Santa Fe Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Vegan + GF)

posted by Melissa Huggins April 24, 2017 24 Comments
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Looking to spice up your weeknight menu? These Santa Fe Quinoa Stuffed Peppers will do just the trick. 

8 Quinoa Stuffed Peppers topped with sour cream, red onion and cilantro.Savory, smoky, subtly sweet and satisfying!

Oh, and mildly spicy too! What more can we ask for in a meal? These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are gorgeous to look at, and they’re packed with mouth-watering flavors that’ll make dinnertime fun again!

Seriously though, these stuffed peppers really are the cat’s pajamas.

What does that even mean? My cats would tear me up if I put them in pajamas. 😉

Vertical photo of 8 Quinoa Stuffed Peppers fully loaded with toppings.
In the beginning

You may have seen these Stuffed Peppers before when Vegan Huggs just started out. I love the original recipe, but I wanted to simplify things and cut down the cook time.

Less time in the kitchen sounds more appealing these days. Don’t you agree? Less time doesn’t mean less satisfying, and these stuffed peppers are just as enjoyable. Trust me!

I really wanted to update the photos, too. I’ve come a long way in that department, so I gave these stuffed peppers a complete makeover.

However, The photos might not be as clear anymore because I just learned that full-size photos are slowing down my site. That’s not fun for you guys, so I reduced the size to load my recipes faster.

I guess it’s a small price to pay.

Closeup photo of 4 quinoa stuffed peppers. Topped with sour cream and cilantro. Oh-so satisfying!

You won’t be leaving the table hungry…that’s for sure. The best thing is you won’t feel overstuffed either. These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are light, yet hearty and filling.

Did I mention how healthy they are too? They are fiber-rich, protein-packed, and gluten-free.

Yep, they’re healthy, but they aren’t lacking in the flavor department at all. The mildly spicy and bold-flavored filling, melds together with the smoky-sweet roasted peppers, to create the most magnificent aroma and taste.

Your taste buds will dance!

If you love bell peppers as much as me, you also might like this Roasted Pepper Salad. It’s fresh, colorful, sweet, tangy and smoky.

Closeup vertical photo of 6 quinoa stuffed peppers. Side of lime and cilantro. Customizable

I made the stuffing by sautéing onions, garlic, and meaty mushrooms together. Then I added protein-rich black beans, fluffy quinoa, sweet corn, savory broth and smoky spices.

Holy moly, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! This recipe tastes fabulous to me the way it is, but maybe mushrooms or quinoa aren’t your thing.

No problem, just swap them out for your favorite grain and vegetable. They are practically fool-proof, so don’t worry about the rest.

Have fun with it!

8 quinoa stuffed peppers diagonally on a pan. Fully loaded with sour cream, red onion and cilantro.
Easy to prepare


There’s really not a lot to this recipe. It seems fancy and time-consuming, but it’s actually quite simple and takes about 35 minutes to make. You can even prep the filling the day before, and pop it in the fridge.

That will cut the time down even more, and make life easy. The hardest part is refraining from eating the filling until then. I never win that battle.

This is what you’ll need to do:

Cut and roast the peppers
While the peppers are roasting, cook the quinoa
Now sauté the onions, garlic, and mushrooms until tender
Add the seasonings, broth, quinoa, beans, and corn to the pan
Stuff the peppers and roast to perfection.
Top with your favorites and enjoy!

Easy peasy!

green, red and yellow bell peppers stuffed with quinoa.

These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are as complete as it gets, so you won’t need to dirty any more pots and pans. However, it does pair nicely with a simple salad if you want something extra.

Or you can skip the salad, and go for a nice cold vegan beer, or margarita. It all works!

Perfect for hungry house guests

They’ll be nice and quiet after a meal like this, so you can thank me later. If they’re staying the night, they can have one in the morning too, with a side of tofu scramble.

Now that’s hosting done right. No fuss!


Alright, let’s do this!

Closeup of red bell pepper stuffed with quinoa. I’d love to hear from you

If you make these Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, I’d love to get your feedback. You can leave a comment below and let me know what you think. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.


*Click photo to pin*

Long photo for pinning purposes.



4.84 from 6 votes
Santa Fe Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Vegan + GF)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Looking to spice up your weeknight menu? These Santa Fe Quinoa Stuffed Peppers will do just the trick. They are savory, smoky, subtly sweet and satisfying!

Course: Main Course
Recipe Type: Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Southwestern, Soy-Free, Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 336 kcal
Author: Melissa | Vegan Huggs
  • 1 cup dry quinoa , rinsed
  • 6 large bell peppers , assorted colors
  • 1 1/2 tablespoona olive oil (or preferred oil)
  • 1 medium onion , diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms , chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt , more to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth , low sodium
  • 1 cup corn , fresh or frozen
  • 1 15 oz can black beans , rinsed and drained
To Prepare Peppers:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F. 

  2. Wash and cut each pepper in half. If the pepper has a stem, try to leave it intact. Just carefully cut it down the middle, leaving a piece on each pepper halve (this helps the pepper keep its shape). Remove membranes and seeds.

  3. Brush a little oil inside each pepper, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place, cut-side up on a large rimmed baking sheet (line with parchment paper) Roast until peppers are slightly tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

To Prepare Stuffing:
  1. While the peppers are cooking, start making the stuffing. In a medium pot, add the quinoa to 2 cups of low-boiling water (add a pinch of salt). Put lid on top. Cook until liquid is gone and quinoa is fluffy. This usually takes about 15 minutes to cook. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. 

  3. Add mushrooms and garlic, sauté until mushrooms are softened, about 4-6 minutes.

  4. Add the tomato paste and spices, cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir often. 

  5. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. 

  6. Add cooked quinoa, beans and corn. Combine well. Taste for seasoning and add more as needed. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, until liquid has cooked down. Stir often. Remove from heat and set aside.

  7. Divide stuffing mixture evenly among peppers, gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Place them upright on a large rimmed baking sheet (line with parchment paper or foil). Leave 1-inch between each pepper. Bake until quinoa is lightly browned and crispy on top, about 15-20 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

Topping Ideas: vegan sour cream, fresh-cut cilantro, squeeze of lime, hot sauce, salsa, avocado and diced red onion.

If you'd like the pepper to be more tender, let it cook 10 minutes longer. Cook less if you'd like a crisper texture.

* You may have filling leftover. This all depends on the size of the peppers. You can save it for wraps, burritos, tacos, salads, a breakfast side or for more stuffed peppers. It will last in the fridge for 5-6 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. 


Nutrition Facts
Santa Fe Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Vegan + GF)
Amount Per Serving (1 Pepper)
Calories 336 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Sodium 354mg 15%
Potassium 615mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 57g 19%
Dietary Fiber 14g 56%
Sugars 2g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 9%
Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 11%
Iron 30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Sarah April 28, 2017 at 6:06 am

Isn’t it fun to go back and update old posts? I’ve done that with posts that have gotten popular yet have embarrassingly bad photos. I can barely handle what my photos used to look like but it’s a good reminder of how far we’ve come! These peppers look fantastic, btw!

Melissa Huggins May 8, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Hi Sarah, yeah, it’s always fun to see before and after photos, realizing how far we’ve grown. I’m still learning too 🙂

Mia June 5, 2017 at 5:39 pm

FYI. Love the recipe, but wanted to let you know that garlic and amount of, is not listed in ingredients. 🙂

Melissa Huggins June 6, 2017 at 12:46 am

Hi Mia, oh my, thank you for catching that! It was meant to have 2 cloves of garlic in there. I fixed it above 🙂

Lois June 7, 2017 at 11:22 am

Made no changes, added a little more spice before stuffing, and my family loved them; thank you so much!

Melissa Huggins June 7, 2017 at 11:01 pm

Hi Lois, thank you for making them and sharing your feedback. I’ve been making them a lot lately, because I have so many peppers growing. This is the first year I’ve been able to grow that many peppers. I’m happy your family likes this recipe too 🙂

kellie August 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

I just made this for the first time and it certainly won’t be my last. They are delicious. I added a little chipotle with adobo and kicked up the spice a little.

Melissa Huggins August 9, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Thank you, Kellie! I’m so happy to hear this. Must’ve been so good with the chipotle. I must try that next time. Have a great week! 🙂

Ana August 13, 2017 at 10:28 am

What can I use in leau of vegetable broth?

Melissa Huggins August 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

Hi Ana, I haven’t made this with anything else. You could try water, but it could be less flavorful. It might work with extra seasoning, salt and a pat of vegan butter though. Do you have any bouillon cubes around? You could make broth with those. Do you have any other soups in your pantry that are brothy? They could also work. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. 🙂

Carol August 27, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Made this today. Delicious.

Melissa Huggins August 29, 2017 at 11:32 pm

Hi Carol, thank you for making them! I’m so happy you liked them. 🙂

Lins August 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm

So yummy!!! I added pumpkin seeds at the end for some crunch 🙂

Melissa Huggins August 29, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Thank you for making them and sharing your feedback! Sounds perfect with pumpkin seeds. I must try this next time 🙂

rebecca September 7, 2017 at 6:37 pm

I made this tonight, and it was AMAZING! I did dice some tomatoes in it as well and used only half of the mushrooms because my husband is not a big fan. He didn’t even know they were in there so I will definitely use all 8 oz. next time. It was a hit by the whole family! Thanks so much!

Melissa Huggins September 13, 2017 at 10:53 am

Hi Rebecca, thank you for the feedback! I’m so happy your family loved it! The diced tomatoes sound like a tasty addition. I’m going to try that next time. Have a great week! 🙂

Melissa Rivera October 11, 2017 at 7:52 pm

I made these for dinner tonight and they were amazing!! I’ve never had stuffed peppers before but my husband and I loved them! We’re not vegan so we added sour cream and a bit of cotija cheese:) so good thank you!!

Melissa Huggins October 13, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Hi, Melissa! Thank you for making them and sharing your feedback. I’m happy you guys liked them. I first made them a few years ago, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I’ve been making them ever since. Have a great weekend!

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Joe Wilkerson March 25, 2018 at 7:28 pm

I made these tonight for the family (1 vegetarian and 1 diagnosed with Celiac). We have a large family, 3 teenagers and a tweener, so I doubled the recipe. The only change I made: after coring and capping the peppers (6 green, 3 red and 3 yellow) I trimmed the edible parts and diced them up, including them when I added the mushrooms. Everyone loved them!!! It is difficult to find meals that everyone can enjoy so this will definitely be added to the rotation. Thank you

Melissa Huggins March 25, 2018 at 9:12 pm

Hi Joe, This is so nice to hear! I’m glad your family loved them 🙂 Thank you for sharing your feedback. Love the addition of peppers to the stuffing too. Great idea!

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Tanis June 4, 2018 at 5:14 pm

I made these for my family tonight and we ALL loved them!! I’ve made stuffed peppers with green peppers and the meat and rice before, but these are WAY better! I’m always trying to find good meatless recipes lately and these fit the bill! I’ll be making them again for sure!

Melissa Huggins June 4, 2018 at 10:28 pm

Hi Tanis, I’m so happy to hear this! Thank you for making them and sharing your feedback! Have a lovely week 🙂


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