April 18, 2011

Amaranth and quinoa stuffed capsicums

You know that nagging feeling you get when you have an ingredient to use up, but you just can't seem to find a recipe to use it for? Whether it's a vegetable, a grain, a spice or anything else, you just can't stop thinking you should use up so you won't have to waste it. Well, to me this ingredient has been amaranth. A whole packet of it that I've tried using in a couple of different recipes, but that turned out no good. I know amaranth is superbly good for me - high in protein and all that, but I just wasn't convinced about the taste of it.

Last night I was going through my pantry and there it was - that packet of amaranth grain. I started browsing the web for ideas to use it for, you could use it like quinoa, but on its own I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with the taste and texture of it. I stumbled across this recipe by the ever so reliable Whole Foods Market and was immediately convinced - stuffed capsicums sounded like a perfect vegetarian dinner idea and I could finally use some of that amaranth I had been holding for so long!

I've tweaked the original recipe a bit, but love the idea of using the two super grains - amaranth and quinoa, instead the traditional couscous or rice you normally find with this recipe. I also love edamame and have a big bag in the freezer at all times. I was so happy with the outcome and I think this is a lovely "meatless Monday" recipe idea.

 Amaranth and quinoa stuffed capsicums
(Recipe adapted from the Whole Foods Market)
(serves 4)

4 capsicums (bell peppers) *
1/2 cup black quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup amaranth
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup edamame, thawed 
1 carrot, grated
2 shallots/green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

*I used 3 capsicums, but the filling makes enough for 4 medium sized ones. Any leftovers can be served as a salad the next day.

1. Place the quinoa and amaranth in a saucepan and cover with one and a half cups of water. Bring to boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork. 

2. Preheat your oven to 180C. Cut the tops of the capsicums and remove the insides and the seeds. 

3. Combine the quinoa and amaranth mixture with the edamame, carrot, shallots and sesame seeds in a large mixing bowl. Season with brown rice vinegar, pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4. Stuff the capsicums with the mixture and place in an oven proof dish. Cover with the 'lids' of the capsicums. Pour 1/4 cups of water into the baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until tender.