These adorable bite-sized Chorizo and Quinoa Stuffed Mini Peppers are the perfect appetizer for just about any occasion – a cocktail party, picnic, summer cookout, or football game!
When it comes to appetizers, it’s true that it can be tough to steer me away from chips and salsa. And although I may be a sliiiiight salsa addict ( ← understatement of the century), I do have a few other app-licious tricks up my sleeve.
Need some proof (other than strawberry honey which kindaaa counts/kinda doesn’t)?
CHORIZO & QUINOA STUFFED MINI PEPPERS, ma friendz ↓↓↓
But before we talk about the gloriousness that is chorizo + jalapeno + quinoa + honey goat cheese stuffed into the most adorable little mini peppers, I must address onnnne little thing:
If you know me well, you’re probably thinking: “LEAH, ARE YOU REALLY EATING BABE?!” ( ← and yes, if you know me well you’re probably shouting it, too.)
You see, waaaaaay back in the day, as in 20 years ago (how am I possibly old enough to say things like “20 years ago”? gaaah.) this adorable movie called “Babe” came out, and I fell in love with pigs. SO in love, in fact, that I vowed to never eat “Babe” again. You can’t eat something that you want as a pet more than anything in the world, right?!
So what’s a Babe-loving girl to do when faced with wanting chorizo everythang (because: chorizo = all the Yums)?
Well the God-send for
yuppie food-particular people of this world — Whole Foods — sells chicken AND turkey chorizo. SCORE! So obvi, that’s what I used here.
Of course, if you are the other kind of Babe-lover (you know, the eating kind) go ahead and use regular ol’ pork chorizo.
And don’t worry, we can still be friends.
Now that we’ve got discussing one of my weird food quirks out of the way, and my close friends are no longer FREAKING OUT, we can get back to talking about how Adorable! Delicious! AppTastic! these chorizo stuffed pepper bites are.
I love that these little guys are a flavorful, filling, one-handable, gluten-free appetizer — as I’m sure you’re aware, not all appetizers are equal when it comes to these categories.
Does anyone else get annoyed with those apps that require assembly or dipping sauces? A girl’s only got so many arms, and that vino in the other hand is preeeetty important, yunno? And as someone that is a firm believer that appetizer “meals” are the best meals, I always find myself wishing that there were a few options that were a little more filling and nutritious (not that it’s going to stop me from chowing down, but still 😉 )
These chorizo stuffed mini peppers? They solve alllll of those appetizer woes.
How? Let’s take a look, shall we:
Flavor – Chorizo. Need I say more?! Seriously this stuff is packed with some of my all-time favorite spices — ancho chile powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, and paprika, to name a few. The addition of the sweet honey goat cheese on top perfectly balances the spicy profile, and adds an amazing depth of flavor to these bites. Plus: jalapeño! Can’t go wrong with jalapeño in the flavor department.
Filling – You’ve got lots of protein (chorizo – ✔), satisfying carbs (quinoa – ✔), and fibrous veggies (mini peppers + jalapenos + onions – ✔). They’re actually so filling and well-rounded that Anthony and I have made a meal of these several times!
One-handable – While they may not be one-bite appetizers (but I totally won’t judge if you prefer to shove the whole thing in your mouth. This really cute guy I live with makes a habit of it, but I’m working hard on being just a tad more lady-like. It doesn’t always pan out, but alas, I try) they certainly are easy-peasy to eat with one hand, freeing up your other hand for the more important things, like
high-fives and handshakes cocktails.
Gluten-free – Yup, totally and completely gluten-free ❤. As always, just make sure that the chorizo you are using doesn’t contain any glutenous fillers or funky stuff, and if you choose to cook your quinoa in chicken stock, make sure that’s gluten-free as well.
While they may be the best all around appetizer in the ways mentioned above, I will admit that they are a bit time and step and cookware intensive. Nothing too crazy – just a bit of chopping, de-seeding, quinoa-cooking, sauteing, crumbling, and then baking.
I know, it sounds like a whole lot, but trust me it’s actually pretty easy, mindless work and HOLY MOLEY they are soooo worth the extra effort.
The last time we made them Anthony actually said, “if you had chorizo and quinoa stuffed peppers as an option for an appetizer, why would you ever make anything else? We should only make these from now on whenever we host a party.”
Knew I married that smart, smart man for a reason. Chorizo and quinoa stuffed mini peppers it is from now on!
Party time? Excellent.
- ¾ cup quinoa, cooked
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ large onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- ¾ lb. chorizo
- 12-14 sweet baby peppers
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 oz. honey goat cheese, crumbled*
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium sized sauce pan, cook quinoa according to directions on the package. Set aside.
- Cut each mini pepper in half length wise, and remove the seeds and veins. Lay the peppers on a baking sheet, cut-side up, and set aside.
- Remove casing from the chorizo, if applicable.
- In a large skillet, add olive oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook over medium-high heat just until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add chorizo, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, salt and pepper to the pan, stirring and chopping the chorizo into fine pieces with your spatula as the meat cooks. Saute until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well, if necessary.
- Add the cooked quinoa to the pan with the chorizo, stirring until evenly combined.
- Spoon the chorizo mixture into each mini pepper, filling full. Crumble honey goat cheese over the top of each chorizo-filled mini pepper.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until peppers are softened to your liking and the goat cheese is very slightly browned.