Hello and welcome to White Fight #3. The hardest thing about these next two grains is gonna be how to pronounce them…after that you are golden. These are so fast and easy and…tiny. I like to sub them in for rice because they are so tasty but light.
“KEEN-wah” –> Quinoa
“Koos-koos” –> Couscous
Couscous is actually just a pasta. So, I’m kind of cheating here, because this is NOT a whole grain, however, its a nice light healthy alternative to the heavy brown rice. When you choose WHOLE GRAIN. Just like whole wheat pasta, when you buy couscous, make sure it says whole wheat or whole grain on the box and you’ll get the whole wheat benefits that we talked about in White Fight #1.
Quinoa is a different story. I grabbed these facts about Quinoa right off the box:
– contains more high quality protein than any other grain. The National Academy of Sciences call it “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom”
– it is a complete protein grain (provides all the essential amino acids in a balanced pattern)
– contains no gluten (great if you follow a wheat free/gluten free diet)
– its light and easy to digest
– quick and easy to prepare, it can be served as a side, in soups, in salads, as a pilaf, and even as a breakfast cereal
*I used both of these grains when I was making my own baby food. They have a nice texture and mild flavor, and they are so tiny so there isn’t a choking hazard.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers:
How do I say that again? Oh, right — “KEEN-wah” 😉
This recipe I found right on the back of the box…and loved it. And, wow, I actually don’t think I changed it! (Except I did saute my onion and mushroom in oil instead of butter…does that count?? You can make that choice for yourself.)
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
4-6 medium green bell peppers
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp butter or oil (for sautéing)
1 – 28 oz. can tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 12 oz jar mexican salsa
2 Tbsp Dry White Wine
10 oz Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Pre-heat oven to 325. Cook the quinoa following the directions on the package. Fluff when its done cooking. When the quinoa is done, it will be slightly translucent and you will be able to see the germ ring around the outside.
Cut the tops off your peppers and pull out the seeds and membranes. Steam or boil them until soft and bright in color.
TIP: After cutting the top of your pepper, place your fingers around the middle section with the seeds and pull it out, then rip off the side membranes. They come off easy. Its faster that way, but if you prefer cutting it, slice straight down the membranes then pull it out, and then you can cut off any other whitish parts.
If you are boiling the peppers, don’t worry if they all don’t fit like mine below. Just make sure and cover them and they will still simmer and thats all they really need. Cook them until the color gets bright and more vibrant. If you cook them any longer they will start to limp and the color will start to fade. I cooked mine about 5 minutes after it started to a full boil again.
Saute the onion and mushroom in oil or butter. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and salsa. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add the wine and simmer for 10 more minutes.
Fold in the quinoa.
Place the peppers in a baking dish and fill with the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with a tomato casadilla and some mango slices and enjoy!
CONFESSION: I diced this up for my girls, and I made the casadillas for a side because I honestly didn’t think my 1 year old would eat this because of all the green pepper chunks. (And I could’ve just served her the quinoa, I know, but I usually don’t do that, I serve them exactly what we are having so they have the chance to try everything. Well, I watched her pick up a green pepper chunk with some quinoa, and then guess what happened…INTENSE, I KNOW…she swallowed and grabbed another. Just goes to show how yummy this is!