I have been making a lot of broths and soups lately so I needed something with some color and that reminded me of warmer weather! These peppers were the perfect solution. They are bright and fresh but still hearty and filling too. This being one of Dr. Zach's favorite dishes I had to taunt him by sending him a picture. He quickly responded with a, "is that rice in there"??? HaHa, just cauliflower rice, Zach. It does resemble regular rice in the way it looks, which is sometimes enough, but also in the texture it gives to the dish. This is what we are really looking for. With the blandness of the cauliflower we can make it taste like it fits but along with the texture, we don't miss the carbohydrate in the dish at all. (Well, as much).
Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
2 medium sized bell peppers
1 cup cauliflower rice (I made mine but you can use frozen)
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano*
1TBS fresh parsley*
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes, 14 oz
1/2 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
*remember that it's okay to substitute dry or fresh herbs, I try to incorporate both so you can see examples
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Cut the bell peppers in half. Cut out seeds and flesh from the pepper. You can steam or blanch the peppers before we fill and bake them. I blanched them and will walk you through how to do that; Boil enough water so that when the peppers are placed in they will be covered. Once water is boiling, place the peppers in the water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove the peppers and place in cold water to stop cooking and retain their color. Let the peppers sit open side down to drain while you move on to the turkey filling.Brown the turkey in a large saucepan until no longer pink. While browning, add the prepared cauliflower rice, onion and garlic.Toss in the herbs, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire Sauce. You could substitute another liquid flavoring here like Coconut Aminos or simply a broth. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so.Place the blanched peppers open side up into a baking dish. Fill the peppers with a generous 1 cup serving of the turkey/cauliflower rice mixture. Bake until the filling is completely heated through, about 20-25 minutes.I topped mine with some more of my homemade tomato sauce and fresh parsley ~ Enjoy!
Bell Pepper Facts
Although you can definitely use green peppers, the brightness of these red and yellow peppers make it all the more appetizing. Along with the beautiful color they provide, they are packed with vitamins/minerals and low in calories. They are primarily made up of water (92%) and the rest is carbs and small amounts of protein and fat. Their calorie content comes from mostly sugars such as glucose and fructose, which are responsible for their sweet flavor. In 1 medium sized red bell pepper, there are about 37 calories and 7 grams of carbs. Another positive about these peppers is that calorie for calorie, they are a good source of fiber containing 2.5 grams per pepper.
Vitamins and minerals are where the brightly colored bell peppers really stand out.
Vitamin C - One medium sized red bell pepper provides 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C, making it one of the richest sources of this essential nutrient. This is such a benefit for us, especially in these winter months when we are more susceptible to flus and viruses. Vitamin B6 - Contains the most common type of vitamin B6 called Pyridoxine. This family of nutrients is important in the formation of red blood cells.Vitamin K1 - This form of vitamin K helps in blood clotting and bone health.Potassium - This is an essential mineral that keeps your fluids and minerals balanced, enhancing muscle function and regulating blood pressure leading to overall heart health. Folate - Also a B vitamin (B9), folate is extremely important during pregnancy and aids in many functions of the body.Vitamin E - A powerful antioxidant and is essential for healthy nerves and muscles. Vitamin A - Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, or beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A.
The Antioxidant - Carotenoids
Bell peppers are also especially rich in various antioxidants, especially carotenoids which are most abundant when peppers are at their ripest and sweetest. Although we encourage you to eat vegetables while they are fresh, these bell peppers have been found to retain their highest levels of these carotenoids when gathered at their peak ripeness and then cut and frozen for up to 6 months. This works best in a deep freeze at a very low temperature, but should be considered if it works better for you in meal planning. It is so easy to precut and freeze foods such as these when they are ripe ready for later use. I scoop them into ziploc bags at a certain amount which make cooking with them easy, I usually do 1 cup per bag. It's easier than canning and you can just grab them when you need them and toss them in.
Another fact that is unique to bell peppers is that the type of antioxidants present change as the pepper matures. Like I have said, they are at their best carotenoid level when they are at their ripest stage. Look for peppers that are firm to the touch. You can eat these vegetables when they are green, or leave them on the vine for a while longer and they will turn red, red to yellow, and then yellow to orange.
There are over 650 different green, red, yellow, and orange pigments found in plants. Actually, when the leaves turn from green to red-orange and then to yellow during autumn, it's the same carotenoids found in these peppers that give us that wonderful spectrum of fall colors.
Some of the most common carotenoids are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein and besides providing you with a beautiful backdrop to your autumn walks, they pack a punch of health benefits. Life seems to present exactly what you need at exactly the right time and the same goes for these powerful antioxidants. The changing of the leaves represents the need for these carotenoids going into the colder winter months. The beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which will provide you with the extra immune support that you need. Same goes for all the vitamin C and zinc found in these protective antioxidants making peppers a great fall food.
10 Surprising Carotenoid-Rich Foods
Note that taking these isolated carotenoids as dietary supplements, or any other vitamin or mineral as a supplement comes with added risks and may not be good for everyone. The best way to get them is always through whole food-based sources.
Overall, this dish is will brighten up your winter months and packs a punch of vitamins and essential minerals that we need at this time too. The taste and texture is there also. I was so excited over this past summer when my kids, Caraline (8) and Jack (6) started eating bell peppers. During a weekend with their dad, he texted me a picture saying, "did you know they love peppers"? My jaw dropped because they had wanted nothing to do with them before. This is common in kids their age. They are growing so fast and their taste buds are too. If your children don't like something now, that doesn't mean they won't like it in a few months. Don't eliminate these healthy foods from their diet, instead keep presenting them with it over and over. Don't make them eat it necessarily, just have it on the table as an option. Eventually they will become so comfortable with them being there, they will try it and then a month later be asking for it.
Seeing how much the kids liked this dish and knowing how much Dr. (Uncle) Zach does also, I'm sure it's something I will be making when he returns from Singapore. I'm thinking red and green peppers for Christmas!