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.

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Lentils and Feta

Summer is here. Texas never is late with summer. I wanted to share this recipe with you as a quick, inexpensive, balanced lunch you can prep to have ready. I love having some sort of cold salad that I can prep ahead of time in the summer, and for me, the more lemon the better!

What I Look For In Lunch Preps

  1. It needs to be easy with simple ingredients.
  2. I need to be able to make it in 30 minutes or less.
  3. It has to keep in the fridge for 4 days.
  4. It has to be balanced nutritionally since this is a meal, and personally one of the most important to have balanced. Although it’s mainly important for your day to collectively be balanced.

Think about it, lunch is what keeps you going during the day. It’s something that needs to be enjoyable and satisfying. It shouldn’t weigh you down, but should keep your momentum going. For that to happen, it has to be balanced in protein, healthy carbs, and fats, and easily digestible and converted into energy that’s sustaining. That’s not to say you still won’t get the mid-afternoon yawns. That can be a time to unplug, have a snack if you need to, and take a mental break before heading into the evening.

Nutrition Balance

Throughout the day you want a healthy balance of your macro-nutrients. And having meals that also have this balance is a good way to ensure you are getting what you need.

  • 45-65% of your food should be from carbohydrates
  • 20-35% from healthy fats
  • 10-35% from protein

This recipe’s balance is as follows:

  • 48% carbohydrates
  • 33% fats
  • 19% protein

Balanced and ready to satisfy! Ready for the recipe?

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Lentils & Feta

  • Servings: 4 Main (2 cup serving size) or 6-8 sides
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, dry
  • 2 3/4 – 3 cups water
  • 1 cup green onions, or about 5 green onions sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 hot house cucumber, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup low fat feta crumbles
  • Salt and Pepper, if desired
  • Pita bread or crackers

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, add quinoa, lentils and water. You can substitute some water for broth if you have it. And yes, you can cook green lentils with quinoa in the same pot! Let it get to a boil, and then reduce heat so that it is a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all your chopped vegetables and fresh herbs and mix together.
  3. Make the simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing by whisking together until it’s combined and creamy. Should only take a minute or two.
  4. Once the lentils and quinoa are done cooking, take off of heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Add them to the bowl of fresh ingredients.
  5. Add feta and dressing and mix together. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve or save for later. Eat with pita bread, crackers, etc. if you want.

I usually eat this with crackers. If you are using it for meal prep, the lemon is strong the first day, but after it has set for a day or so it calms down. You can always add more lemon to it if you want.

Enjoy! And as always, if you try the recipe, let me know how it turns out. : )

Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

This is one of my favorite lunch recipes! It’s simple and easy to prep.  It’s packed with flavor and easily digestible energy sources to keep you going without the slump of the mid-afternoon. Plus every bite is a mouthful of nutrient dense, high fiber foods. Let’s look at a few nutritious components of this salad.

Quinoa

Per 1 Cup

  • 8 grams of Protein
  • 5 grams Fiber
  • 15% RDA of Iron
  • 13% RDA of Zinc
  • Contains a small amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Baby Kale

I enjoy baby kale since it’s easier to chew and can have a sweeter, milder taste than regular curly kale, but pretty much has the same nutritious benefits. So if you want raw kale in your salad, use baby kale next time to see how you like it.

Per 1 Cup

  • 3 grams of Protein
  • 2 grams of Fiber
  • 134% DV of Vitamin C
  • 206% DV of Vitamin K
  • Loaded with powerful Antioxidants

So dig in and enjoy!

Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 15oz can (1 1/2 c) garbanzo beans
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 5 oz pkg of baby kale

Directions

  1. In a small pot, add quinoa and broth and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard. Pour into medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cranberries, shallot, parsley, and garbanzo beans to the medium bowl and mix with the dressing.
  4. Once quinoa is cooled, add to the dressing mixture and combine together.
  5. To serve, take a handful of baby kale and top it with about 1 cup of the quinoa mixture and eat immediately!
  6. To store, keep the quinoa mixture separate from the baby kale until ready to eat.

Nutritional Information

449 Calories | 9.6 g Fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0 g Trans Fats | 0 mg Cholesterol | 315 mg Sodium | 72 g Carbohydrates | 13.6 g Fiber | 9.6 g Total Sugar | 18.2 g Protein

Macro Sources

65% Carbohydrates | 19% Fat | 16% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.4 Fruit
  • 2.1 Grain
  • 0.6 Meat Alternative
  • 2.5 Vegetables
Meal Prep

If you are wanting to have this salad for lunches throughout the week, here is how I pack mine. Keep the baby kale separate from the quinoa mixture since it will wilt the leaves, and store in the fridge! As you can see, I have sophisticated meal prep skills. : )

 

Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash has to be my favorites. Sweet potatoes is a close second, but acorn squash is so creamy! I can have a whole one of these bad boys for lunch with just some butter and cinnamon and be perfectly satisfied and full! With this recipe I at least add in a protein dense pilaf that is missing from the squash to make it more balanced. What’s in it other than sausage that makes it protein dense?

Quinoa
  • Complete Plant Based Protein
  • 1 cup of Quinoa = 8 g of protein
  • High in Minerals
    • 1 cup Quinoa = 15% Iron
Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 cup serving = 11 g protein
  • High in Minerals like Zinc and Magnesium
  • High in Tryptophan for a better nights sleep

This no doubt will keep you satisfied and full. With the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries this makes a great dinner that is full of fall and winter flavors. There is always leftover of the sausage, quinoa, and pumpkin seed pilaf so don’t worry about packing it into the acorn squash. You can always add the Golden Gravy by Chloe Coscarelli or my Butter Bean Gravy on top. Enjoy!

Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Servings: 6 Servings, 1/2 acorn squash with 1 cup filling
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Italian ground Italian chicken sausage, or four Italian chicken sausage links, skin removed OR for plant based use your favorite Italian sausage and cut up finely. I use Field Roast
  • 3 medium acorn squash, halved, and seeds removed
  • olive oil for brushing
  • QUINOA PILAF
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Brush the insides of the prepared acorn squash with olive oil. On a cooking sheet with aluminum foil, place the acorn squash flesh side down, skin side up, and roast for 45-50 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare your sausage. MEAT BASED – (if using links, take sausage out of casing) Cook sausage in a small skillet until all of it is cook and crumbled. PLANT BASED – take the finely chopped sausage and cook until it’s crumbled and toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a sauce pan. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add quinoa, broth, water, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer until liquid is absorbed – about 15-20 minutes. Take any sprigs of herbs out after it’s cooked.
  5. Add pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries to the quinoa once the quinoa is cooked.
  6. Add sausage and mix together. Divide if making both meat based and plant based.
  7. Once the acorn squash is roasted and has cooled, about 5-10 minutes, stuff them with the quinoa pilaf.

Nutritional Information

Chicken Sausage

405 calories | 15.4 g fat | 3.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 7.7 g monounsaturated fat | 3.4 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 81 mg cholesterol | 308 mg sodium | 48 g carbohydrates | 6.8 g fiber | 7 g sugar | 24 g protein | 41% Vitamin A | 36% Vitamin C | 20% Folate | 48% Magnesium | 20% Iron | 32% Potassium | 38% Zinc

Plant Based Seitan Sausage

457 calories | 20.8 g fat | 8.7 g polyunsaturated fat | 7.3 g monounsaturated fat | 3.2 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 923 mg sodium | 55 g carbohydrates | 9 g fiber | 7 g sugar | 20 g protein | 41% Vitamin A | 36% Vitamin C | 24% Folate | 50% Magnesium | 32% Iron | 25% Potassium | 34% Zinc