With tomato season in full swing, you’ve probably enjoyed a caprese salad or two this summer. BUT, I’m willing to bet you’ve never eaten it cooked inside a pepper!
These Quinoa Caprese Stuffed Peppers shed a whole new light on the classic caprese salad. And they’re perfect for those who prefer their cheese melted and tomatoes cooked.
These stuffed peppers might look all fancy and time-consuming, but they’re actually quite easy to make. We’re only dealing with a few simple ingredients: grape tomatoes, garlic and onions, fresh mozzarella, basil, and cooked quinoa.
For the filling, you’ll start with a sauté of onions, garlic, basil, and tomatoes. To that, you’ll add the mozzarella and cooked quinoa. From there, simply stuff all of it inside the hollowed out pepper halves. And when I say stuff, I mean it. It may seem like there’s too much filling, but I encourage you to pile it on high. Nobody wants a sad pepper with 2 tomatoes and 3 cubes of mozzarella.
Once filled, bake them for a half hour. And while you’re waiting, don’t forget the final step, which I happened to miss when I first tested this recipe. I originally served these peppers for my family up at the cabin. And while they all raved about them, deep down, I knew something was missing. It wasn’t until I randomly came across this Peach Caprese Grilled Chicken from the archives that I realized I was forgetting something extremely crucial…the BALSAMIC VINEGAR. Duh Krista!
So while the peppers are cooking up in the oven, reduce some balsamic vinegar in a pan over the stove. You’ll be left with a velvety, syrupy, and sweet glaze to drizzle over the top of the peppers. Nothing gives an Italian-inspired tangy kick to a dish quite like a balsamic drizzle.
Once the peppers are finished, sprinkle with fresh basil, drizzle the balsamic, and slice into one of these pieces of heaven. The tender, sweet tomatoes will have burst slightly, spreading their sweet and tangy flavor onto the quinoa. And the mozzarella will have melted throughout the filling for the ultimate stringy, melty cheese experience with each bite.
These stuffed peppers are a wonderful side dish for any summer meal. They pair especially well with grilled meats. Plus, they’re quick enough for a weeknight family dinner and fancy enough for guests!
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped + more for topping
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into chunks
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 4 bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once heated add in the onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the fresh basil and grape tomatoes. Cook for about for another 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes are just beginning to blister. Take the pan off the heat and add the mozzarella and cooked quinoa to the tomato mixture. Stir to combine. Taste the filling and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Stuff and cook the peppers: Spoon equal amounts of the filling into each pepper half. Place the stuffed peppers in a large casserole dish. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Make the balsamic drizzle: While the peppers are cooking, heat the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the balsamic vinegar starts to bubble, reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar reaches a thick syrupy consistency.
- Finish and serve: Sprinkle chopped fresh basil and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the top of each stuffed pepper.
Calories: 218.4 Fat: 8.3g Carb: 27.2g Fiber: 2.9g Protein: 9.4g Sugar 0.4g Sodium: