Hazelnut Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We ate a lot of tacky food in the 70’s, and stuffed bell peppers are in the Tacky Foods Hall of Fame. Ground beef, Velveeta cheese, Worchestershire sauce. We’re talking serious tackiness. But, hey!, what can you expect from people who wore leisure suits and platform shoes?

I decided to remake this classic from my early married life in the late 70’s. Healthier. And yummier. Cooked with love in every bite.

I cooked my weight in stuffed peppers as a newlywed, thinking my sweet groom loved them. He ate them, smiled and hugged me every single time I dished them up. Then one day my culinary prowess was ripped like a rug from under me.

“So what do you cook for Jim?” my mother-in-law questioned.
“I make stuffed bell peppers a lot,” I proudly proclaimed.
“And he eats them?” her stunned reply.
“Oh yes, every bite!” I came back.
“But Jim HATES bell peppers,” she said, stumping me completely.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Turns out, I am the luckiest woman on the planet. I am married to Jim Kelly, who is a person who commutes from celestial worlds each morning to make my life an earthly bliss. Not just because he wakes me every single morning of my life with silly songs he sings in my ears. And not just because I have never once done laundry in 34 years (as of last week!). Mostly because he eats every single bite of every single dish I have ever made, some of them nasty or weird beyond words. And yet he raves about every single bite. What would I have done for these 34 years without him? Jim loves me deeply, completely. He loves me more than food. Imagine!

I dedicate these delish-i-fied stuffed peppers to YOU, Jim, my eternal sweetheart. Here’s to our eternal honeymoon!

Jim even smaller

Jim Kelly – Greatest Husband on Earth

Looking back, stuffed peppers were nasty. Ground beef, rice and either Velveeta or Cream of Mushroom Soup. But don’t despair. These updated morsels are truly divine. I have reinvented them here, with a combination of some recipes from my favorite cooks – Basil Stuffed Peppers by Greg of Sippity Sup; Brown Rice and Sausage Stuffed Peppers, by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen; Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers by Sara and Kate of Our Best Bites; Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers, Sandy (MY SISTER!) of Everyday Southwest.

Try my version for your next Meatless Monday feast!


1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large red or orange bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup diced hazelnuts
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped spinach leaves
A little cooking oil spray

Add quinoa, water and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes and remove from heat and let stand.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place in an 8 by 10 baking pan.

Saute shallot in oil over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add in hazelnuts and cumin and cook another minute.  Add in garlic and spinach and cook another minute. Stir in quinoa and remove from heat.

Spoon quinoa mixture into bell pepper halves and lightly spray with oil.

Roast at top of oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bell peppers are softened. Serve immediately.

— posted by Donna


  1. says

    He loves you more than food. Now THAT is serious stuff. I really hope I can find someone I love more than food someday. I wonder sometimes if that’s possible… :P

    I love the stuffing in these bell peppers! What a fabulous retro redo!

    • says

      Joanne – Who was it that said “there is no sincerer love than the love of food?” So true. And yet, don’t give up on finding that someone out there who will love you more than food!

  2. says

    A very, very happy anniversary! You and Jim are an inspiration.

    Also – fabulous update! Not too coincidentally, one of the things I plan to share myself is the “stuffed pepper filling” recipe I made for everyone that one night in our rented house in Oahu. I think that was my first official Kelly family vacation! :O)

  3. AHODGES says

    I’m not sure about quinoa and peppers, but what you said about your husband was sweet. He sounds like an awesome guy, treating you with such love even after 34 years (Happy aniversary, btw)of marriage. I find that incredibly romantic.

    I hope that my husband and I are still madly in love after that many years together. I think we will be, because he’s awesomesauce too! ;-)


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