Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Avocado Cream

I think I found my new favorite vegetable to stuff. I mean, bell peppers are okay, but I like to use them for flavor, not as the main part of my dish. Mushrooms are good too, but they can be watery. And then there’s squash, which I love, but I usually don’t want squash when it’s hot outside or humid. I save stuffed squash for cold crisp days and in Texas there is not a lot of those. So now I’m on to using poblano peppers.

Now I did look up traditional stuff poblano peppers and I thought it was interesting that they use raisins or something sweet mixed in, kind of like dried cranberries in stuffed squash. But I’m not a raisin person and I decided to play it safe.

Originally when I made this recipe I didn’t have the avocado cream. I wasn’t sure if it was going to need it or not. But I should know, you always need avocado cream. So you’ll see some pictures with and without the avocado cream. Before I go any further, below is the link to my avocado cream which uses yogurt instead, and you can even use fat free Greek yogurt to increase the protein and have only the fat found in the avocado. Either way, here’s the recipe!

Now! For those that do not use poblano peppers, these are not hot peppers. They are not even as hot as jalapenos. However, they do hold some heat in the seeds and where the seeds are held inside the pepper. When you clean out the pepper and remove the seeds and the area where the seeds are held (I don’t know what to call it), you can wear gloves or just make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face, etc. I had a paper cut on my finger and it slowly started to burn until the whole area was red and irritated. It’s not super hot, but it will cause irritation, and you definitely don’t want to rub your face if you have it on your hands.

That being said – the actual pepper, especially after roasting it, does not have much heat if any. I don’t mind spicy things here and there, but I’m definitely not a spicy person and I had no problem eating them.

One last thing to add – I am allergic to corn and the recipe needed a pop of color so I added a yellow bell pepper to the recipe. Corn goes much better, but that was my substitute and it did work well and tasted good, plus it had that extra color. There is instructions if you use either the yellow bell pepper or the frozen corn kernels.

Now on to the recipe! Enjoy it! It’s another recipe that scratches my vegetarian Tex Mex itch.

Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Avocado Cream

  • Servings: 4-6 Main Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (or you can use 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 15oz cans pinto beans, drained (or 3 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 poblano peppers, seeds removed and cut 1/2 long ways
  • Cojita cheese
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Avocado Cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan on medium heat. Add onion and yellow bell pepper (if using corn, wait until later) cook until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and toast for about 1 minute.
  3. Add in quinoa dry and toast the quinoa for a minute or two.
  4. Add in vegetable broth and let simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through, turning the heat to low. (If using frozen corn, throw in the 1 cup frozen corn once the quinoa is cooked).
  5. While the quinoa is simmering, get the poblano peppers ready. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and get rid of any seeds on the inside, unless you want it to be spicier. Place them on a baking sheet. I lined my sheet with parchment paper, and I also had to use 2 baking sheets.
  6. Once quinoa is cooked through, (and if you are using corn stir it in) take quinoa off the heat. Stir in the diced tomatoes, pinto beans, pepitas, and seasoning – smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, and cumin.
  7. Fill in the poblano peppers as much as you can. Once all are full, stick them in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then I switched my baking sheets around and baked for another 10 minutes. If adding cojita cheese, I added it and stuck it in for another 5 minutes. It won’t melt, but it will bake onto the quinoa mixture and some parts might brown a little.
  8. Once baked, take out of the oven and let sit for a good 5 minutes or so. Plate it and top with lime juice, cilantro, more cheese or avocado cream.

Avocado Key Lime Popsicles

So a little history about this recipe… The original-original inspiration was a recipe from a blog called The Salty Tomato. It was a Avocado Key Lime pie with the traditional graham cracker crust. Dairy free and delicious! I had made it years ago.

Since then I had made my own rendition of it as single serving size “pies” with a pecan and date crust. Dairy free, gluten free, and delicious! This different take on the recipe was my Frozen Avocado Key Lime Pies. Aren’t they cute?!

This year I have been loving my popsicle molds I bought and have been making popsicles at least once a month. Here are my other popsicles I’ve made so far in 2020…

So now my next popsicle that I’m making will be the next rendition of the Avocado Key Lime recipe. Now – I’ve made this recipe with key lime juice, and also straight lime juice when I couldn’t find key lime juice. The key lime juice will have a milder and sweeter taste. However, regular lime juice will work, but know it will be more tart.

Additionally, I decided to try out a coating of toasted coconut shreds and crushed graham crackers. Depending on your diet and your likes and dislikes, this does not make or break this recipe. Use the coating or not, this recipe is still delicious! Have fun with it! Hope you are all having a great summer!

Avocado Key Lime Popsicles with Toasted Coconut and Graham Crackers

  • Servings: 8 small popsicles, or 4 large
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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice (you can use lime juice but it will be more tart/sour)
  • 1/4 cup dark agave
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 cup coconut shreds
  • 1 sheet graham crackers

Directions

  1. In a blender, toss the avocado flesh of 2 avocados, key lime juice, dark agave, and coconut oil. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowl.
  2. Stir in the lime zest so there are flakes of the zest throughout the mixture.
  3. Pour into popsicles molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, you can get the coating ready. Put one graham cracker in a ziplock bag and pound of roll over with a rolling pin until it is crumbs. In a small skillet, heat over medium heat and add the coconut shreds. Continuously toss. When the shreds start to brown it will not take long. Keep tossing until all shreds are golden. Turn off heat, add to small bowl. Mix in graham cracker crumbs.
  5. When the popsicles are frozen, take out of the freezer and let defrost 1-2 minutes. Take out of molds and coat with the coconut/crumb mixture. Put on or in container and put back in the freezer for a few minutes to refreeze before serving.

Avocado Cream

If you are an avocado fan, check this out! This gives a little different texture and flavor than plain avocado or guacamole and instead of sour cream it uses low fat plain unsweetened yogurt, making sure there is no unnecessary added fat and most of the fat is all healthy and plant based.

You can use this as a dip, topping for tacos or fajitas, nachos, etc. So much yum! I’m working on an enchilada recipe that will have this avocado cream on top! Not sure when it will be ready, but stay tuned!

Avocado Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened low fat yogurt (or find a plant based plain unsweetened yogurt)
  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • handful of cilantro, if desired

Directions

  1. Add avocado flesh (discard the avocado pit and skin), plain unsweetened low fat yogurt, lime juice, garlic clove, and if using, cilantro in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Store in an air tight container. Keep refrigerated for 2-3 days. The avocado may start to turn brown in some spots, but the flavor should remain and will still be healthy to eat.

Nutrition Information

1 serving

81 calories | 5.55 g total fat | 0.6 g polyunsaturated fat | 3.45 g monounsaturated fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 2 mg cholesterol | 6.32 g carbohydrates | 2.3 g fiber | 3.19 g total sugar | 2.87 g protein

Frozen Avocado Key Lime Pie

I’ve always enjoyed key lime pie, but with the sweetened condensed milk and the eggs and so on, it was hard to make it dairy free and plant based. I posted about trying to use the coconut sweetened condensed milk by Nature’s Charm and trying to find the right science to make it firm. It wasn’t the coconut sweetened condense milk, it was me. Here’s the post if you want to see my Key Lime Pie Fail.

At the end I do post my recipe that finally worked! So if you still want a good fattening creamy key lime pie that is dairy and egg free, it’s on that link. And it was delicious.

Dairy Free and Egg Free Key Lime Pie

HOWEVER – I wanted to share a healthier recipe that I’ve made. The original recipe is from The Salty Tomato. Lauren has some great flexitarian recipes! When it gets hot outside, I start thinking of this pie and it’s so simple. I also decided to make cupcake size portions for it so you can just get out one serving from the freezer. It’s basically avocados, key lime juice, agave, and a little bit of coconut oil to help keep it firm. The crust is originally graham cracker crust – which is my favorite – but this is a nutrition blog, so less of the graham crackers and butter, and more of the dates and pecans/walnuts.

Keep in mind – this is pretty much all fat. Healthy fats. But still fat. That’s why I like making the cupcake-size portions so that I don’t go overboard and I can stay “on track” with my goals.

  • Healthy fats
  • No processed sugar
  • Delicious
  • Easily Gluten-Free

 

Good Fats

Let’s talk about healthy fats for a minute while we’re on the subject. Good fats usually come from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. They are unsaturated fats. There are two types of unsaturated fats – polyunsaturated (think omega 3 & 6) and monounsaturated (think olive oil). So when you see those on the bottom of my recipes, those are good fats.

  • Easily digested and used for energy
  • Build cell membranes
  • Creates the covering over our nerves
  • Needed for muscle movement
  • Breaks down inflammation
  • Helps with blot clotting
  • Reduces harmful cholesterol and triglycerides

On top of that, the good thing about this recipe – you are getting those fats along with keeping the original fruit or nut that it came from so the fiber and other nutrients are there as well. Just remember although it’s healthy for you, it doesn’t mean you can indulge and eat the whole recipe. Trust me I’ve tried. I don’t think it’s even possible with how rich these things are. Then if you add my Dairy Free Whipped Cream on top… you’re done!

Raw Avocado Key Lime Pie

  • Servings: 12 small cupcake size servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup agave or honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Prepare a medium size muffin tin, either lining it with parchment paper or taking a small amount of coconut oil and rubbing the insides.
  2. Take the pecans or walnuts, dates, vanilla, and small amount of salt. Blend in a food processor until slightly chunky but combined and you can press together. ***If you are like me and don’t want to drag another piece of equipment out: Take a gallon size bag and with a heavy rolling pin (I have a marble one) crush the nuts as finely as you can. Take the dates and chop into the smallest pieces you can. Add those to the bag with the vanilla and salt. Smash and roll the rolling pin over it until all is combined. It should look crumbly, but will stick together if you mold it.
  3. Take about a large tablespoon of the nut and date mixture and add to the bottoms of the cupcake molds. Press down hard. Spread evenly until all of the mixture is used.
  4. In a blender, blend the avocados, key lime juice, agave or honey, coconut oil and lime zest until smooth.
  5. Take about 1 1/2-2 large spoonfuls of the avocado mixture and place on top of the nut mixture in the cupcake tin. Freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before eating.

Nutritional Information

Per 1 Cupcake Size Serving

182 calories | 15 g total fat | 3 g polyunsaturated fat | 8 g monounsaturated fat | 2.5 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats| 0 mg cholesterol | 3 mg sodium | 2 g protein | 13 g carbohydrates | 4 g fiber | 8 g sugar

Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Pesto, Cannellini Beans, & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Because spring is here and the weather keeps heating up, having a lighter pasta alternative is a great thing to have. Plus spaghetti squash is already gluten free, low fat, and has fiber. There’s really no losing here.

This is one of my favorite ways to have spaghetti squash, other than regular marinara sauce with other veggies and a protein. This avocado pesto gives you good fats without oil and a creamy texture without dairy. Then adding the cannellini beans or another protein like chicken adds to it to make it a balanced meal. This is a very low calorie meal, so feel free to add in garlic bread, salad, soup, etc.

Spaghetti Squash

Oh spaghetti squash! The vegetable that doesn’t require a spiralizer to make vegetable noodles. I always say, the easier the better, and the less kitchen appliances the better! Or at least it will be more likely that I’ll do it. I enjoy cooking and cooking healthy recipes. However, there is a thing called life and a lot of time it’s the time that gets in the way. So the easier a recipe is, the less time intensive it is, and the less appliances you have to clean after is very important.

You do have too cook spaghetti squash, so it’s not a raw “noodle”, but it’s simple. It makes a lot and you can freeze it or have it as part of a meal prep for the whole week. It does take time to cook, but not a lot of your personal time. If you have never cooked a spaghetti squash before, check out my “How To Cook Spaghetti Squash” post.

Avocado Pesto

This pesto is something you can use on toast, with pasta, as a dip, etc. Usually pesto you find at the store has unnecessary oil and will add cheese to it. Which for here and there is not a bad thing, but if you want a healthier option to make sure the fats you are having are your healthy fats, and if you are trying to stay away from dairy but still want your pesto, check out this recipe!

Avocado Pesto

  • Servings: 1 cup, 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves, raw
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, you can use parmesan if you want dairy

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add 1-3 tablespoons of water to it while blending.
  2. Use right away or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Nutritional Information

1/4 Cup Serving

77 calories | 3.9 g total fat | 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.5 g monounsaturated fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 535 mg sodium | 6.6 g carbohydrates | 2.9 g fiber | 0.6 g sugar | 5 g protein

Making a Meal or Side Dish

Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Pesto, Cannellini Beans, & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 medium size spaghetti squash, baked
  • 1 Avocado Pesto Recipe
  • 4 Sun-Dried Tomatoes, dry not packed in oil, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can or 2 cups cooked Cannellini Beans (you can use another protein like chicken if you’d rather)
  • Italian seasoning, if desired
  • Salt and Pepper, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat up the cannellini beans, if not already warmed. You can add Italian seasoning and salt and pepper if you’d like to season them for extra flavor. If warming on the stove, keep the juice from the canned beans and heat them with the seasoning.
  2. Place about 2 cups of spaghetti squash noodles in a serving bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of avocado pesto on top.
  3. Sprinkle with Sun-dried tomatoes & cannellini beans or chicken.
  4. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

1 Serving with Cannellini Beans

153 calories | 5.3 g total fat | 1.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.6 g monounsaturated fat | 0.8 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 568 mg sodium | 23 g carbohydrates | 7.4 g fiber | 6.3 g sugar | 7.4 g protein