Appetizers can be as simple as chips ‘n dip, but sometimes we need a break from chip consumption. This healthy recipe delivers yummy flavor and fun in sweet mini bell peppers. For “sauce people” (you know who you are!), make cilantro-lime sauce, it’s great with these!
Start with mini bell peppers. I buy these in one-pound bags. There is a pretty big size range in “mini” peppers; try to find a bag with the larger sized peppers as they are much easier to fill than the tiny ones.
To prep, simply cut off the stem end and remove seeds and as much membrane as possible.
Place in a steamer basket, which will fit in a large saucepan.
Heat about an inch or less of water in the saucepan to boiling. Place the steamer basket of peppers into the pan and steam, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and rinse with a little cool water, then allow to cool and drain for 5-10 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the filling. In a blender, ½ cup of salsa is mixed with ¾ cup of vegetable broth. This liquid is then heated in a small saucepan to boiling. Add spices and ½ cup quinoa (rinsed if needed) and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Mix one cup of prepared quinoa with one cup black beans. Add one cup of shredded cheese (cheddar or 4-cheese Mexican) and stir. Microwave for 30-60 seconds to melt the cheese. Stir.
(Note: for extra filling, use all the quinoa and the entire can of black beans. I like this as a side dish or on a taco salad.)
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, begin stuffing with the quinoa-bean mixture. For larger peppers I use a butter knife. For smaller peppers, I just resign myself to using my hands. Sigh. Stack on a plate or in a bowl and continue stuffing until all peppers are filled. All peppers can then be refrigerated until time to serve.
Mini Bell Pepper Party Poppers
- 1 lb mini bell peppers
- ½ cup salsa
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 1 TB taco seasoning
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ cup quinoa rinsed if needed
- 1 cup black beans canned, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup shredded cheese 4-cheese Mexican or cheddar blend
- Blend salsa and broth together until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat to just boiling. Add quinoa and spices. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir, and let sit, covered for 5 minutes.
- To a medium bowl add 1 cup prepared quinoa with 1 cup black beans. Mix and then stir in 1 cup shredded cheese. Microwave 30-60 seconds to melt cheese. Stir.
- Cut off the stem end of each pepper and remove seeds and membrane. Place in a steamer basket. Heat about an inch of water in a large saucepan to boiling. Place the steamer basket with peppers into the pan and steam, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan, rinse with cool water and allow to drain and cool 5-10 minutes.
- Using a small spoon or butter knife (or hands), fill each pepper with the quinoa mixture. Place upright in a dish to prevent filling from spilling out. Once all peppers are filled, refrigerate until ready to serve.