New Spin on a Vintage Recipe — Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

     It’s been awhile since I’ve made stuffed green peppers and back then I cut off their tops and filled the cavities with a hamburger-rice mixture. But our garden is full of smaller-sized peppers so Barry suggested that we cut them lengthwise and lay them on their side, and he requested pork sausage in place of ground beef.
      Instead of rice, I thought of quinoa and quickly cooked up a batch. It takes just about 15 minutes; while I’m cooking it, I usually make up a full batch and then store it in the refrigerator or freezer for other dishes. (Check out our index on the right; if you scroll down far enough, there will be a list of ingredients – when you come to quinoa, click on it and all of the recipes we’ve posted for that ingredient magically appear! Or, type quinoa in the white search box at the top left hand side of this page.)
    A few changes here and there —that’s how we ended up putting a new spin on a vintage recipe.

Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers 
5 to 6 green bell peppers (or more if they are small)
About 1 to 1 ½ lb. ground sausage 
About ½ to ¾ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper (or more if you like heat)
1 cup+ cooked quinoa (follow the directions for cooking at our link but omit the addition of the veggies -- just cook the rinsed quinoa in water for about 15 min.  using 2 c. water to 1 c. quinoa)
2 tablespoons+ tomato paste
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
About ½ cup water
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1.     Cut peppers in half, remove seeds and veins; arrange in a baking dish.
Peppers are cut and ready to fill.
2.     Add the sausage to a hot pan or skillet (medium high heat). Using the back of a spoon, break up the meat as it cooks. When it begins to brown, add the onions and parsley, let cook a few more minutes and then stir in the garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne; continue to cook for a few more minutes – onions and garlic should be tender.
Sausage is browning, the onions parsley and garlic have been added.
3.     Stir in the cooked quinoa (add more if you want to stretch the filling) and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (add more for taste or to bind the ingredients if needed). Remove mixture from heat and let cool just slightly.
The mixture is ready to "stuff" into the green peppers.
4.     Use a spoon to pack the mixture into the cavity of each pepper, mounding it up on top to get a large portion into each pepper.
5.     Mix tomato sauce, water and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.
6.     Bake approximately 1 hour in 350° oven, basting with sauce about every 20 minutes, until the peppers are tender. Place foil over the baking dish during last half of baking time.
We served our stuffed pepper with creamed cucumbers.

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