Quinoa Stuffed Pepper, floating in a sea of Chipotle Remoulade
On Sunday afternoon we took a long hike and on the way home my thoughts naturally turned to my next meal. I envisioned the sparse contents of my vegetable bins: a bag of bell peppers, a couple of sweet onions, and a small head of broccoli.
By the time we arrived home, I’d come up with the rude outlines of a recipe for stuffed peppers, somehow involving quinoa and onions.
Lately I’ve been wanting more quinoa in my life. If you haven’t eaten quinoa before, you really should try it. It’s a high-protein grain from South America, with a slightly chewy texture. It has a taste similar to brown rice, but cooks as fast as white rice.
The real star of this show, however, was the Chipotle Remoulade. I first got the idea from an online menu (I like to peruse veggie restaurant menus to get ideas, even if I’ll never visit them.) Instead of mayo, or even vegan mayo, I used silken tofu, a very nice substitute. Beware the canned chipotle pepper, though: it can be very hot! Three were enough for my rather tolerant tastebuds; for most heat-averse people that may be too many.
The end result was delicious, one of those texture-flavour combinations I particularly love. (For a side dish, I served corn, which went well with this theme.) And sometime in the middle of the night my husband, hearing the siren call of stuffed peppers, got up and ate the two remaining peppers. I think he liked it too.
Fortunately, there was remoulade left over for another meal. Check back next week to see what I did with that.
Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers with Chipotle Remoulade
1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable stock or water (stock cubes are okay)
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup parsley, minced
salt, to taste
½ teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
3 or 4 medium bell peppers, any color
Rinse quinoa well under running water. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and celery. Add garlic when the onion is soft, and continue to sauté for a minute. Add quinoa and stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cover; cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, toast the pinenuts for 2-3 minutes in a toaster or a hot oven. Be careful not to burn them—check every minute!
When the quinoa is done, stir in the pinenuts, sundried tomatoes, and parsley. Add salt to taste, and paprika. (You may want to sprinkle some paprika on the tops of the peppers too.)
Slice peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove the insides from the peppers. (Alternatively, you may remove the stem section, leaving the peppers whole.) Place on a baking sheet and fill with the quinoa mixture.
Bake in a 350/180 oven for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside.
Spoon about ¼ cup Chipotle Remoulade on a plate, and place the pepper in the middle. Add a dollop of remoulade to the top and serve.
2-3 canned chipotle peppers, plus a spoonful of the accompanying sauce
1 package (12 ounces) silken tofu
2 tablespoons soy milk
juice of 1 lime
a dash of salt
Place the chipotle peppers in the bowl of a small food processor. Whiz for a few seconds until they are chopped. (You may have to scrape the sides down.) Add the tofu and whiz for 2 minutes, until tofu is smooth and no longer grainy. Add the soymilk, lime juice and salt as you’re whizzing.
That's all there is to it.
Serve with Stuffed Bell Peppers, or use later to decorate other dishes.
Note: Silken tofu comes in aseptic packages and is shelved in the Asian section of the supermarket. It’s different from the Chinese water-packed variety that is refrigerated. Use as many chipotle peppers as your tastebuds can handle. I’m pretty heat-resistant, and I found 3 to be plenty hot. For the peppers: If you’re out of vegetable stock use water. I used sundried tomatoes that had been packed in oil. (Dried would have to be reconstituted in water.) Try substituting blanched or roasted corn kernels for the tomatoes, for a more Southwestern effect.