These Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Peppers make a hearty, healthy, vegetarian meal that’s amazingly delicious and quick and easy to prepare. It’s a great recipe for Meatless Monday that the whole family will love!
I’m a weeknight cook – almost exclusively. The weekends are reserved for spending time at the beach, or trying out one of the year’s Top 50 Restaurants in Portland (currently we’ve only hit up about 15 of them). And, in all honesty, I’ve probably only made breakfast a handful of times…
Because of that, I like my meals to be quick and easy to prepare, without tasting like they are.
One of my key strategies to easy weeknight dinners is making just one dish that has the veggies, grains and protein all in one. A complete meal in one dish. I seldom make side dishes.
These Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers are just that type of dish. Plus, they’re a super healthy dinner recipe. With that black bean and quinoa stuffing, you get a boost of protein, iron and amino acids.
If you’ve got any quinoa haters in your family, I promise, they’ll barely even notice it in this dish. What they will notice is how cute these little stuffed peppers are with their tasty spices and all that melty cheese.
Who doesn’t love melty cheese?
These quinoa stuffed peppers are just as good leftover the next day. Kind of like a great chili recipe, the flavors just mellow out together and they get even better the second time around. I like to make extras to have on hand for lunches throughout the week. These stuffed peppers are perfect for meal prep!
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Ingredients
- Vegetable Broth – or Bone Broth or Chicken Broth
- Quinoa – try out my method of cooking quinoa in the instant pot
- Bell Peppers – I prefer to use yellow + red peppers, but green, orange, even poblano peppers work
- Olive Oil
- Green Onions
- Garlic – or garlic powder
- Canned Black Beans – or kidney beans, pinto beans, or frozen corn
- Spices – I love to add in smoky spices: chili powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne
- Canned Diced Tomatoes – I prefer to use petite diced tomatoes. You can also use fresh chopped tomato.
- Shredded Cheese – I like Monterey jack or substitute your favorite cheese blend, or swap in some vegan cheese shreds to make this meal vegan
How to Make Them
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring vegetable stock (or bone broth) and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, add dry quinoa. Cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can make instant pot quinoa.
- Cook bell pepper halves on a baking tray until softened, about 15 minutes. You can line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Meanwhile, saute onions, green onions and garlic, Stir in spices, then add black beans and tomatoes. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in cooked quinoa and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Fill peppers with quinoa mixture and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake 10 minutes.
Key Tips to Cook Perfect Quinoa
- Rinse your quinoa – It gets rid of any bitterness.
- Spray your pot (or Instant Pot) with oil – It cuts down on foaming and prevents sticking.
- Add a pinch of salt to flavor your quinoa right from the get go.
I like to prebake the peppers for about 15-minutes while the quinoa is cooking. This ensures that the peppers aren’t too crunchy and removes any excess liquids from the peppers before stuffing them.
With these quinoa filled peppers, I prefer to not cover the baking dish. This ensures that your peppers aren’t soggy, and the quinoa gets deliciously crispy.
By pre-baking the peppers (cut side down) before stuffing them, you will remove excess liquids from the peppers. Also, by baking the stuffed peppers uncovered, you will ensure that the peppers bake and become crispy, rather than steaming them if they were covered.
Yes! They make a great make ahead meal. You can pre-bake and stuff the peppers then cover them and store them in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Cook them in a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until heated through.
Definitely. These stuffed peppers will last in the freezer for up to three months. Simply stuff the peppers and wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them in a baking dish in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until heated through.
- Meat Options – After sauteeing the onions, add 1 pound ground turkey or ground beef and brown it. Swap the meat for the canned black beans.
- Vegan – Swap in some vegan cheese shreds.
- Rice – Swap in white rice or brown rice for the quinoa.
- Corn – Add in some frozen corn kernels for an extra pop of flavor.
- Poblano Peppers – Similar to these, you can use poblano peppers instead of bell peppers for a little extra heat.
- Toppings – Try topping your peppers with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, hot sauce, greek yogurt, cilantro lime crema, or regular or vegan sour cream.
Also, be sure to give my Easy Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Lime Crema a try!
Wine Pairings for Stuffed Peppers
- Zinfandel, Malbec and Merlot – Red wines with a hint of sweetness to them tend to pair well with this hearty, spice-forward dish.
Did you try these Quinoa Stuffed Peppers?
If you loved this Quinoa Stuffed Pepper recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook.
What do you eat with Stuffed Peppers?
- Avocado Chickpea Salad
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Vinegar Coleslaw
- Kale Caesar Salad
- MORE → 30+ sides for stuffed peppers.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth (bone broth or chicken stock)
- ¾ cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 2 red bell peppers (halved and seeded)
- 2 yellow bell peppers (halved and seeded)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (divided )
- Salt and pepper
- 1 onion (diced)
- 4 green onions (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional )
- 1 14.5 oz. ounce can black beans
- 1 14.5 oz. ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 limes (cut into wedges, for serving)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring vegetable stock (or broth) and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, add quinoa. Cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook it in the Instant Pot (see notes).
- Arrange the pepper halves on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until softened , about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, green onions and garlic, cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add in beans and tomatoes and let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Fill peppers with quinoa mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 minutes. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
More Quinoa Recipes:
- Sweet Potato Buddha Bowls
- Chicken Gyro Quinoa Bowl
- Breakfast Cookies with Quinoa
- Cauliflower Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Quinoa
- Creamy Quinoa Soup
- Quinoa Taco Bowls
- More → 35+ BEST quinoa recipes
More ways to cook peppers:
Note: This recipe was originally published in 2018. It was updated in 2022 to be a vegetarian quinoa stuffed pepper recipe. To make the original Southwest Beef & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, add 1 pound ground beef once the onions are sauteed. Brown the beef, then continue to add the spices and tomatoes.
Watch the web story here.
46 thoughts on “Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe ”
Erin, It is so funny–I too, am a weeknight cook. I spend weekends eating leftovers, grilling out, or socializing. So this is perfect for my family
A girl after my own heart! Enjoy Kristen – And enjoy those weekends too 🙂
These look divine! I’ve been wanting to try stuffed peppers for so long & have yet to. So I finally put these on my dinner list for the week! I do have a question tho, can I skip the tomatoes or do they give great flavor? My husband hates tomatoes (I know, he’s cray!). Or can you barely notice they’re in there in case I do sneak em in?
I barely notice the tomatoes Amy – Does he not like tomato sauce either? If he does, you could just sneak in a bit of tomato sauce instead of the tomatoes. Otherwise, go ahead and leave them out entirely. They should be fine without the tomatoes, but they may be a bit more dry.
Thank you for the reply! He likes tomato sauce, juice, soup, etc. He just doesn’t like the texture of tomatoes. So I’ll put them in, I’ll just put them in my chopper first 🙂 Can’t wait to make them this week!!
I hope that you both enjoy Amy – I think that he’ll be just fine with the tomatoes in here – They’re really not too noticeable.
Can I use ground chicken instead ?
Do you think these would hold up well as a freezer meal? Would you prepare as described then freeze before you bake the last 10 mins?
Hi Kristin – You can make and freeze the peppers in advance. Freeze the unbaked peppers (without cheese), then thaw them in fridge for 24 hours. Bake the peppers once thawed. Add 5 minutes to the cooking time, then add the cheese as above.
these were amazing-I used Pepper jack rather than Monterey Jack. Also added black beans to the meat mixture which was good also. I had enough filling for 7 peppers halved. What a great recipe.
Love your idea to add some black beans in there Maria!
Is there any nutritional information available for these, by chance? They look AWESOME!! 🙂
Oh, my goodness! I made these peppers for dinner tonight and they were delicious! I didn’t have all of the exact ingredients, so I made substitutions. My husband and I are vegetarians, so I used Morning Star Farms veggie crumbles instead of hamburger; a leek instead of green onions; mild cheddar for the Monterey Jack; and turmeric instead of cumin. So darned yummy and filling! I have enough leftovers for another meal. This was our complete, well-rounded meal tonight, along with a kosher dill pickle, lol. Fiber; a complete protein, healthy veggies; calcium; lots of vitamins and minerals; and healthy fat in the olive oil. Buon cibo!!
So glad to hear that you enjoyed them Mary – Your substitutions sound fantastic!
These came out great! It’s different from how I usually make mine.
Made these for the first time tonight. My husband (and I) are raving about the flavor! Looser and tastier than my traditional stuffed peppers. They were easy to make too. Next time I’ll add corn and maybe black beans. Thanks so much!
So happy to hear that you liked them! Love your suggested additions of black beans and corn!
I never really reply to these threads but I always use black beans and corn. I’ll make a giant batch for a party and do 2 sheet pans. I bake them right together so it’s almost like a casserole.
To add to the quinoa cooking tips. I was taught by my Philippino grandmother to put a clean kitchen towel over the pot after the boil and put the lid back on. Then turn off the heat. In twenty minutes with no peeking you have perfect quinoa rice or any other long grain. The towel absorbs the extra condensation so things don’t get soggy.
This was delicious! The quinoa added an earthy goodness that was tasty and filling. I’m so glad that it made so much that I’ll have portions to take for lunches! My husband ate the leftover filling out of the container! Thank you for this recipe, we will use this for beef tacos!
I’m so happy to hear that you liked them Anise! I agree, they’re perfect leftover!
These look great! Stuffed peppers are definitely a favorite of mine. I LOVE the Southwest flavors.
Thanks so much Mike! Cheers!
Stuffed peppers are so fun to make, this combination looks great.
Erin — if substituting black beans for beef in this recipe, do you need to cook or heat the beans at all before stuffing the peppers? Thanks! Anne
Hi Anne – Nope. You can just add them right in!
Thanks for this recipe, Erin! I will definitely have to try these but with lower sodium options. Any suggestions for substitutions?
Hi Kristina – I would use low sodium chicken broth (or just water) and omit the salt.
Made these for dinner tonight. Meat version for my husband and just substituted the ground beef for black beans. Was sooo delicious!!!
I’m so glad you liked it Jade!!! Love that substitution!
Really great and easy! Loved the flavor combination. I have a kiddo who can’t eat the peppers so I kept some filling aside and she had it in lettuce wraps! Worked like a dream! Thanks so very much!!
You’re welcome Katie! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
Hi Erin, I made these tonight. Your recipe calls for 3/4 cup of quinoa, but you don’t mention whether you mean cooked quinoa or not. 3.4 cup of dry quinoa would be 2 1/4 cup of dry quinoa. I used 3/4 cup of cooked, which after watching your video, I’m thinking I could have used more. Would you kindly specify so I’ll know when making them again. I’m sure I will. Thanks so much!
Hi Robin – Thanks for pointing this out! The quinoa is uncooked (and cooked in step 1). I’ve updated the ingredients list to make that more clear! Thanks so much for stopping by!
One of my favorite recipes. Super easy, and they freeze really well! I use ground turkey.
I’m so happy you like them Corissa! Love your idea of using turkey!
Just curious. Why can’t the quinoa be added uncooked? Also wondering if you have directions to do this in an Instant Pot. Thanks for any help you can give.
This is definitely a delicious meal – so east to make! First time last night, next time will be within a week! I made it exactly the way suggested, I always do the first time ….. love the kick it has and the only thing I will try adding is some jalapeños! I also made some using sweet baby peppers and will do this for appetizers for our next party!
Love the idea to use the smaller peppers for an appetizer Richard!
I’ve never left a review on any recipe page before… But gurrrllll you deserve 5 starts for this one. I love Sam’s Clubs stuffed peppers and I have made about 6 varieties trying different recipes. Yours hit it out of the park. BONUS…. MY HUSBAND LOVED THEM TOO. He’s a picky eater! He likes to add a dab of sour cream on top.
Thank you for this recipe!!!!
Thank you so much Heather Sue! I’m glad they were a hit!
These taste so yummy! Making these for dinner tonight and looking forward to see what my son’s reaction is as he thinks that a meal without meat is not a meal. I had some leftover filling and I’m eating it out of the bowl! This was so easy to put together and I will definitely be making it again.
Thank you so much Janet! I love the filling too!
These are in our regular meal rotation. So yummy and healthy!
Thank you Christine! I love how healthy they are!