I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Mexican food is a winner at your house when it comes to family-friendly meals. I know it is at mine! While tacos and burrito bowls are two of our favorites, I decided to switch things up a bit and create these Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers.
One of the best things about these Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers is that you only need eight ingredients to make them! That’s right, but don’t worry, these stuffed peppers are full of flavor even though the recipe has a short ingredient list.
The Main Ingredients
There are three main ingredients in this Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers recipe, and I’m gonna guess that by looking at the name of the recipe, you can figure out what they are.
If you guessed turkey, quinoa and poblano peppers, you would get an A for the day. Well done!
Besides those three ingredients, there are a couple of spices, onion and jarred salsa. You can add cilantro and there are a few options to top them off if it suits your fancy.
How Do You Say Quinoa?
What I find confuses people most about quinoa has NOTHING to do with how to COOK it and EVERYTHING to do with how to SAY it. Can you relate?
My guess (which is not backed up with data, btw!) as to the reason why this word can be so confusing to say is because the first part of the word is spelled the same as the first part of so many common English words (such as quick, quite, and quit).
While the first part of these three words all make the same sound, the first part of quinoa makes a completely different sound than those words. So, you have to make that switch in your head first. Okay?
Let’s break it down so you never mispronounce quinoa again. Sound good?
First, break the word into two parts in your mind: 1. “quin” and 2. “oa”
Now, for the first part, say “keen” and for the second part, say “wah”
Now put the two parts together and say them over and over until it’s stuck in your head. Use the word several times throughout the day when you’re talking to random strangers to make it really stick. I’m sure you can figure out how to work that into a normal conversation, right? Ha, ha!
Health Benefits of Quinoa
Now that you know how to correctly pronounce quinoa, I bet you also want to be able to tell all your friends and random strangers about the health benefits of quinoa, right? Okay, maybe not, but you might like to know some of the basics so you will be more motivated to work it into more of your meals!
Quinoa, which is native to the Andes mountains in South America, is often referred to as a whole grain, but it’s very similar to buckwheat (see this Crunchy Nut Free Granola to see more about buckwheat) in that it’s not actually in the same family as other cereal grains (like oats, barley, rice and wheat).
Quinoa is a seed, but because it has very similar properties as other cereal grains, it gets lumped into the same category as these grains when we’re talking about food and nutrition.
You can buy quinoa in different colors (such as red, white, and multicolored), making it a pretty addition to many recipes. You can use the different colored quinoa interchangeably in recipes. And don’t worry, the color is totally natural – no food dyes here!
Here are the nutrition highlights of quinoa:
- It’s a complete protein, meaning it provides all nine essential amino acids, which our bodies need to survive. Very few plants can make this claim!
- Quinoa is higher in protein (and lower in carbohydrates) than many other grains, which means it produces a more even rise in blood glucose levels compared to other grains. This will help you feel satisfied for longer.
- It’s high in fiber, with 3 grams of fiber in ½ cup cooked quinoa. This is higher than many other whole grains.
- It’s naturally gluten free, making it a healthy choice for people who have Celiac or who avoid eating gluten.
Love quinoa? Here are a couple of my other recipes that use quinoa:
What are Poblano Peppers?
It’s easy to get lost in the world of chile peppers. There are SO MANY VARIETIES! Plus, since you can buy them fresh, dried, or canned, so the possibilities are practically endless when it comes to chile pepper types.
Poblano peppers have a dark green skin and they are larger than many of the other chile peppers. Compared to a typical sweet pepper (or bell pepper), they are usually smaller around but can be longer than sweet peppers.
Compared to many other chile peppers, poblano peppers have a mild heat level. This makes them a good chile pepper to introduce to kids who may not be accustomed to spicy foods.
In some parts of the country, poblano peppers are labeled as pasilla peppers. They are the same variety!
How Do You Roast Poblano Peppers?
There are many ways to roast chile peppers (and sweet peppers too). You can roast them over the flame of a gas burner, on a grill, or in the oven under the broiler or by baking them at a high temperature.
Whether you are roasting a jalapeno pepper, a poblano pepper, or a sweet pepper, each of the different roasting methods will work. What will change is the amount of time it takes to roast the pepper (based on the size of the pepper).
The main goal when roasting a pepper is to char, blacken, or blister (all terms you might see in recipes describing the doneness) the very thin peel that covers the pepper.
Because the pepper is roasted at a high heat level, the pepper takes on a mild toasty flavor, which adds complexity to whatever dish you’re adding the pepper to.
The pepper will also soften during the roasting process.
My preferred method for roasting peppers is to use the oven. If I’m roasting whole peppers (as in this Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers recipe), I will bake the peppers at a high temperature, turning them once or twice throughout the bake time so all sides blacken evenly.
If I’m roasting pepper pieces (such as quarters or strips), I prefer to roast the pieces under the broiler. Roasting under the broiler takes very little time and with flatter, more even sized pieces, I don’t have to worry as much about the pepper pieces charring unevenly as can happen with whole peppers.
Next time you’re looking for something different to make on Mexican night, try these Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers. With a short ingredient list and lots of flavor, you’ll be happy you did!
Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- 4 large poblano chile peppers*
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water**
- ½ cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 16 ounces lean ground turkey
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ cup salsa (any heat level)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Guacamole (optional)
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Lime wedges (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Add peppers to pan. Roast, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Turn peppers. Roast about 10 minutes more or until pepper skins are evenly blackened and charred.
- Set pan with peppers on a wire rack. Carefully bring edges of foil up and around peppers to fully enclose them in the foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes or until peppers are cool enough to handle.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine broth and quinoa. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is just tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat.
- In a large skillet cook turkey and onion over medium heat until turkey is no longer pink, stirring to break up turkey as it cooks. Drain off fat if needed. Sprinkle turkey with cumin and smoked paprika. Stir in salsa. Add cooked quinoa and, if desired, 2 tablespoons cilantro. Stir until well mixed.
- Wearing clean plastic gloves,*** use a small sharp knife to carefully peel off the charred skin from the peppers. Discard skin. Use the knife to cut around the tops of the peppers to remove the stem. Cut down the length of the pepper in one place and open the pepper. Remove as many of the seeds as you can, being careful to keep the pepper intact.
- Line the same baking pan with parchment paper. Lay peppers open in the prepared pan. Spoon quinoa mixture evenly into peppers. Wrap the loose edges of the peppers up around the quinoa mixture.
- Bake stuffed peppers, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through. Serve peppers topped with guacamole and cilantro if desired. Serve with lime wedges if desired.