Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered a whole grain but it is really a seed. Quinoa is high in protein and dietary fiber. It contains more high quality protein than any other grain. Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all the 9 essential amino acids. It does not contain any gluten.  Quinoa is a perfect food for vegetarians, vegans and people who are lactose intolerance or gluten intolerant.

Quinoa can be served hot or cold. It can be served as a side dish, in soups, as a pilaf or as a breakfast cereal.  One cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories, 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of dietary fiber.  Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, iron, selenium, calcium, folate and vitamin E.  I typically use quinoa in the place of rice or couscous. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to cook. I typically cook a batch and store in the refrigerator.  It can be stored up to 4 days. I use it in soups and as a base for stir fry vegetables.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:  462 calories, 32 grams protein, 9 grams of fat,  59 grams of CHO,  13 grams dietary fiber,  1947 mg sodium.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes         Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 large green peppers or other peppers of choice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 tbsp butter or trans-fat free margarine
  • 1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained but reserve the juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 – 15.5 oz jar of thick salsa or 2 cups of homemade thick salsa
  • 10 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded



Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Cook the quinoa following basic directions (add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups boiling water, return to boil, then lower heat & simmer until water is absorbed  about 15 minutes).  Cut the seeds out of the peppers. Steam green peppers until soft BUT no limp. In a large skillet, sauté onion & mushrooms in the butter.  Add drained tomatoes, crushed garlic, salsa & spinach.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then simmer for 10 minutes. Fold in cooked quinoa. Place peppers into a baking dish. Fill each pepper equally with the quinoa/vegetable mixture.  Pour 1/2 reserved tomato juice into the 4 peppers equally & then pour the rest of the tomato juice around the peppers.  Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the peppers equally.  Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.


Shopping List

  • quinoa
  • 4 large green peppers or other peppers of choice
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ lb fresh mushrooms
  • 4 oz fresh spinach
  • butter or trans-fat free margarine
  • 1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 – 15.5 oz jar of thick salsa
  • 10 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

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Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    



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