Long, long time followers of this blog have probably noticed quite an evolution in the way we think about food. I’m always amused when I look back at Stacy’s first post where she talks about us eating whole grain tortillas and rice cereal. I think we’d be quite embarrassed by ourselves if we ever stopped to think about it! But, everyone starts somewhere – and there’s a reason we say that with a family an “on-ramp transition” is perfectly normal.
One of our compromises back then was the widespread use of quinoa in a lot of our foods. Quinoa was awesome to us back then. High in protein and lower starch. Also, nothing is more fun to say than “KEEN-wah.” It is, however, a pseudocereal (like amaranth and buckwheat) and, while better than wheat, just isn’t a great choice for human consumption. Although it might have protein and vitamins, we’re at a point where we’d just much rather have more meat and veggies instead!
One of the recipes we used to use quinoa in was our stuffed bell peppers recipe. Usually, when a dish like this is made, you’d use rice. After paleo, I started using quinoa. Now that we’ve given up all grains (even quinoa), I use that old paleo staple: cauliflower.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
6 large bell peppers, tops, seeds and ribs removed
2 Tbsp lard
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground red meat (I often use venison, but beef or lamb would also work)
1 C cauliflower, ground or mashed or pulsed into rice sized bits
1 13.5oz canned diced tomatoes, drained (or 1 cup fresh tomato, diced)
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or, alternatively, 1 tsp each dried basil, parsley and oregano)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 C tomato sauce
- ♥ A little trick: Stand your peppers up in a muffin tin. Trying to even the bottoms with a knife will often lead to leaks, but the muffin tin will hold them up without altering the pepper.
- Melt lard over medium high heat in a large skillet
- Saute onions and garlic for three minutes, stirring frequently
- Add ground meat and stir to brown, about 5 minutes
- Add raw ground cauliflower and diced tomato, stir for about 10 minutes to cook off liquid
- Add salt, pepper and seasonings, stir to incorporate
- ♥ Stuff each pepper to the top of each pepper, spread tomato sauce on top of that
You will likely have leftover meat, don’t worry – it makes a great pre or post-dinner snack!
- Bake the peppers for one hour at 350 degrees until pepper is fork-tender
- Serve with extra tomato sauce!
Let the kids help prepare these peppers (♥) and they’ll be much more likely to eat them! Serves 6-8 (our kids have 1/2 a pepper and then have the leftover filling). Serve warm – but feel free to make ahead or batch cook for lunches, these reheat really well!