by Alexandra

Do you ever make something that tastes awesome but you have no idea what to call it?

This meal reminds me of meat loaf, but it contains no meat. So, I thought maybe I’d call it “vegetarian loaf,” but that really doesn’t sound appetizing. It sounds more like a turd than any sort of tasty dinner food.

So then I thought about calling it a “bake” or a “casserole,” but that seemed blasphemous because in my opinion, “bakes” and “casseroles” need lots of cheese and probably some pasta, for good measure.

So I guess I’ll call this “bean-quinoa-thing.” That doesn’t sound too appetizing either, and considering that the picture is awful (thanks, daylight savings time…) I don’t know why you’d ever want to make this.

But, listen up, folks.

You really, really, really, really want to make this. ASAP. It’s that good. It’s high in protein as well, which is great if you’re a body-builder like myself…(sigh, one day. 🙂 )

The cheese isn’t really supposed to be there, but I needed to make this look a bit more appealing. It tasted good, but the dish is so flavorful by itself that there’s really no point in adding cheese. Alas, I can’t call it a casserole.

Bean & Quinoa Bake with Red Pepper Sauce
4 red bell peppers, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (8oz) package sliced mushrooms
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
2 eggs
2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and bell peppers and cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat until “really roasted.” Meanwhile, combine quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, beans and eggs. Blend with an immersion blender until completely pureed. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, italian seasoning and nutritional yeast. When quinoa is finished cooking, pour into the bean mixture, blend some more (until thoroughly combined), pour into a greased 8×8 pan and bake at 375-degrees for 35 minutes.
While quinoa mixture is baking, puree the can of whole peeled tomatoes (liquid and all) in a large bowl. Add the roasted red peppers and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and puree completely. Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the mushrooms until golden. Pour the red pepper mixture into the pan with the cooked mushrooms, reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer until the quinoa is finished baking.
Cut quinoa into squares, top with red pepper sauce and serve hot.