Pesto-Spinach Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Red peppers are stuffed with a mixture of quinoa, seasoned spinach, and homemade pesto. Only 10 minutes of hands-on time for this healthy dinner that's also vegan and gluten free!

I have a lot of blessings in my life.

A big group of friends who engage in shenanigans with me on a daily basis and never judge me for being ridiculous and ratchet? #blessed

An amazing job that I love that allows me the work-life balance necessary to run this blog/work at LOFT/host trivia/be an ambassador for my gym/operate my Rodan + Fields business/etc? #blessingsonblessingsonblessings

The ability to work from home on Fridays? BLESSEDDDD... or so I thought.

You see, "work from home" Fridays have sort of morphed into "don't shower, leave your bed, or even think of being a functional human being" Fridays. Seriously - I walked to Safeway at lunch time, not expecting to run into anyone I know, and was caught very off guard when I bumped smack into a gentleman who I have been on a date or two with in a past life. 

I assessed the damage: I was wearing my pajamas, thinly veiled as street clothes thanks to my decision to wear a bra. My hair was thoroughly greasy in some state between "needs washing" and "has animals living in it." A hormonal zit was in it's beginning stages directly above my upper lip. Makeup? Not today, Satan.

So, I did what I always do in the face of adversity - panic and babble on like a Kindergarten teacher on steroids.

"HI! How are you, good sir? I mean, it has simply been AGES! I’d give you a hug, but I haven’t had a chance to shower yet this week. Did I say this week? TODAY - I meant today! Ha ha, no one goes a week without showering. It’s so crazy I said that.”

This is why I drink.

It was in this moment that I knew I needed to get my shit together. So, I did what any self-respecting young professional would do - bought shampoo, toothpaste, and some vegetables so I could cook myself a real adult meal instead of what I usually eat on Fridays (Ramen for all 3 meals).

Hence, these stuffed peppers were born! You see, I really wanted pesto, but all the pre-made pestos at Safeway contained a host of not-so-nice ingredients. Milk products, stabilizers, fillers - not for this girl! So, I made my own, tossed it with some cooked spinach and quinoa, and filled some peppers. Ba da bing, ba da BOOM.

As for the man? Well, after a cursory Facebook stalk to see if he was still on the market, I was greeted by a set of engagement photos. Le sigh. I bet his fiancée showers.

Pesto-Spinach Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

To make 4 portions, you will need:
Pesto
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, packed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Stuffed Peppers
- 2 red peppers, halved, seeds removed
- 8 oz spinach
- 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- Salt, pepper, and other spices, to taste

First, preheat your oven to 400F. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil on the stove, then stir in uncooked quinoa. Turn heat to low, bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes, until no water remains.

To make the pesto, combine basil, olive oil, garlic clove, cashews, and seasonings in a food processor, and blend until smooth (or smooth enough, if you're too poor to have a good food processor like this girl over here). 

For the spinach filling, heat a large pan on your stove over medium-high. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then your onions. Let them sauté for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add your spinach and let cook until wilted. I added the spinach in increments to let it wilt a little at a time.

Add the pesto and quinoa to the spinach mixture and toss to combine. Line up your halved peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and split the filling between the four halves. Pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until peppers are softened, then enjoy!

This meal will make you feel like a real adult, which is great for about 20 minutes before you start chugging wine alone while crying and watching 'Big Little Lies'. But it's fine. Really, I'm fine. Ha ha haaaaaa.

XOXO,
Jess