The Right Stuff: Mexi-Quinoa


Growing up out in the sticks, dinnertime was usually a hurried occasion (although, happily, one that was almost always shared together as a family).  My school was about 15 miles north of home, and the dance studio I was enrolled in was about 15 miles in the opposite direction.  Mom worked in the same town as my dance studio, and two days a week she would drive all the way home (or at least, almost all the way home, to my grandmother's house where I got off the school bus), pick me up, shuttle me to dance class, then cart me back home two hours later where we would finally scarf down dinner before homework and bedtime.  I'm tired just from typing that, so I can't imagine where mom got the energy to get me where I needed to go and keep us all fed and with clean laundry (thanks, mom!).

Our aforementioned busy schedule didn't allow for many elaborately-prepared dinners, so it always felt like a special treat when mom made stuffed peppers.  I adored the presentation:  a fat, bright green pepper, standing upright and overflowing with hearty ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and oozing with melty cheese.  

Earlier this week, I was hit with a craving for stuffed peppers, but wanted a Mexican take, which was perfect because I was already planning to make tacos for hubs for dinner (his idea of tacos is a shell, seasoned ground beef, and cheese...booooorrrring, but I love him anyway).  I've been trying to limit my bread, pasta, and rice intake, but I had some quinoa on hand and decided it would make a grand substitute.  Here's a rundown...


-Makes 8 stuffed peppers


-1/2 lb. browned ground beef with taco seasoning, cooled to room temp.

-1/2 c. uncooked quinoa

-1 c. chicken or vegetable broth

-juice of 1 lime

-2 T. taco sauce (I used Old El Paso)

-3/4 c. shredded Pepper Jack cheese, plus more for topping

-1-2 ears corn, cooked with kernels removed (about 1 c. kernels)

-1 can black beans, drained

-1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered

-1 zucchini, diced 

-1/2 c. red onion, diced

-S&P to taste


1.  Cook quinoa:  Bring the broth to a boil.  Add quinoa, then stir, cover, and turn heat to med-low.  Stir occasionally and cook for about 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.  Allow to cool.

2.  Combine cooked quinoa and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Time to do stuff with it (or just stand there and eat it out of the judgment here!).  

3.  Mexi-Quinoa has many uses: 

    -Stuffed Peppers:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove top and stem, along with ribs and seeds from bell peppers.  Stuff peppers with Mexi-Quinoa, then bake for 25 minutes or until heated through.  Top with more cheese, and return to oven for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

I didn't eat all three of these (just kidding)

    -Stuffed Sweet Potatoes:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub and roast sweet potatoes until cooked through, then top with Mexi-Quinoa and cheese and return to oven for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted.  Top with sour cream and avocado.

I like sour cream, okay?

    -Lettuce wraps:  Warm Mexi-Quinoa, then tuck into Bibb lettuce leaves and top with sour cream.   

What other ways can you think of to enjoy this yummy stuff(ing)?  The recipe makes a lot, but I think it's safe to say that you'll dream up some inventive ways to enjoy it all week long!

Talk to you soon,

Jodi Lynn