Roasted bell peppers stuffed with quinoa and sautéed corn, zucchini, and tomatoes.

How to feed vegetables to a crowd?

This is a question I’ve found myself asking often in recent weeks. I’ve been on the road, first in Lake George, then in Connecticut, each for a week-long trip with extended family.

When it has been my turn to make dinner, I’ve found myself wanting to make something vegetarian — like a big, chopped salad with chickpeas and cubed cheese — but worrying about two things:  1. How would it be received? and 2. Would it be substantial enough?

This time of year, when the produce is nearing its peak, it’s easy to throw together a big green salad or to steam a dozen ears of corn or to chop up a bunch of tomatoes and call the side dish done.

But how to make something vegetable-based for the main course when eight adults and eight children are sitting around the table? And how do you do this without spending three days chopping?

I don’t have a ton of wisdom to share with you all today — I’m hoping, in fact, you might share some of your thoughts below. I do, however, have one answer: quinoa-and-vegetable stuffed bell peppers. I made these peppers three times this past week, and while I didn’t even attempt to serve them to the children, the adults raved.

Loaded with a mix of sautéed zucchini, corn, and tomatoes, and bulked up with cooked quinoa and Monterey Jack cheese, these peppers feel substantial and satisfying, while also summery and light.

What I love about this recipe is that you can prepare it ahead of time — you can stuff the partially roasted peppers with the filling, then stash them in the fridge or leave at room temperature until you are ready to pop them in the oven for their final bake.

I also love that you can adapt the recipe as you wish. The vegetables can be swapped, spices can be added, any number of grains could be used in place of the quinoa, and any number of good melting cheeses could be used in place of Monterey Jack. Last fall,  I made a variation with blistered poblano peppers, quinoa, and corn.

These peppers are not something I would suggest you whip up on a weeknight, but they won’t keep you locked up in the kitchen chopping for days either.

Friends, how do YOU feed vegetables to a crowd? What are your go-to recipes? Or tips and tricks?

How to Make Quinoa-and Vegetable Stuffed Peppers

  1. Gather your ingredients. Heat the oven to 475ºF convection roast. A board with vegetables: orange bell peppers, onion, scallions, zucchini, tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro.
  2. Halve and core bell peppers, leaving their stems intact. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, place them cut-side down on a sheet pan, and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes.A sheet pan of halved orange bell peppers cut side down.
  3. Meanwhile: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in salted water for 9-12 minutes or until done. Sauté an onion with a hot chili (if you wish) until soft, about 5 minutes.A sauté pan with onions and chili aside a pot of cooked quinoa.
  4. Add the diced zucchini, and sauté for a minute or two more. A sauté pan filled with onions, chili, and zucchini.
  5. Add the corn and sauté for a minute more. A sauté pan filled with onions, chili, zucchini, and corn.
  6. Add the tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro, and turn off the heat. A sauté pan filled with onions, chili, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, and herbs.
  7. Add the quinoa and stir to combine.A sauté pan filled with onions, chili, zucchini, corn, and quinoa.
  8. Add cubed Monterey Jack (or other cheese) and stir to combine.A sauté pan filled with corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and quinoa.
  9. Remove bell peppers from the oven.A sheet pan with blistered orange bell peppers.
  10. Flip them over.A sheet pan with blistered orange bell peppers cut side up.
  11. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa-vegetable filling. A sheet pan of orange bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, vegetables, and Monterey Jack cheese.
  12. Transfer pan to the oven (or transfer a few of the peppers to a smaller roasting pan) and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.A round white dish filled with orange bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, vegetables, and Monterey Jack cheese.
  13. Garnish with fresh basil out of the oven and serve with lemon, if you wish. Roasted bell peppers stuffed with quinoa and sautéed corn, zucchini, and tomatoes.

[tasty-recipe id=”64005″]