Stuffed peppers are one of those Italian dishes that I always remember having around when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I refused to eat anything green, so I really missed out. Now that I’m older, I feel bad for my mom, because I was probably such a pain in the ass to feed. I’ll try to do better with my kids, which I am not having for awhile, despite my sister passing on my mom’s message to get to work on some grandkids. 
So, I grew up in New Jersey, and while my personal affiliations lean more towards Irish, sometimes I feel like I should get some sort of honorary “guidette” award. This is probably a good time to make some comments on MTV’s Jersey Shore. I watched a few episodes, mostly because everyone I know kept asking me if New Jersey was really that bad. I will say this: I grew up at the Jersey Shore and 90% of the wintertime population was completely normal. However, in the summer a lot of tourists from Northern Jersey and New York come down to live in the summer rentals. They turn our quiet, classy town into Ed Hardy central and their bars start pumping house music at 180dB. It would be easy for me to rag on them, but I am grateful to the Italians for bringing such good food over to America. So, I salute you and your forefathers with my recipe for quinoa-stuffed peppers. This dish is a great way to use up vegetables that you might have on hand near the end of your grocery cycle, or to use some things that have been hanging out in the freezer. It’s also a nifty use of quinoa, which is probably one of my favorite superfoods.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 medium sized green peppers
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup egg plant, cubed
1/2 a cup of mushrooms
1 can diced tomatoes (or dice them fresh)
1/2 c. frozen corn
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa
3/4 c. water
fresh ground black pepper
daiya cheese (cheddar or italian based on your preference)

1. Prep your vegetables by slicing the mushrooms, dicing the onion, mincing the garlic, and cutting the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes.
2. Saute the onions and garlic in 1 tbsp. olive oil for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions start to turn golden brown.
3. Add the eggplant and cook for an extra minute until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms and cook for another minute.
4. Add tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes before adding frozen corn. Stir well.
5. Add the quinoa, oregano, and cumin and mix very very well. Allow this mixture to simmer on low while you prep the peppers.
6. Cut the stems off of the peppers and remove all the seeds. Fill a pot with water and place the peppers on a screen above the water. Steam for 4 minutes. I usually use a handled strainer in a big pot with a cover, but you might be working with some fancy equipment.
7. Carefully transfer the peppers into a baking dish and stuff with your filling.
8. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil, sprinkle with daiya (or your favorite shredded cheeze) and cook for 10 minutes until the cheese melts and the tops of the peppers brown.
 Serves 4. Each pepper has about 250 calories before you add the vegetables. I rarely count the calories in my vegetables.