Stuffed peppers weren’t something I grew up eating. The first time I had them, I made them for my husband when we were living in California. I didn’t really understand all the hype, but then I realized that the possibilities with these little peppers were endless. You can literally stuff them with anything, which makes my recipe-testing mind so happy.

After making these for the first time over seven years ago, I realized why stuffed peppers were all the rage. They are quick and easy to make. You can do a fridge clean-out to fill them up, or use the leftover filling for other meals. This is a great way to get plenty of veggies into your weeknight meals. I truly believe that my 10-year-old self would have thoroughly enjoyed this dish!

I know that quinoa can be intimidating, but the trick is to set it and forget it, and it works every time. Once you’ve brought the water to a boil and added the quinoa, reduce the heat and cover the quinoa for at least 12 minutes, and up to 15 minutes, before fluffing it with a fork or stirring. I also like to use a nonstick pot to cook the quinoa in — this will guarantee it won’t stick. If you don’t have a nonstick pot, just add a tablespoon of oil or butter to the boiling water when you add the quinoa, and you should be good to go.

These peppers are stuffed with chorizo, quinoa, red onions, green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and kale. I love baked tomatoes, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to include more in the dish. Finally they are topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. Looking to make these a little healthier? Skip the cheese; I promise they are still delicious. And in the morning, I’ll use the extra filling in a breakfast burrito, an egg scramble or I’ll just eat it on its own.

Chorizo and quinoa stuffed peppers

These stuffed peppers are quick and easy to make. (Danie Baker / Special to The Seattle Times)

Total time: 45 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

For the peppers:

  • 4 bell peppers, red and yellow
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For chorizo stuffing:

  • 1 pound ground chorizo or ground sausage of choice
  • 1 green bell pepper, small diced
  • ½ red onion, small diced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

For the quinoa:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
STEPS:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Bring 2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil.
  3. Once water is boiling, add quinoa, cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Toss 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon avocado oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 
  5. Slice red and yellow bell peppers in half, and remove the insides.
  6. Add cherry tomatoes to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and place red and yellow bell peppers cut side down on top of tomatoes. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. While the peppers are par baking, add chorizo to a heavy bottom pan and sauté until crumbly.
  8. Add green bell peppers, diced red onion, thyme and 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes.
  9. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.
  10. Once quinoa is ready, add half of the quinoa to the chorizo mixture along with chopped kale. Sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes until kale is slightly wilted.
  11. Stuff peppers with chorizo mixture, top with shredded mozzarella and put back into oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  12. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!