlic, smashed then chopped fine
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- about 2 lbs sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, orange), divided
- additional olive oil for brushing
Dice several colors of bell peppers to equal about 1/2 cup each.
In a large frying pan, heat the 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and the diced bell peppers. Add the salt, stir and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the ground black pepper and the dry quinoa. Stir and cook an additional 2 minutes. Carefully add the water to the pan, cover tightly, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. When all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, taste for seasoning (add more salt and/or pepper and mix well, if necessary), remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Cut the remaining bell peppers in half (top-to-bottom), remove the seeds and pith, brush the outsides with a bit of olive oil, and lay them out in a single layer in a baking dish. Fill the halves with the cooled quinoa mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pepper halves are a bit blistered and softened.
You can add other vegetables to the quinoa mixture for variety, such as finely chopped zucchini. We sometimes like to add some finely chopped mushrooms (about a cup) in with the onions and peppers to saute and reduce. Mushrooms add a pleasantly substantial texture in conjunction with the quinoa. Make sure that any liquid released by the vegetables has been completely cooked off before adding the dry quinoa.
For even more Passover recipes, from breakfast to lunch to dinner to snacks, check out my Passover Central board on Pinterest!