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Quinoa & chickpeas stuffed bell peppers with Tahini sauce

Dolma or stuffed vegetables are popular from Armenia to Slovenia. That is a big region including various Arab, Mediterranean and Balkan countries. However, each country has it's variations of the vegetables used, the stuffing and preparation method - all utterly delicious.


photo credit: celestialbeamllc

My recipe is adapted from the Armenian version, switched up to quinoa which is so nutritious and considered a source for complete protein (as it contains all amino acids), and added chickpeas for additional protein boost.


This dish is so versatile;

  • It can be the main dish or a rich side.

  • It can be eaten warm or cold - delicious either way.

  • You can prepare in advance and the taste will actually get better by time.




photo credit: celestialbeamllc

Here's what you need to make this recipe.


Always ensure you choose the best quality ingredients.


Spend some time choosing your bell peppers, better if they sit with balance and not wobbly in the plate.


You will find several "optional" ingredients which you can omit for a simpler taste but the taste is certainly richer if using everything listed.





Ingredients

6 large bell peppers (any colours)


Stuffing:

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cup water

1 small onion

2 medium tomatoes chopped

1/2 cup parsley chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves chopped (optional)

300 gm jarred chickpeas roughly chopped (optional)

1/3 cup olive oil

1/8 - 1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp tomato paste or bell pepper paste

1 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional)

1.5 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp paprika (optional)

1/2 tsp all-spice (optional)



Topping – Tahini sauce:

1 cup tahini (which is paste made from ground sesame seeds)

1 cup water

2 mashed garlic cloves

1/2 tsp salt (as preferred)


Instructions:

  1. Add the water to the quinoa into a pot on high heat until it starts boiling then cover and reduce the heat to cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender

  2. To prepare the stuffing, use 1 tablespoon of olive oil in another pot and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato &/or pepper paste, molasses, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, all spice and cook for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the cooked quinoa to the stuffing, plus the parsley, mint leaves, chickpeas, and the olive oil

  4. Cut the tops of the bell peppers, and core out the seeds and white parts, and arrange them in a baking dish – if the bell peppers keep tumbling in the dish then do a small cut in the bottom of the pepper to sit nicely

  5. Stuff the bell peppers to the top and add the head.

  6. Bake in preheated oven 200° (bottom heating) for 25 to 30. You can turn on the top heating in the last 5 to 10 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and serve with the tahini sauce drizzled on top.

photo credit: celestialbeamllc

To make the Tahini sauce:

  • mix the tahini with the salt and garlic

  • then gradually add water until well incorporated. You may need more or less than the 1 cup, adjust to reach the consistency desired

  • NOTE: If this is your first time making tahini sauce then know that it goes into different phases of consistency and textures, just keep mixing it and add more water slowly until it becomes creamy.

  • NOTE: the tahini sauce would thicken by time, so you could add more water the next day if needed.

As I mentioned earlier, the best part about this recipe is that it can be eaten hot or cold the next day and will taste amazing both ways. Plus, if there’s extra stuffing then you can just eat it as a salad.


Enjoy and let me know if you experiment this recipe to stuff other vegetables, it can certainly work with eggplants.


This was another beautiful collaboration which I appreciate so much with

Food styling and Photography: Angelica from https://www.celestialbeamllc.com/

Alevoo olive oil provided by https://www.alevoo.com/en

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