When life gives you peppers…

With the end of summer comes long days, hot nights, and the normal back to school chaos. In our household, it also means the beginning of the end– our wedding is in just 75 days!! In addition to pre-marital events (aka D’s bachelor party this past weekend at the largest and most lavish rental home EVER and my upcoming bachelorette party and bridal shower) in addition to general wedding planning stress, we have D heading back to school in just a week and a huge work event for me this weekend. After working 12 hour days most of the past few weeks, dinner has been even more difficult than usual to get together.

Luckily, we always have quinoa on hand, and yesterday I came home to a great dinner surprise. One of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants serves a brown rice bowl with sauteed mushrooms, and my wonderful fiance was savvy enough to adapt it with what we had on hand. One of his coworkers brought us a HUGE bag of local bell peppers last week as a part of the end-of-season harvest, and we wanted to take advantage of such an amazing bounty.

how gorgeous are these!? Our favorite were the white/purple and the yellow/green

how gorgeous are these!? Our favorite were the white/purple and the yellow/green

They are almost too pretty to do anything with–I would have been content to munch on them whole– but what D came up with was totally worth the pepper massacre. I DID save the seeds so that we can plant our own heirloom peppers next year!

Fajita and Quinoa Bowl

-julienned bell peppers, various colors (approximately 1/2 per person–ours were tiny so we used 4-5)

-1 can black beans, drained

-julienned onion

-chik’n strips or meat substitute (tempeh or seitan work)

-cooked quinoa

-cumin

-chili powder

-oregano

-paprika

-smoked paprika

-fresh lime wedges

-plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add peppers/onions and spices to taste, in addition to salt and pepper. Saute until softened and beginning to take on color. Add meat substitute and black beans and additional spices– cook until warmed thoroughly. [D’s note: be generous with the spices–they will coat and add crust to your ingredients so you’ll want plenty. Don’t be afraid!] Deglaze pan with juice of 1/2 a fresh lime. Serve over warm quinoa and top with additional lime wedges and greek yogurt (if desired).

mmmmmmm-the lime really adds a punch of acid to the spicy fajita ingredients

mmmmmmm-the lime really adds a punch of acid to the spicy fajita ingredients

Healthy, filling, and incredibly satisfying– this meal has it all. You don’t miss any of the wheat or carbs that you normally get from rice or tortillas and yet the meal is light enough to not be too heavy. The acid gives a great punch and the Greek yogurt acts just like sour cream to cool the spices down. If you haven’t tried Greek yogurt (the plain stuff, NOT the vanilla!) for cooking, you’re missing out. We’ve been using it for at least a year or so (even pre-veggie!) as a replacement- the protein content is much higher than sour cream and it tastes exactly the same. Quesadillas, chili, even baking– try subbing greek yogurt. If you don’t believe me, take Michael Symon‘s word for it!

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