Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini and Quinoa

This recipe is a great fall/winter recipe and its also great to eat postpartum. If you are not pregnant or recently had a baby skip the next few paragraphs to go straight to the recipe (and pass on to your pregnant friends). 🙂

This past weekend I took a placenta encapsulation training with Deb Pocica of Tranquil Transitions. The weekend was packed with so much useful information regarding postpartum recovery (and lots of it has nothing to do with placentas!). Since having a child of my own I have become super passionate about “mothering the mother”. We spend so much of our energy as mothers-to-be and society in general on the pregnancy and baby. The period of time following birth is an important time for a new mom to be nurtured so she can recover both physically and emotionally. Even the best of births are still hard work on a body!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the postpartum period is a time of warming the mother up. This is often referred to in other cultures as mother-warming or mother-roasting but we will talk more about that later this week. It is believed that labor and delivery is depleting and leaves the woman susceptible to illness and cold. If the months following birth are filled with rest and nurture it is believed that a woman can actually heal other imbalances (allergies, eczema etc). If a woman fails to take good care of herself or lacks proper support from family and friends (or postpartum doula) problems such as postpartum depression can arise.

The easiest way to warm the body up is to eat warming and nourishing foods. Warming foods are those that are cooked, red veggies (especially those that “bleed” red like beets), and green leafy veggies are all strengthening especially for nourishing and building blood in Chinese Medicine. Especially the month after birth is an important time to eat homemade soups, chili, and stews. Avoid dairy (especially ice cream), raw foods and ice even in your water. Family and friends are always looking to help so ask some to cook for you or start a freezer stash of foods so you know you will be nourished in the weeks after your birth so you can spend as much time possible snuggling your new baby. 🙂

Here is a recipe to get your freezer stash going. And if you are not pregnant don’t worry this is an excellent fall/winter recipe in general! 🙂

I started with this recipe, below are my adaptations.

Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini and Quinoa

What you need:

  • 2 red bell peppers (heart/small intestine, {blood nourishing})
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 zucchini (chopped) (liver/gall bladder)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped) (lung/large intestine)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (lung/large intestine)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (warming)
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin (warming)
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (warming)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (homemade) or water (kidney/urinary bladder)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (lung/large intestine / spleen/stomach)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (kidney/urinary bladder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (kidney/urinary bladder)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chipotles, undrained (I used tomatoes from the garden and roasted with the peppers) (heart/small intestine)
  • 1 15 ounce of white kidney beans (kidney/urinary bladder / lung/large intestine)
  • 1 15 ounce of red kidney beans (kidney/urinary bladder / heart/small intestine)
  • ground beef (organic and hormone free preferably)


Preheat broiler

Cut bell peppers and tomatoes in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop.

In large pot cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Sprinkle cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper over ground beef. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. I added an extra sprinkle of all the spices after I added the veggies to the mix. 🙂 Add beans. Cook until veggies are tender.

In a seperate pan pour quinoa and water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer covered until water is consumed and quinoa is soft. Mix quinoa with meat and veggies.