Quinoa Stuffed Peppers and a Puppy Named Pepper

by Melissa on June 28, 2011

I would like to introduce you to Pepper, our foster puppy for a little over three months now. We have been fostering her from a wonderful rescue group: Angels Among Us. The people who work with Angels are amazing, they really are angels. The work that they do with these animals is truly inspiring.

Pepper was found with her siblings in a parking lot back in March 2011, they are lab mix pups out of an abandoned litter of five. I first met Pepper when I went to the vet’s office to take some photos of her and one of her sisters for the rescue. I found out later that day that when the litter of puppies was picked up several were very sick. The vet also found that Pepper had a severely broken femur. I was amazed and shocked when I found out because when I showed up to take photos, she was so happy to see me and was jumping and running all over the room.

I ended up crying and convinced Paul that we needed to foster this little girl. I just couldn’t believe that she was such a happy puppy, even when a broken leg, I knew that she needed a nice place to stay while we wait to see what a specialist says about proceeding with treatment for her leg. Plus, I’m a sucker for black dogs and pointy ears!

She’s a smart one too, and very playful. As you can see, she loves to play and knows “sit” and “shake.”

Even with a crooked leg, Pepper plays hard and takes tug of war very seriously.

Pepper is still looking for her forever home. As much as we love her, having three dogs in the house can be a bit overwhelming for me – someone who works from home (smile). If you or someone you know is interested in adopting this little black lab puppy, please let me know!

Now, for another kind of pepper, the stuffed ones! Ever since I first tried quinoa, I’ve been a little obsessed with it. It’s such a great source of protein, I’ve been wanting to use quinoa in place of rice wherever I can.

This is an easy dish, inspired by this Whole Foods recipe, that you can easily put together for dinner. For a fun variety of color, I chose red, orange and yellow bell peppers.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
5 sliced shittake mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
5 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded and chopped; tops removed and reserved from remaining 4 then cored and seeded)
1/3 cup chopped basil
1/8 pound baby spinach
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
optional: 1/3 teaspoon chili powder, if you like that extra kick
Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet (I used my beloved wok) over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until transparent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add shittake mushrooms and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened (about 2-3 more minutes).

Add basil and spinach in batches. Let spinach wilt then stir in chili powder and cooked quinoa. Toss and mix the mixture gently to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool for about 5 to 7 minutes.

While the filling is cooling, heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking pan with additional olive oil.

Divide quinoa mixture evenly among the remaining 4 bell peppers. Make sure that each pepper is filled, and the quinoa mixture is slightly packed down. Top each pepper with its reserved top, and arrange the peppers upright in prepared baking pan.

Cover the baking pan snugly with foil and bake, until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hour.

Serve & enjoy!

By the way, don’t forget to enter the Sufi’s Atlanta giveaway! You have until tomorrow evening to enter.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Crane
June 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Pepper! What a sweetie :) I like how you joined the puppy and meal together, very creative. Interesting dish. Keep up the unique ideas.


esther julee | atlanta wedding photographer
June 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm

looks yummy! always a fan of colorful dishes. :)


jacob fu
June 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm

hope pepper finds a good home!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
June 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I love your stuffed peppers! I posted last week about the great peppers on sale here and also have done wild rice stuffed peppers, but kept it raw/vegan.

BEautiful images, as always!


Melissa Crane
June 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Thanks Paul! It’s about time I gave little Pepper a shout-out on the blog.

Esther & Jacob – hope you two have a fab time in St. Maarten! It’s times like these when I’m insanely jealous of your jobs ;)

Averie – this was a fun recipe to cook up! I’m finding that I really enjoy these vegan dishes especially during the summer.


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