Triathleats: Black Bean and Quinoa Chili-Stuffed Peppers on Basmati Rice

Refuel with this hearty, protein-packed vegan dish.

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For The Chili
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup uncooked, dried black beans (or 1 cup cooked)
1/3 cup uncooked, dried pinto beans (or 1 cup cooked)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups canned, diced tomatoes
1/2 cup organic corn kernels
1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1–2 tsp chili powder (to taste)
1/2 tsp dried cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 small bay leaf

For The Peppers
4 bell peppers, halved and seeded
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 cup brown basmati rice, uncooked

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Ahead of time, soak the black and pinto beans in water at least four hours and up to overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After draining soaking water, bring beans to boil in a large pot, reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until tender (30–45 minutes). Strain and set aside.

Rinse the rice to remove excess starch. Cook brown basmati rice in rice cooker according to directions or bring to boil in pot in 1 3/4 cups water. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Set aside and keep warm.

Rinse quinoa in water to remove bitter outer coating and set aside.

In stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add onions, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until fragrant and lightly softened, about 5–7 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, quinoa and spices (chili powder through bay leaf). Simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is translucent in the center.

While chili is simmering, lightly oil a foil-lined baking sheet and place halved bell peppers cut side down. Bake in oven for 10–15 minutes or until lightly roasted. Remove peppers from oven, and divide chili evenly among them. Serve over basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 4.

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Meet The Triathlete-Chefs

In 2013, husband-and-wife team Adam Zalewski and Rose Cameron were able to turn what started as a food blog four years prior into a full-time personal catering business, called Bite Me Kitchen, in Orange County, Calif. Their meals are geared toward fellow endurance athletes and made from scratch with plant-based, mostly organic ingredients. The couple even makes their own meat substitutes, non-dairy cheeses and nut milks.

“We have real food, not preservatives or fillers or prepackaged stuff,” Cameron says. Both say their diets have shifted since they started racing triathlon. “We found as we switched toward a plant-based diet, we were able to recover faster in our Ironman training,” Cameron says.

After getting married in the spring of 2012 (they eloped while in St. Croix for the Ironman 70.3), the pair launched their company that summer, while both were working full-time and training for Ironman Arizona. In 2013, they were able to fully transition to the personal catering business and are enjoying every second, though it did make them shift their triathlon goals. Because they do most of their meal making on the weekends, racing and then standing on their feet for eight to 12 hours was unreasonable.

“We lost about $1,000 in [race entry fees] because we signed up for everything [in 2012], before the decision to go full-time [with catering],” Cameron says. For 2014, Cameron and Zalewski plan to be more selective in choosing races, targeting key events such as Wildflower.

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