The combinations of flavours and fillings are endless when it comes to stuffed peppers. This recipe, ideal to serve as a starter, combines the wonderfully nutty taste of red and white quinoa with diced mushrooms, tomatoes and a homemade pesto using Tabasco Chipotle sauce, offering smoky tones to this simple but effective dish.
Ingredients (to serve two):
- 2 large peppers, any colour
- 50g red & white quinoa, cooked (I used Merchant Gourmet)
- 4 mushrooms, diced
- 10 cherry tomatoes, diced
For the homemade pesto:
- 2 large handfuls spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp Tabasco Chipotle sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 6 sun-dried tomato (try get them dried, not in oil)
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- Seasoning: chilli flakes, salt, pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Prepare your pesto so the flavours have longer to absorb. If you’re using dried sun-dried tomatoes, soak in boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain; for marinated ones in oil, drain well and blot with kitchen paper. Now place all of the pesto ingredients into a blender, blitz well to a paste, then keep in the fridge until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Cut your peppers in half vertically down the middle, then scoop out the seeds, leaving the top stalk intact. Place on a baking tray cut side down and bake for 15 minutes, keeping an eye so they don’t burn.
- Make your filling. Cook the diced mushrooms in a small pan in a little coconut oil. Some liquid will be released as you cook – keep this! Add the tomatoes and cook for a total of about 10 minutes, until softened.
- Remove from heat and stir in the quinoa and about 3-4 tbsp of your homemade pesto, adding a little extra seasoning. (The pesto will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.)
- Remove your pepper cases from the oven – they should be softening now. Turn upside down so the shell is resting on the tin and you can add spoonfuls of the mixture into each cavity. Pack in well but not so it’s overflowing. Return to oven for another 10 minutes, then serve with spinach leaves on the side.