Quinoa-Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers (or Banana Peppers)

The previous owner of our house kept the doghouse on a shaded patch of grass between our neighbors house and ours.  (Our doghouse is on the couch.)  Once they moved out and we moved in, they left a footprint of dirt where the doghouse sat.

Before I allowed grass to grow back in that spot, I planted rosemary, basil, and italian parsley and there was room for something else.  I planted banana peppers (cubanelle peppers) in this space allotted for "something else".  So now I have an herb garden island surrounded by grass.  It looks like...Alcatraz.   You should see my sister's herb garden - it's in a perfect platform rectangle bed that's self irrigating and self-fertilizing.  They probably have a chute to transport the produce from the garden to the kitchen sink and a return chute for the compost.  But when I planted my herb garden, I wasn't thinking that far ahead. 

And then one day I thought "It needs stones or something to separate itself from the grass."  So what do I do?  Go to the store and buy stones?  No no.  I go to the garage and grab the "spare" bricks from our garage.  Instead of landscaping stones, I have bricks surrounding my herb garden.  Our lawn care guys love this, I'm sure, because not only is it hideous, but now they have to mow AROUND it.  Again, not thinking ahead.

Suddenly after just a few months, I had 30-40 banana peppers.  I was very proud.  And while I was taking credit for the work done by mother nature and the sprinkler system, someone said, "What the hell are you going to make with banana peppers?" Why burst a bubble with a needle when you can destroy it with a butcher knife?  But she was right - I hadn't really thought that far when I planted the seeds.  Again, not planning ahead.

Type Bs don't plan*.  But we know how to adapt.  We've done that our whole life.  We adapt. 

So basically, I bought the shoes before the dress.  So what?  The most stunning outfits are made that way...just like this dish. 

*Some of my friends will say I'm type A, and my family will say I'm a Type B.  But I'm also a Gemini, which means I get to choose what I want to be when I want.  :)

A special shout out to Cheryl for voicing that we can enjoy the near-sighted tiny dreams and thanks to people like Colin and Shefaly for calling us "interesting".  We've been called worse.

Quinoa Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
(or Banana Peppers)
Serves 4
recipe by Rabbitfoodrocks
Have you ever had or made a stuffed bell pepper?  It looks so pretty and then you grab a fork and just as you're about to dive in, you think, "how the heck do I eat this thing?"  It's so awkward.
This recipe is more manageable to eat and a breeze to make.  Not to mention, meatless and delicious and healthy and kid friendly?  This one is a looker and a keeper.  Like the (wo)man of your dreams. 


32 banana peppers (mini sweet peppers or cubanelle peppers), halved and ribs removed
3/4 cup quinoa (or 1 rice-cooker cup)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1 green onion, sliced
1 Tablespoon Penzey's Northwoods Seasoning (or Taco seasoning)
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley (flat leaf or curly)
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz can tomato sauce (or tomato puree)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup shredded mexican blend cheese


1.  Heat olive oil in a small pot over medium heat.  Add quinoa and roast for 1-2 mins until slightly fragrant.  All of the quinoa should be shiny from the oil.
2.  Add 1.5 cups (or 2 rice-cooker cups) of water and a pinch of salt and cover.  Stir periodically.  Cook until quinoa is done and has just released the "halos".   Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
3.  In a bowl combine shallots, green onions, Northwoods Seasoning, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Add cooled quinoa and toss well.  Add tomato sauce and mix thoroughly.  (you can also add some chopped peppers here if you have a few extra peppers)
4.  Preheat oven to 350.  Using a small spoon, fill each half pepper with filling. Add each pepper in the casserole dish (filling face up) after you fill them.  Once all the peppers are filled, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 mins uncovered. 


  1. This looks so pretty. I've never used that type of pepper. I like the fact that you straddle the fence between type A & B. I can relate. Look what good fortune all your serendipity has brought you! Love your little offbeat herb garden, too!

  2. Ah, a fellow Gemini. Now it's all starting to make sense. And thanks for kind nod and gentle virtual squeeze!

  3. This looks amazing!! Can't wait to try it...and heheh..your doghouse is your couch...LOOOVE IT!

  4. This looks absolutely delicious!! I've never seen such pretty banana peppers...I think the only ones I've seen are those that come with Papa John's pizza. Can you find these banana peppers in any grocery store if you don't grow them?

  5. Adair - Thanks so much. THis year I didn't grow banana peppers. I actually just bought a bag of mini sweet peppers from Costco. You can use the mini sweets in lieu of banana peppers. They are milder, sweeter, and have a thicker skin. Maybe I should learn from them! Hehe..

    Cheryl - thanks for commenting and inspiring this post. you got me out of a blog rut.

    Sarah - thanks for your comment! If you do end up trying to make it, i'd love to get your feedback.

    Sonam - these are actually mini sweet pepper that I bought from Costco this year since I didn't grow peppers this year. (see my comment to Adair) Banana peppers are different but work equally well. You should be able to find one of them at the regular grocery store or your local farmers market. If not, you can always resort to poblano peppers (ribs and seeds removed). THose are spicier and much bigger, but would still make a great dish!! maybe better!!

  6. Looks awesome! Very nice pictures too!

  7. Wow! I really want to make this..or maybe you can make it for me=) It looks so gooood!! I can't believe you nurtured these peppers from birth!

    P.S. I'm a type C (cuddly). I'm also a MILC-with.

  8. Looks delisious. Hubby loves anything with peppers and wee raise several kinds. At the end of the season we make pickled peppers using vinegar sweetened to taste. Boil it and pour over you peppers in a jar ( I halve or quater them) and seal. Yummy on sandwiches througout the year. And this works well with any type of pepper.

  9. YUM! Love quinoa and topping it with cheese? Reminds me of little nachos!

  10. Those look fabulous! And I love your little garden!!

  11. Karan - thanks so much for the suggestion!

    Family Spice - you're right - they do make a great snack!

    thedaintyvegetarian - thanks for stopping by!

  12. I just tried these made by the chef/author herself (or the chef/author's husband who was trying to take credit), and I can't tell if I loved the dish more or the story more! So delicious and unique - I've never tried anything quite like it. And it looks so beautiful and colorful too!


Thanks for posting a comment! Check back soon for my reply!