Halloween Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Happy Halloween – it’s almost upon us. Recently I finished not just my clinic rotation, but also a geriatrics outpatient rotation. I did home visits,  saw patients in nursing homes, and went to geriatrics clinic. 
Geriatrics can be a little depressing since a large component is managing dementia on top of often multiple medical conditions as age catches up to us. 
In clinic, one of saddest moments was a poor husband who brought his wife to clinic because her memory had deteriorated so much. They would be married 54 years next month, but she was forgetting so much, even their grandchildren, although she was still able to recognize her husband. 
I can’t imagine losing my mind the point where I wouldn’t recognize B. I confess that I am very proud  (ahem, vain) of my brain, and it would be a big blow to my ego.
Still, there’s good stories of very motivated children, working constantly to make sure their aging parents are cared for. Geriatric doctors are very family oriented and much of their practice is support and education. They say that geriatrics is like reverse pediatrics – in the nursing homes there’s lots of finger paintings of pumpkins and halloween decorations, just like in kindergarten, which the elderly love to do.

Anyway, I wanted to share a more light hearted recipe that makes me think fondly of my childhood (something I’d rather do than think about aging) – Halloween Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers. You can make this without the jack-o-lantern faces of course, but that wouldn’t be as fun.

This is a nice healthier option, so you can go ahead and eat more Halloween candy without guilt.

Alas, I don’t have time to carve a jack-o-lantern pumpkin this year, but these bell peppers are close enough. No matter how much I age, I’m determined to keep my silly childhood spirit. Adapted from With Raw Intentions and Allrecipes. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 1/2 cups water (or chicken broth)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds 1
1/2 cup dried craisins
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and ground black pepper to taste

2-3 bell peppers
olive oil

QUINOA SALAD: Plump the craisins by letting it soak in a small bowl with balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup hot water. (you can swap the water with juice as well for more flavor). Strain the cranberries out.

Cook the quinoa on stovestop according to directions (or use a rice cooker), using either water or chicken borth. Once it’s cooked, toss the quinoa with curry powder, cilantro, lime juice, sliced almonds, and the plumped cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

BELL PEPPERS: Cut out the top of the bell peppers and carefully carve out your desired jack o lantern face. Stuff the pepper with your quinoa salad and drizzle with olive oil and the cranberry liquid from plumping. Serve and enjoy!

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  1. my husband's grandmother has dementia, and you're right–it's SO sad! the impact on his grandfather is the saddest part of all.
    this is such a cute idea! i saw it on instagram and thought "genius!"