Pizza quinoa stuffed peppers have all the flavor and goodness of pizza, in a bell pepper! Pretty, delicious, and (mostly) healthy.
Why you’ll love it: These peppers are really tasty and this recipe makes a lot. You can freeze some to use later.
How long it takes: about 20 minutes to prep and 45 minutes to bake
Equipment you’ll need: large baking dish, mixing bowl, large pot
Servings: 5 servings (2 pepper halves each)
Pizza packed into a healthy red pepper makes a satisfying and good-for-you meal. With power-packed quinoa, fresh basil, and flavorful mushrooms, this savory treat is better for you than actual pizza.
Oh, yeah, and lots of cheese and pepperoni. Minor details. No greasy crust, though, so pat yourself on the back for that. This pizza is all packaged up in a sweet red bell pepper. It’s gluten-free!
So that’s a win. Actually, a serving of two filled pepper halves is just over 300 calories! Not bad, right?
The birthdays go by so quickly, don’t they? All of a sudden, you hit another milestone birthday and you wonder where the years went. As the birthday numbers go up (I’m not telling you specifics here), I feel like it’s all the more reason to watch what you eat.
Perhaps you feel like you’ve been overdoing the sweets lately. I feel like I’ve had a slightly obscene amount of goodies around here. It’s one of the hazards of my job, I guess. The No Bake Peanut Butter Bars were especially damaging to my waistline and we won’t even mention the Kahlua Brownies.
About these Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
I like to cut the peppers in half from top to bottom rather than the traditional way of stuffing peppers (by slicing off the tops), because they are easier to stuff and you can stuff in more filling. Halved peppers are easier to bake and easier to eat. If you prefer the traditional way, feel free change it up.
This isn’t my first go-around with stuffing quinoa into a bell pepper. If you’re craving Tex-Mex, make sure to try my southwestern stuffed peppers with quinoa and chicken or vegetarian southwestern stuffed peppers with rice and pinto beans.
I’m not sure but I think I may love this recipe even more than the southwestern verstion. The gooey bits of fresh mozzarella, the spicy pepperoni, and the fresh basil keep things lively. I’m a sucker for all things pizza.
I’ll get you started on the recipe here with lots of extra helpful tips and ways to change it up. Look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post with complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Bell Peppers: Look for generously sized peppers so you’ll have lots of room for the stuffing. Any color will work. A combination of colors is attractive, too.
- Cooked Quinoa: If you only happen to have uncooked quinoa, no worries. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to cook up a batch. I like to cook the whole bag and freeze the excess for other recipes. You’ll find a whole bunch of quinoa recipes near the end of the post.
- Sliced Pepperoni: Because pizza isn’t pizza without a little pepperoni, right? If you want a vegetarian stuffed pepper, just skip the pepperoni. If you’re more of a sausage or ham fan, that’s fine, too.
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: Use the pearl variety so you don’t have to cut it up. If you can’t find that, any fresh mozzarella is fine. If you’d rather use regular shredded mozzarella, go for it. It’s your pizza.
- Pizza Sauce: Choose your favorite sauce, whether it’s from a jar, can, or homemade.
- Fresh Basil: This recipe is a great way to use up excess basil from your garden. I pack a whole cup of it in. If basil isn’t in season, use a teaspoon of dried basil or the basil that comes in a little tube.
- Fresh Mushrooms: Either baby bella or white mushrooms are fine. They add nutrition, texture, and moisture to the stuffing.
- Fresh Spinach: For lots of nutrition and color.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: The peppers are topped with flavorful Parmesan cheese. If you prefer, you could top them with shredded mozzarella for a more authentic pizza experience.
How To Make This Recipe
Ready to get started? If you only have uncooked quinoa, you’ll want to get that going first.
Turn the oven on to preheat the oven and get a pot of water on to boil. Prepare a very large baking dish by spraying it with nonstick spray. It has to be large enough to accommodate 10 pepper halves. If necessary, use two dishes.
Once the water is boiling, use tongs to drop the pepper halves into the pot. After three minutes, remove them from the boiling water with the tongs and set them cut sides down on a wire rack or dish towel to cool and drain.
Chop the mushrooms, spinach, and basil. In a large bowl, lightly mix all the stuffing ingredients together. Stuff the pepper halves, mounding the tops, and place them in the baking dish.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake them for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with fresh basil if you like.
Boiling the peppers briefly before stuffing them helps tenderize the peppers. Here’s how to do it: Bring a pot of water to a boil and lower the peppers into the water using tongs. Leave them in the boiling water for three minutes; then lift them out with the tongs. Put them cut side down on a wire rack or paper towels to drain.
It depends on what you put into the stuffing. Some recipes start with raw ground beef which can be greasy and makes the stuffing soggy. I honestly don’t think you’ll have a problem with these pizza stuffed peppers.
The stuffing should be completely heated through. Use an instant read thermometer to determine the internal temperature most accurately. It should be 165°F.
Make It Your Own
- Leave out the pepperoni if you’d like a vegetarian recipe. Or, if you’re not a pepperoni fan, substitute cooked bacon, ham, or Italian sausage.
- Substitute cooked white or brown rice for the quinoa.
- Leave out the spinach or mushrooms. Add anything you like better.
- If you’d rather not bother with stuffing the peppers, make a stuffed pepper casserole or a skillet sausage and pepper dinner.
Make the components of these stuffed peppers a day in advance if you’re looking ahead. Prep and boil the pepper halves. Make the quinoa. Chop the mushrooms and spinach. Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the peppers and bake them.
If you prefer, the peppers can be stuffed one day in advance and refrigerated. They’ll take a bit longer to bake since they’ll be cold. Add 10 minutes to the baking time.
Uncooked stuffed peppers can be frozen for up to three months or even longer. For best results, thaw them overnight in the fridge before baking. They can be baked frozen but will take longer.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Cooked stuffed peppers will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or oven until heated through.
Cooked stuffed peppers can be frozen, too. It’s best to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating them but they can be reheated frozen, too. They will take longer to heat up.
More Pizza Spin-Offs
- Pizza Pasta – 1 pan, 6 ingredients, 20 minutes
- Pizza Baked Pasta – a great way to use leftover pasta!
- English Muffin Pizzas
- Pizza Sliders Recipe
- Pizza Chicken Tenders
- Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Parmesan Crusted Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese
- Make homemade classic spaghetti sauce to use with any of these recipes. Make a big batch and freeze it in small containers.
More Recipes With Quinoa
This protein packed gluten-free grain is so versatile and healthy! Try:
- Savory Asian Quinoa Pancakes
- Stuffed Butternut Squash (quinoa, kale & bacon)
- Quinoa Pancakes
- Savory Quinoa Muffins
- Quinoa Salad with Grapes and Celery
- Kale Quinoa Salad with Walnuts and Cranberries
- Autumn Quinoa Salad with butternut squash, bacon, and maple mustard vinaigrette
- Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf
- Creamy Turkey Soup with Quinoa
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled (⅔ cup dry quinoa)
- 1 pkg. (3.15 oz.) sliced pepperoni (cut slices into quarters)
- 8 ounces perline (pearl) mozzarella, liquid drained
- ¾ cup pizza sauce
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil (more for garnish)
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 5 red bell peppers (green, yellow, or orange bell peppers are fine, too)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare large baking dish (at least 9×13) by spraying lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cut bell peppers in half, stem to end. Remove seeds and membranes.
- In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except Parmesan cheese and bell peppers.
- Meanwhile, place red pepper halves in boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove with tongs or slotted spoon, place on wire racks, cut side down, to drain. Cool slightly until you can handle them.
- Fill each pepper half with quinoa mixture and place in prepared baking dish. Repeat until all pepper halves are full. Filling can be mounded. Sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and peppers are heated through. Enjoy immediately. Each serving is 2 pepper halves.
- Storage: Cooked stuffed peppers will keep in the refrigerator for 4 days or up to 3 months in the freezer. Uncooked stuffed peppers can be made a day ahead and refrigerated; add 10 minutes to baking time. They can also be frozen for up 3 months; for best results, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- If you can’t find pearl mozzarella, any type of fresh mozzarella can be diced into small pieces. Shredded mozzarella is fine, too, if you prefer it.
- Omit pepperoni for vegetarian main dish. Or if you don’t care for pepperoni, substitute cooked bacon, ham, or Italian sausage.
- Cooked white or brown rice can be used instead of quinoa.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.