Beef Quinoa Bell Pepper Bake
This recipe came to me one night when I wanted to make my husband’s favorite dinner (stuffed bell peppers). However, we didn’t have enough bell peppers in the fridge. I almost always have them on hand because they are delish! But buying organic bell peppers is super expensive so while we have them, we don’t always have them in abundance. I eat them in eggs every day and if I add them to dinner the cost adds up quickly. Also, my children are not huge fans of stuffed bell peppers, but if I put anything in a casserole topped with cheese they will eat it all up.
So I decided to change my beloved stuffed pepper recipe into a casserole dish. Doing this stretched my meat and my bell peppers because I use quinoa to help fill my husbands seemingly never fillable stomach. And unlike rice or wheat, quinoa doesn’t seem to bloat us up so much.
If your kiddos don’t like “spicy” (in my daughter’s case anything with flavor) you can do a side dish without salsa. I also do a quinoa free side for myself sometimes and add in a little cabbage slaw for “filler”. I don’t like to play “short order cook” with our meals but I understand that my kids can’t handle the spiciness of some of our dishes. My husband on the other hand, LOVES spice. So I often make separate versions of the same dinner. It all goes in the oven anyway, so it’s not too hard to do.
- Chopped bell peppers (use as many as you have… I think the more the better but I usually have 2 on hand when I make this)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 lb ground beef (I use grass fed)
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 TBS chili powder (you can use more or less depending on spice preference)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1-2 cups of your favorite salsa (Trader Joes has a pretty “clean” salsa that I like but we have used Pace before)
- 2-3 cups of baby spinach
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- cheese shredded for topping (we love Monterrey Jack or Cheddar)
- 1 TBS coconut oil(I buy Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from tropical traditions < affiliated link *see note below)
However, if you are trying coconut oil for the first time and are looking for a less expensive brand you may want to try this brand. Tropical Traditions is by far my favorite brand though.
1. Cook up your quinoa first then set aside. I love quinoa because it cooks up so much quicker than rice. You can choose to use more or less quinoa depending on your preference. Quionoa is relatively inexpensive and using more will stretch out your budget but less will give you a less carb filled dinner.
2. Place coconut oil in a pan and cook your minced garlic a bit, then add your meat to brown it.
3. Add spinach and peppers, and cook till spinach cooks down a bit.
(This is when I take out a portion of the meat and quinoa for the kiddos side dish (which I place in a bread Pyrex dish.)
(This is when I take out my portion and put it into a separate bread Pyrex dish. If I am feeling extra hungry I add some chopped cabbage, and a little more salsa and mix it up.)
5. Add cooked quinoa to the pan and mix everything together.
6. Place mixture in 9×9 Pyrex pan, then top with cheese. I also top my kiddo’s dish with cheese.
7. Place all your dishes into the oven and cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minute (till cheese is melted).
Then voila! You have the taste of stuffed peppers in a casserole form.
*Some of the above links are affiliate links. Click here to learn more about affiliate links.