Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red Peppers Will Put a Pep in Your Step

Another recipe post brought to you by Quest volunteer Kelsey.

For all of our blog followers out there who shop at our Dundas store location, I wanted to put the word out that we just received a shipment of fresh sweet red bell peppers that look so good they deserve their own blog post.

With their wonderful combination of tangy taste and crunchy texture, sweet bell peppers are the adornment of the vegetable world with their beautifully shaped glossy exterior that comes in a wide array of vivid colors. However, their beauty is not only skin deep.

Bell peppers are packed with several nutrients. They are a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, betacarotene, and folic acid. Bell peppers also contain a large amount of phytochemicals that have exceptional antioxidant activity. Those phytochemicals include chlorogenic acid, zeaxanthin, and coumeric acid and additionally, when compared to the nutrient values of the different bell peppers, studies have shown that red bell peppers have significantly higher levels of nutrients than their green counterparts largely because they contain lycopene, which is a carotene that helps to protect against cancer and heart disease.

Need I say more? Red bell peppers are amazing! Below I have provided one of my own personal favourite recipes that I hope all of you try. It's tasty and easy to tailor to one’s ingredient availability and individual dietary needs. This recipe is bound to put a pep in your step!

Stuffed Peppers

• 6 bell peppers (any color you like, however we currently have an abundance of red ones)
• 1 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
• 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
• 2 teaspoons salt, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 1/2 pounds lean ground or chunked beef, turkey, chicken or tofu
• 1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice ( or try quinoa and up your nutritional value)
• shredded mild Cheddar cheese, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, optional
• Recipe for stuffed peppers serves 6.


Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Chop edible part of tops and set aside. Rinse peppers under cold water. Place peppers in a large pot; cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set aside.
Heat olive oil and/or butter in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté chopped pepper (from tops), chopped onion, and chopped celery for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend; add ground meat or meat substitute of choice, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato mixture. Mix well. Stuff peppers with meat mixture and place in a 3-quart baking dish. Pour remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers. Bake at 350° for 55 to 65 minutes. If desired, top stuffed peppers with a little shredded Cheddar cheese just before peppers are done; broil until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

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