Food: Spicy, stuffed peppers with kale and quinoa, vegan, gluten-free

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By Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, CDE

As temperatures plummet, piping hot dishes make their way to our dinner table. Hearty, wholesome soups, and stews take center stage and this oh-so- satisfying stuffed pepper dish joins the ranks of one of our favorite hot entrees for the season. Looks can be deceptive-you will find that these luscious, stuffed peppers are relatively simple to assemble, even though it might looked like you slaved over them!

Oh and did I mention, all your favorite nutrient super stars are here- with quinoa, kale, black beans, garlic and peppers, this dish packs quite the nutrient punch while stimulating your taste buds at the same time. So all that’s left to do is simply dig in and enjoy!!

© Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE
© Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

Serves 8


  1. 4 multi-colored, bell peppers
  2. 2 tbsp peanut oil + 1 teaspoon.
  3. 1 large onion, diced
  4. 5-6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  5. 3 medium to large tomatoes, pureed
  6. 2 cups kale, coarsely chopped
  7. 1 cup canned, black beans, rinsed and drained
  8. 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  9. 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  10. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  11. Salt to taste
  12. 1 tbsp sriracha sauce or per taste
  13. 4 tbsp sharp cheddar, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease a 9″x 13″ rectangular baking dish with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Set aside.
  3. Wash peppers and boil in a large pot of salted water for approximately 4-5 minutes, or until softer, but still somewhat firm. Cut lengthwise in half, pat dry both the inside and the outside of the peppers, remove seeds and place in the baking dish.
  4. Heat the 2 tbsp of remaining oil in a large, thick bottomed pan
  5. Add garlic and stir until light golden brown.
  6. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent.
  7. Add the pureed tomatoes, stirring occasionally until blended into the onion-garlic mixture and the moisture in the pan begins to evaporate. See picture below.
    Onion-tomato-garlic mixture. © Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

    Onion-tomato-garlic mixture. © Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

  8. Stir in the chopped kale, black beans, basil, turmeric and sriracha sauce.
    © Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

    Kale-bean mixture, © Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

  9. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes
  10. Open the lid and fold the quinoa gently into the mixture until blended.
    © Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

    © Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

  11. Add 2 tbsp of the shredded cheese along with salt, and season to taste.
  12. Transfer kale-bean-quinoa filling to a bowl, and allow to cool slightly. ( You should get ~ 3 cups of filling)
  13. Scoop out approximately 1/3 cup of the filling into each “pepper cup”.
  14. Transfer to the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until heated through.
  15. Remove dish with peppers from the oven, garnish with remaining cheese, turn on the broiler, and place in the oven under broiler, just until the cheese has melted.
  16. Serve hot.
© Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE
Kale-bean -quinoa filling, © Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE
© Copyright, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE

A Registered Dietitian’s tip: The red peppers used in this recipe supply beneficial nutrients such as beta carotene and quercetin, in varying quantities. In case you are wondering what quercetin is, it belongs to a class of antioxidants called flavonoids and has potent anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, quercetin is known to prevent clots from forming in your arteries that could potentially trigger a stroke or heart attack. Peppers also contain the B vitamin folate, that can help support a healthy heart.

Sangeeta Pradhan

The onions featured here, are an allium vegetable. Vegetables in the allium genus include onions, garlic, leeks and scallions, that contain potent, organo-sulphur compounds with anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. In addition, onions and garlic also contain prebiotics that are so key in supporting the friendly probiotic bacteria in your gut, thus keeping inflammation and chronic disease at bay.

Disclaimer: This blog is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician or registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.



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