April 21, 2015

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

I really enjoy crockpot recipes, but I usually find myself straying away from their convenience once the weather starts to get a little warmer.

I think that when most of us think about crockpots, we think of a steaming pot of soup, comfort food, and delicious things that help us stay warm through the winter, (and maybe contribute to our own personal "insulation"). I am always searching for crockpot meal inspiration so that I can enjoy some brighter, lighter, seasonally relevant meals while taking advantage of the (incredible) hands-off cooking that the crockpot provides.

Stuffed peppers are kind of a compromise. They definitely fit into the category of comfort food; but with the presence of bright fresh peppers, light (but nutritionally awesome) quinoa, and flavorful yet simple flavors, they are fit for a cool Spring evening- and maybe even a simple Summer dinner. 

After hearing the rave reviews from my taste testers, I'm sure they'd be happily devoured no matter what the season!

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
Serves 6

6 bell peppers, cored
1lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, divided
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Slice the tops off of the bell peppers, keeping as much of the pepper intact as possible. Tear out the ribs/seeds/core, and discard. Pour 1/2 of the diced tomatoes into the bottom of the crockpot, then stand your peppers upright, arranging so that all 6 fit in the pot comfortably. In a separate bowl, combine beef, quinoa, onion, garlic, the remaining diced tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir so that ingredients are well combined. (Use your hands, if you prefer!) Spoon beef mixture into peppers, using all filling. (Don't worry, its ok to have 'overstuffed' peppers.) Cook on low for 4-6 hours; until the beef is cooked throughout, and the pepper is done to your liking.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes on this recipe: I served these on their own, but they would be delicious with a simple salad and maybe even a crusty roll... I was almost surprised by how light they were- not overly filling/heavy or dense at all- I believe due to the quinoa. You can use white or brown rice, (or barley or any other grain) instead if you'd prefer, you just may need to adjust the amount of your grain to keep them balanced.

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