One of the easiest and tastiest dinners I make regularly is stuffed peppers. I have a feeling this doesn’t sound that revolutionary and exciting….am I right? But it’s actually really delicious, satisfying and appeals to all the eaters in my family.
The health benefits of bell peppers are so many that I love to incorporate them into my meals whenever I can. This dish makes them the centerpiece! According to a very informative website, Care 2 Make a Difference, the important reasons you should eat bell peppers are:
1) Bell peppers are low in calories! So, even if you eat one full cup of them, you get just about 45 calories. Bonus: that one cup will give you more than your daily quota of Vitamin A and C!
2) They contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful. The highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety.
3) Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
4) The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. Studies show that it reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, controls diabetes, brings relief from pain and eases inflammation.
5) If cooked for a short period on low heat, bell peppers retain most of their sweet, almost fruity flavor and flavonoid content, which is a powerful nutrient.
6) The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.
7) The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.
8) Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells.
9) Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein, protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.
I find that the red bell peppers are the best for flavor, color and taste. To me, the flavor of green peppers are just not the flavor I’m going for even though I know that’s not much of an explanation—maybe the taste is overwhelmingly green-peppery and it takes over. Yellow peppers, although beautiful to look at and tasty, get a bit too soft when they are baked and don’t hold up as well with all that stuffing in them. This is just my experience, which may be different from yours. Try to find the biggest, longest peppers you can.
I like to use as much of the pepper and keep it as whole as I can, so when I made this dish recently, I made a cut through the pepper lengthwise and cut a large enough slit so that I could open it up and take out all the seeds and unwanted stuff. I do not cut the pepper entirely in half or remove the stem. Everyone gets an (almost) entire pepper, not half. I like the way the pepper holds the stuffing this way and the portions are larger.
Multigrain-Veggie Stuffed Red Peppers with Avocado-Sriracha Sauce
by Ellen Francis, veganamericanprincess.com
4 large, long red bell peppers
1 large onion, chopped
1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 bag of Trader Joe’s Frozen Multigrain Blend with Vegetables
2 cups of cooked quinoa or rice
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup of Go Veggie Shredded “Cheddar Cheese”
1 can of beans (black, northern, cannelloni), drained and rinsed
1 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tbs of minced garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of mild guacamole
2 tsp of sriracha sauce
3 tbs vegenaise
squeeze of lemon juice
Mix all ingredients until blended
1) Preheat the oven to 350
2) Cook the quinoa according to directions
3) Saute the mushrooms and onions in a bit of oil until soft and
4) In a large bowl, mix the Multigrain Blend with Vegetables still frozen with the cooked quinoa and mushroom and onions and grape tomatoes, beans, carrots, tomatoes and garlic, and shredded “cheese”
5) Slice the large red peppers the long way from stem to bottom and cut away a small slit the length of the pepper to create the opening. Chop up the little slice slice of pepper and mix into the stuffing.
6) Without breaking the pepper, open it and remove all the seeds and insides.
7) Stuff each pepper with the stuffing.
8) Bake at 350 for about 30 – 40 minutes. Check it occasionally to make sure that the pepper isn’t burning.
9) Serve with a dollop of Avocado Sriracha sauce
The versatility of the dish allows for all kinds of stuffing, obviously. I’ve also used Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice as a base too instead of the Multigrain Blend. The ease with using either of these is that they are both precooked and can be used frozen. On occasion, I’ve added some ground tofu crumbles to the stuffing to give it a meatier feel. If I have leftover roasted broccoli, cauliflower and mini-peppers in the fridge, which I make a big batch of every week, I cut some of that up and throw it into the mix.
I like this particular recipe because it looks like I worked much harder than I did, the presentation has a festive look, it always satisfies my diners and the tasty sauce really finishes it off.