Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean VeganThe Seventh-Grader was nice enough to share his cold with me. I can’t remember the last time I was out of commission with a cold, and I don’t plan to let this one win. So far, I’ve kept it somewhat at bay with lots of juiced veggies and kale. Never under estimate the healing powers of vegetables. That may be why I was drawn to making these. Bell peppers, particularly orange and yellow ones, are packed with vitamins C, A, and B6. (Although the heating process will deplete them a bit). But I’m certain they still retain many of their healthy benefits. These also have mushrooms which are a great source of B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, and potassium. Now on to the zucchini…these guys have tons of vitamin C and A which are actually anti-inflammatory agents. Zucchinis are also high in fiber—an added bonus! And let’s not forget that quinoa is an ideal source of protein, too! Let the healing begin!

Oh, and remember Operation Save Basil from October?

I’m happy to report that it has bounced back beautifully. It looks like there’s room to add another basil plant, but for now, I’m thrilled the basil’s back, baby!

INGREDIENTS:

3 large bell peppers (preferably orange, red, or yellow) sliced in half and innards cleaned out
1 C quinoa
1-15oz can mandarin oranges (look for no sugar added), juice reserved
1 C water
1 tsp tamari
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 C slivered almonds
1 C mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced then quartered
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauce:

1 C almond milk
2 Tbs arrowroot
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs yellow miso
dash of nutmeg
dash of garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Begin with the quinoa: Combine the quinoa, reserved Mandarin orange juice, water, and tamari in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Let simmer for 12-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Add the slivered almonds and cook them for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

Add the zucchini, mushrooms, salt, and pepper; cook another 6-8 minutes on medium heat.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Once the veggies are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the oranges and basil.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the cooked quinoa and evenly fill the pepper halves.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Sometimes I pour about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan before covering with foil. This will help soften the peppers without overcooking the filling. I think this is especially important when using cheese or fake meats in the filling. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sauce ingredients over high heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. Don’t worry about getting the sauce thickened; it’s meant to seep and ooze into the filling. :-)

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Ladle the sauce over the peppers and enjoy!

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