You can enjoy Cinco de Mayo with a clear conscience by whipping up these stuffed peppers. At less than 300 calories per serving (two stuffed pepper halves), you'll get plenty of flavor and texture without sabotaging your workout. The peppers can be assembled a day or two ahead of time and reheated in the oven for dinner on a busy week night. If your family doesn't enjoy beans, feel free to replace them with cooked chicken, ground beef, or your other favorite lean protein source.
4 poblano peppers
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided, plus more for the peppers
3/4 cup red quinoa
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup cooked corn, thawed if frozen
1 cup low sodium canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 4 ounce can mild diced green chiles
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cotija cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1. Preheat the broiler to high and place an oven rack in the second from the top position.
2. Rub poblanos with olive oil and place in a well seasoned cast iron skillet or oiled oven safe baking dish. Broil until the skin of the pepper is blistered and beginning to brown, 5-10 minutes per side.
3. Remove the peppers from the oven and place them in a bowl. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Move the oven rack down to the middle position and heat the oven to 375ºF.
4. While the peppers are broiling, place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for two minutes. In a medium sized pot, heat one teaspoon olive oil over medium heat.
5. Once hot, add the quinoa and toast, stirring, for 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Allow the quinoa to cook undisturbed until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the quinoa to sit, covered, another five minutes.
6. Meanwhile, heat one teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, five to seven minutes.
7. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, onions, garlic, corn, beans, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
8. Remove the peppers from the bowl and remove skins. They should peel off easily, but don't worry about getting every last bit off.
9. Carefully cut each pepper in half and remove the seeds. Arrange peppers cut side up in the same dish you broiled them in. Fill them evenly with the quinoa mixture and sprinkle with the cotija cheese.
10. Bake the stuffed peppers in the oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro if desired and serve.