Stuffed peppers have a reputation for being a little on the heavy side as food goes. There are meat and rice filled options. Sometimes polanos are stuffed and then breaded and fried. Other times, they're stuffed and covered with cheese and then broiled until gooey. Those options have their desirable qualities, but you rarely hear about a light and healthy kind of stuffed pepper. I've found one, though, that's definitely worth mentioning. It was a couple of weeks ago when I couldn't decide whether to make these stuffed poblanos or a spring barley risotto, and happily, I eventually made them both. This is also from the book Power Foods, and I've been enjoying everything I've tried from it. I'm finding that all the dishes I've tried from that book have a light and healthy feel to them but are still very satisfying. The filling for these poblanos is a mix of quinoa, sauteed mushrooms, black beans, and corn. They're topped with a little goat cheese and set into a smoky sauce of pureed chipotles, garlic, and cilantro. That sauce with some spiciness and the flavor of the roasted poblanos themselves brought some spunk to the quinoa filling, and there was just enough rich tanginess from the goat cheese on top.
I went my own way with the roasting of the poblanos. In the book, you are instructed to roast them on a baking sheet in the oven, but I always roast them right over the gas flame on top of the stove unless I roast them on the grill. I use tongs to turn them as they roast and char. Then, let them cool until you can touch them, then peel off the char, and cut down one side so you can remove the seeds. The poblanos can be roasted in advance if you'd like to get a head start. Next, the quick sauce was made by pureeing canned chipotles chiles, garlic, some salt, and water in a blender. To start the filling, quinoa was simmered while mushrooms were sauteed. Once cooked through, black beans and thawed, frozen corn were added to the mushrooms. Some of the goat cheese was stirred into the mushroom mixture with the cooked quinoa. That was spooned into the four roasted poblanos. The sauce was poured into a baking dish, the poblanos were set on the sauce, the remaining goat cheese was sprinkled on top of the poblanos, and the dish baked for about 20 minutes.
A heavy filling, crispy, fried coating, and thick, gooey, melted cheese layer were not needed here. Instead, flavors of chiles mingled with the quinoa, mushrooms, beans, and corn. There was added interest from the bits of goat cheese on top that browned as the poblanos baked. The lightness of the dish was nothing like what a stuffed pepper usually is, and that made it even better.