bell peppers stuffed with lentils, quinoa, and zucchini

     every year in february i start pepper plants in our sun-room. i sweet-talk the little sprouts with whispers of mist from a spray bottle, and trick them with the false beams of a grow light. i tell the bell pepper sprouts that some day i will stuff them to eat, and they respond with blossoms that grow into lanterns of color, dangling from bright green stems.
when fall arrives, i buoy myself against the dark days by setting a date on the calendar to start another set of pepper plants. i was inspired to pair these yellow peppers from the market (my own plants have stopped producing) with orange lentils, ginger, nutty quinoa, and earthy mushrooms. the color of this dish lights up the plate with flavors that are bright and satisfying. try offering stuffed peppers as the entree . . . the lentils and quinoa provide plenty of protein, with the added benefit of costing far less than meat or fish.
ingredients
• 6 orange and yellow bell peppers
• about 2 cups of orange lentils
• grated ginger
• about 1 & 1/2 cups of quinoa
• 3-4 tbl. of peanut oil
• chopped zucchini and yellow neck squash
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1/4 lb. crimini mushrooms, chopped
• 5-6 shitake mushrooms, chopped
• about 2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
• feta cheese for garnish
1. make a pot of orange lentils cooked with grated ginger & season with salt and pepper.
2. cook the quinoa and let it cool http://eatwithaspoon.blogspot.com/2009/07/quinoa-is-super-keen.html
3. saute the zucchini and yellow neck squash with minced garlic in peanut oil in a large skillet on med. flame until the fragrance of the garlic is released. 
4. add the mushrooms, and cook until softened.
5. let the squash and mushrooms cool slightly and season with salt and white pepper, and then toss the squash and mushrooms with the quinoa and the parsley.
6. heat the oven to 375 degrees.
7. cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the cores and seeds. cut enough off of the bottoms to make them level so they will stand upright.
8. rub the peppers, inside and out, with safflower oil.
9. fill the inside bottom 1/2 of the peppers with the lentils
10. fill the top 1/2 with the squash and mushroom mixture.
11. stand the peppers up in a low-sided pan coated with safflower oil.
12. roast the stuffed peppers in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes, then raise the heat to 400 and cook another 20 min. until the peppers are soft and browned.
13. let them rest.
14. meanwhile, make a reduction with a little broth and grated ginger whisked into the pan used to roast the peppers.
15. put the peppers onto a plate and top with the feta cheese. pour a little of the reduction over each pepper and serve.

4 comments:

David said...

Is the quantity of:
• about 2 cups of orange lentils
• about 1 & 1/2 cups of quinoa
for dry or already cooked?

Patty Marguet said...

the approx. quantities are dry . . . the quinoa fluffs up like rice.

David said...

Thanks patty. It sounded like a lot earlier this morning.

Patty Marguet said...

you need enough to stuff 6 peppers . . . the total volume of all the cooked ingredients per pepper will probably equal about 1 to 1 & 1/4 cup, depending on the size of the peppers.