Over the past few months, I’ve made a conscious effort to try to reduce my weekly meat consumption. This is a household where the husband thinks a main meal isn’t complete without protein and carbs, so you can see my struggle. I’ve made lots of easy vegetarian alternatives and side dishes that can be adapted to include meat so that we can enjoy similar meals together for times when I’m not fancying it. These baked peppers that have been stuffed with a vegetarian chilli made using quinoa and mixed beans has become a bit of a staple of mine.
I love making big batches of vegetarian chilli on a Sunday spent pottering about in the kitchen. Chilli is so easy to make and we love both vegetarian and meat versions, but always seem to eat it the same way. As a massive stuffed pepper fan, I was surprised that I’d never made any at home before – yeah, same scenario as the Korean Beef Bibimbap! Silly of me because stuffed peppers are so easy to make and a simple way to get more vegetables into your meals without even trying.
- 3 large bell peppers
- 150 g quinoa
- 400 g of mixed beans
- 400 g chopped tomatoes
- 1 onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- Barber's Vintage Reserve Cheddar grated to top the peppers
- Oil of choice for cooking
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions.
Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the insides. Drizzle with oil and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
In a large pan, fry off the onion until softened and add the garlic, tomato puree and spices, coating the onions. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and beans and leave to simmer for 20 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
When almost cooked add the precooked quinoa and stir through.
Spoon the quinoa chilli into the baked peppers and fill them generously. Top with the grated cheese and bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Serve and enjoy!
No chilli is complete (in my humble opinion) without being topped with melty cheese. At the moment, we’re really enjoying this Vintage Reserve Cheddar from Barber’s, one of the oldest surviving cheese makers in the world. We always have cheddar cheese in the fridge because it can be used to make so many things. I’m particularly drawn to mature cheddar and this one is typically matured for 18-months for that depth of flavour, perfect!
If like me, you like cooking with cheese, head on over to the Barber’s website where they are running a competition to inspire foodie lovers to submit their recipes where cheddar is one of the star ingredients. The winning recipe will be published in their cook book, which they can keep and will also receive lots of other Barber’s goodies too.
Protein packed meals are important to me because they keep me fuller for longer and I like having vegetarian alternatives that I can turn to. At the moment, I probably eat meat 3 times a week, which is enough for me as it was making me feel sluggish. Making things like stuffed peppers that can be packed full with plant-based proteins is a wonderful way to still achieve the same effect.
Just look at all that melty gooey cheese!
What are your go-to vegetarian favourites?
*Recipe commissioned by Barber’s, but all opinions are my own.