Stuffed peppers were calling my name yesterday, so I had to make them. Peppers are a winner across the board in my book, Sweet, crisp and available in a variety of colors, bell peppers are the ornaments of any grocery store produce aisle. OK, so we’re coming to the end of “pepper season,” but they can be found year round.

Unlike chili peppers, sweet peppers are not hot at all – regardless of hue. Sweet peppers have a recessive gene that eliminates the heat, called capsaicin, from this fruit (yep peppers are actually a fruit not a vegetable). Low in calories and full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, bell peppers are a healthy choice for anyone.

Five Reasons to Love Bell Peppers

1) Super-C: Green peppers have twice as much vitamin C as oranges; red and yellow four times as much vitamin C as oranges! So before you reach for a glass of sugar-packed OJ to fend off the flu, reach for a crispy pepper instead!

2) Variety: There are eight colors in the bell pepper family, including green, yellow, red, orange, brown, black, ivory and purple. All peppers start out green, then continue to ripen to their variety color. One caveat: Green peppers, of course, stay green.

3) Gorgeous, Glowing Skin: Bell peppers are loaded with over 100% of our daily requirement of vitamin A, which has been shown to reduce fine lines and age spots, and improve skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.

4) Improved Vision: Due to the high levels of beta carotene, bell peppers can help prevent cataracts and improve night vision.

5) Healthy Joints:  Bell peppers can help people affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) move a little easier. Antioxidant-rich peppers help ward off the free radicals that can cause flare ups in RA.

Storage
Peppers will last about a week if left unwashed in a plastic bag in a refrigerator.  When buying, look for a pepper that has smooth and unblemished skin with no palatable soft spots. Peppers are a great accompaniment to many meals and can be enjoyed raw, roasted, grilled, stewed, broiled or pickled! 

Quick Tip: The easiest way to way to cut a pepper, while avoiding the seeds, is to stand the pepper lengthwise and simply slice the walls of the pepper downward. Voila…a pepper easily sliced with no seeds in the way!

Sliced up and thrown into a cool salad or served on a sizzling fajita entrée, bell peppers are extremely versatile. Here’s a great recipe that’s easy to prepare, has a lot of flavor and a great southwest kick.

 

Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers

Yields: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time:
30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium bell peppers (any color will do!)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (substitute lean ground turkey)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½  cup diced fresh tomato
  • 2 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 2  tablespoons flour
  • ½  teaspoon sea salt
  • ½  teaspoon chili powder
  • ½  teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil.

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Gently place the peppers in the boiling water for three minutes. Remove and place upside down on a paper towel to drain.

In a separate saucepan, brown beef/turkey and drain fat. Add all remaining ingredients, except for the sea salt peppers. After all ingredients are well-mixed, remove from heat and add the sea salt.

Spoon mixture into each of the peppers. Place in pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas and refried beans.  Enjoy!

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