Protein-Packed Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
6 minute read
Quinoa is a popular pseudo-cereal grown for its edible seeds and one of the world’s healthiest foods. Gluten-free, the nutritional powerhouse is high in fiber. Unlike animal-based proteins, quinoa provides many of the benefits of plant-based foods, including numerous vitamins and minerals. It’s also a terrific source of plant-based protein.
High in Protein: A healthy menu replacement for grains like rice or couscous, one cup of quinoa contains more protein than a whole egg and the same amount of protein as 8 ounces of whole milk. Unusual for a plant-based food, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids.
A Good Source of Fiber: Just one cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber or about as much as one serving of whole-grain bran cereal and more fiber than 1 cup of blueberries. Most Americans fall short of the recommended intake of 25 g per day for women and 38 g per day for men so quinoa is an easy way to hit those markers. Fiber can help you control your weight, lower cholesterol, and keep regular bowel movements regular, as well as reducing your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Rich in Flavonoids: Quinoa is packed with quercetin and kaempferol, two powerful plant antioxidants that provide numerous health benefits. Studies conclude that flavonoids provide anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects, as well as protection against cancer and depression.
Filled with Essential Nutrients: By replacing that cup of rice with quinoa, you’ll get an alphabet of nutrients, including copper, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc. Just 185 mg of cooked quinoa provides 30 % of the RDA for magnesium with just 222 calories.
Gluten-Free: If you’re trying to restrict your intake of gluten, quinoa can be a healthy substitute for processed foods like gluten-free pasta or baked goods. Unlike processed foods, quinoa boosts the nutrients, antioxidants, and protein in your diet.
Good Option for Those with Type-2 Diabetes: Because it’s a complete protein and contains fiber, quinoa may be useful to keep blood sugar under control. Additionally, quinoa is on the low end of the glycemic index, which the American Diabetes Association describes as a ranking of how a food raises blood glucose in comparison to a reference food like white bread. Unlike a food like rice pasta or short-grain white rice, quinoa won’t cause blood sugar to spike.
Quinoa is a nutritional superstar but its phytic acids bind to minerals, reducing absorption. That can be remedied by rinsing quinoa before cooking.
Protein-Packed Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Time: 45 minutes
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 (4-ounce) can green chiles
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded
- Prepare quinoa. Place 3 cups of quinoa in a large bowl of cold water. Rub them together with your fingers to loosen the saponin. Strain in a fine mesh strainer, running water over the seeds until the water runs clear. Place the 3 cups of quinoa and 6 cups of water (1:2 ratio) in a pot; cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until grains are translucent and a thin white ring appears around each grain. Fluff with a fork.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Spoon the filling into each bell pepper cavity. Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) are fruits of the nightshade family, related to chili peppers and tomatoes. They are grown in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, and orange. Green peppers are unripe and may have a slightly bitter flavor compared to fully ripe peppers.
Bell peppers are a nutritional powerhouse, providing up to 169% of the RDA for vitamin C, as well as vitamin K1, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, and potassium and are rich in antioxidants. Because bell peppers are composed of mostly water, they are very low in calories.
Black Beans provide a number of health benefits, from supporting bone health to providing protection against cardiovascular and cancer risks. The legume is packed with phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and copper, of which contribute to building and preserving bones structure and strength, as well iron and zinc, which support bone and joint health.
The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrients in black beans can lower risk for cardiovascular disease, lowering cholesterol and preventing the buildup of homocysteine, which can damage blood vessels in excessive amounts.
In addition, the quercetin in black beans is a natural anti-inflammatory, possibly reducing risk for atherosclerosis. The selenium in black beans may help detoxify some carcinogens in the body, as it supports liver enzyme function, as well as preventing inflammation.
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