If it has a Southwest or Mexican flair, my family will be all over a new recipe, and my new Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa) was no exception. I’m not a huge New Year’s resolution-maker. Especially with cooking and food, I will probably never be an all-or-nothing kind of girl. So, you won’t find me making far-reaching and exacting goals for 2013 like: I will lose 50 lbs or I will eliminate ALL processed food from my family’s diet. What I do aspire to accomplish is to make positive progress toward healthy weight-loss, and to change my family’s palates, so more of the nutrient-dense foods I’ve come to love, will make it onto THEIR own list of favorites. Creamy comfort-food casseroles, cookies and chocolate cake will never be completely eliminated from our diets, but I hope they will take more of a backseat, and assume an occasional treat role, rather than being center stage. All things in moderation is a good way to look at what I’d like to achieve. By integrating lighter, healthier dishes that taste fantastic, into the menus they are used to, the process for my husband and kids will be enjoyed, rather than resisted; and if I do it well, perhaps the subtle changes will go undetected. For this first venture, that’s exactly how it went. I’m really excited! We’ve already eaten this as a main dish, a side dish and as a salsa. Young and old, alike, have loved it and I’m excited that this new creation can be put into our regular meal rotation.
From a budget perspective, this is a meatless dish and so, less expensive than typical meals. Score! From a health perspective it’s intensely nutritious and it’s a powerhouse of textures and flavors that will leave your family wanting more. You could certainly add or subtract other veggies, to fit what you have on hand or want to introduce into your family’s diet. I originally developed the recipe as a way to use some Classico Pear Tomatoes from Heinz, (pick them up at Walmart), that I was trying. I was incredibly excited to pick up the can and see only 4 all-natural ingredients, each of which I could pronounce and recognize – tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, and fresh basil. They are packed fresh, with no preservatives and they were fantastic in this new dish!
As I started working on the recipe, my first idea was to do a rift on a traditional stuffed cabbage roll, lightening it up and doing something unexpected with the flavor. I created the filling, then stuffed and baked the cabbage, only to discover we all scooped out and devoured the filling, but left the outer cabbage leaves on our plates. This was not because we don’t like cabbage. We do. And the filling is chock-full of it. Determined to turn my semi-success into a perfect ten, I changed things up and used the delicious filling to stuff sweet bell peppers, instead. That simple alteration made all the difference and sent this recipe over the top. The stuffed peppers can be baked and served as a main dish, served raw and cold as a salad or side dish, or you can simply set out bowls of the filling on an appetizer buffet, to be enjoyed with tortilla chips. It’s fabulous, each and every way! How can you beat that in a recipe? Versatility, crowd-pleasing delicious flavor; plus healthy, nourishing ingredients??? You can’t. Don’t even try. – lol – Seriously, it’s SO good! I can’t wait for you to try it. Enjoy!
- 1 (28 oz) can Classico Pear Tomatoes with Basil, chopped and juice reserved
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1 cup lentils, cooked and cooled
- 1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large red onion
- 2 - 3 large, or 10 mini bell peppers, diced
- 2 cups cabbage, chopped
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (I used Hawaiian Red Alaea)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 2 limes, zest one and save juice from both
- Wash and chop enough kale leaves to make 2 cups. (To chop kale, start at the top of the leaf and tear down to remove them from the tough center stem. Discard the stem and chop leaves.)
- Chop cilantro.
- Dice onion.
- Chop cabbage.
- Dice peppers. (I had these mini sweet bells, so used them, but you could easily use full-sized bell peppers.)
- Toss all your diced and chopped veggies into a large mixing bowl.
- Drain all the juice from the can of Classico Pear Tomatoes with Basil into the bowl with your chopped veggies.
- Dice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
- Add the quinoa, black beans, lentils, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic to the veggie bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Zest one of the limes mix the zest into the confetti.
- Juice both limes, squeezing all the juice over the confetti. Stir it in.
- This is the moment where you will want to give everyone in the kitchen a spoon and all dig in and eat this delicious mixture, right out of the bowl, but if you resist that urge, you can use it in several different ways.
- Spoon Southwest Confetti into hollowed out Bell Peppers and bake for 20 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until filling is heated through. A light sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese could be sprinkled on top, if desired.
- Spoon Southwest Confetti into hollowed out Bell Peppers and serve plated with slices of fresh lime!
- Place a large bowl of Southwest Confetti on an appetizer buffet with corn tortilla chips and it will disappear in seconds.
- Spoon Southwest Confetti into hollowed bell peppers and arrange tortilla chips around the edible "bowl" to serve to each guest.
- Spoon Southwest Confetti into mini bell peppers that have been halved the long way, sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese and place under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning, slightly.
I’m excited at how nutritious this dish is and how much my family enjoyed it. Even without heavy sauces, sour cream or any additions of fat or sugar, Southwest Confetti is a tantalizing burst of delicious flavors and textural variety! Quinoa, black beans and lentils provide some great proteins (Quinoa is the only plant-based, complete protein, I think, containing every amino acid.) and the fiber, antioxidants and vitamins provided from the veggies put Southwest Confetti on a nutrition overload! Shhhh! Don’t tell them! Just bask in the healthy glory and soak up all the applause. Enjoy!
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Classico. #cbias #SocialFabric #CookClassico