Recipe: Quinoa, Cannellini and Lacinato Kale Loaded Bell Peppers

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 7.23.27 AMThese delicious peppers were a joy to create and a delight to eat! I have talked before about how I eat seasonally- when it is hot outside I crave salads and grilled fish and when it is cold outside I want baked casseroles, soup and chili. This recipe, however, is great for both!

These peppers are full of bright summer flavors, but bake in the oven and come out gooey and warm. These are all-season in the Brennan house 😉 And, while I don’t count calories often- when I put these ingredients into My Fitness Pal I learned that 2 peppers were only 290 calories. That was so surprising because they are loaded up with so much flavor.

A long time ago I used to eat Lean Cuisines and I remember them always hovering around 300 calories but always finishing them with my stomach feeling empty. I can tell you that these peppers will leaving you feeling full, satisfied and so happy! I hope that if you make them you love them!

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Quinoa, Cannellini and Lacinato Kale Loaded Bell Peppers

(serves 4)

  • 4 bell peppers (any color, halved with seeds and veins removed)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (I always cook mine in organic vegetable broth and a piece of kombu which is a dried sea vegetable. This vegetable makes the quinoa gentler on your digestive tract)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1- 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of Lacinato Kale, stemmed and ribbon cut
  • 1- 14.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1- 14.5 ounce can of organic tomato sauce, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup organic mozzarella cheese, shredded (if vegan you can leave this out or use a vegan cheese- I promise they would be just as delish without the cheese)
  • 8 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated (same as above- just leave out if vegan)
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 11×7 casserole pan by pouring tomato sauce to cover the bottom.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium/high heat and add the olive oil and onion. Cook until translucent and tender, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Place the ribbon cut kale, salt and pepper into the pan and sauté until bright green, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add the drained cannellini beans to the pan and mash them with a potato masher (if you don’t have a potato masher don’t stress, just use a fork and mash them that way or mash them with your hands before adding to the pan) stir until well blended.
  7. Pour the diced tomatoes (with juice) and lemon juice into the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, cooked quinoa, ¼ cup mozzarella, red pepper flakes and check for seasoning. Add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  9. Fill each pepper half and place them in the casserole with the layer of tomato sauce on the bottom. Top each pepper with 1 Tbsp. of tomato sauce.
  10. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
  11. Uncover the pan and top with remaining ½ cup of mozzarella and 1 Tbsp. of Parmesan.
  12. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes- or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  13. Allow the peppers to rest for 10 minutes and then serve.

These peppers are perfect alone- but would also be great with a salad or some sliced tomatoes with balsamic. They are incredibly delicious- you won’t believe they are good for you!


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