Here’s an easy recipe that is perfect for weekdays or weekends, as an appetizer or an entree. It’s packed with protein, incredibly good for you, and — icing on the cake — it’s fat-free. Plus, it has a delicious Indian twist to it. My Stuffed Bell Peppers with biryani masala.
Biryani masala is a spice mix that you can buy off the shelf at any Indian grocery store, or you can try making it at home. As the name suggests, it is the spice mix used to flavor biryanis, but nobody wrote a rule book saying that’s all you can use it for. In fact, biryani masala can be delicious in sides, subzis and — in this case– it can work its magic into an already flavorsome dish to make it absolutely sublime.
I wanted a recipe that was really healthy but also really filling, so I made my stuffing with a mix of black beans — star antioxidants — and quinoa, the perfect grain. I added into the mix some mushrooms and onions and then flavored it all up with the biryani masala. This is a recipe that’s as simple and easy as it’s healthy and delicious. In fact, the oven does most of the work.
If you’re into grilling rather than baking in the summer (and I can totally understand if you are), these stuffed peppers are perfect for the grill. Stuff ’em, throw ’em on the grill, and cover them until the bottoms are nice and roasted. Plus, you’ll have that great, smoky grilled flavor that will have every carnivore in the vicinity eyeing you with envy.
Here’s that recipe. Enjoy!
- 3 large bell peppers
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (follow instructions in this recipe for the quinoa rice, using just about ¼ cup of dry quinoa to yield a cup of cooked. Reduce other spices accordingly)
- 1 cup cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp biryani masala (add more or less if you like food more or less hot)
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 4 large button mushrooms, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed into a paste
- ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt to taste
- In a saucepan, add the onions with a tablespoon of water.
- Add a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until the onions start to soften.
- Add the garlic and ginger, saute for a few seconds, then add the turmeric.
- Add the beans and quinoa along with the biryani masala.
- Stir together to mix thoroughly. The mixture should be quite dry. Stir in the lemon juice and coriander and turn off the heat.
- Prep the bell peppers by cutting into halves down the middle. Carefully remove the seeds and any white "ribs" so you have a clean cavity.
- Stuff the peppers with the prepared quinoa and bean mixture.
- Place the peppers side by side in a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake the peppers in a preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Garnish with more coriander leaves, if desired. Serve warm.
Also try my bell peppers stuffed with brown rice.