For as long as I can remember, peppers have always been a huge part of my diet. From Mom’s delicious stuffed peppers for dinner. Green peppers finely chopped into my grandmother’s heavenly tuna salad. Cooking up a pepper stir fry with rice or as a pizza topping during my lean college years — peppers, in all of their variety, have always been around. Because they’re a vegetable, I knew they were healthy, but never looked into why they are healthy.
From a beauty standpoint, they are a great addition to any diet because they boost collagen production keeping your skin right and tight through vitamin C. They protect your skin against damaging free radicals with vitamin E (we love that vitamin E, don’t we?!). And with both vitamin C & E working together, they aid in helping the skin by guarding it from the sun’s damaging rays which can age you quicker than a raisin in the sun.
And if that’s not enough, the beta carotene in peppers converts to vitamin A to further repair the skin from damage while Selenium keeps the skin tight and firm! Also, peep the Omega 3 Fatty Acid it contains. Omega 3 Fatty Acid helps reduce inflammation throughout your body which can show up in your skin as acne and other problematic issues.
If your mouth is watering now, here’s a great healthy recipe I found at Ambitious Kitchen for Black Bean, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers while surfin’ the net on healthy ways to cook with peppers.
Ambitious Kitchen Black Bean, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if desired
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste if desired
- 3 large red bell peppers, seeds removed and cut vertically
- 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded colby jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a saute pan over medium-high heat olive oil. Add onions, jalapeno. and garlic and saute until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent about 4-5 minutes. Place into large bowl and set aside.
- To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil again. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl.
- While quinoa is cooking place a medium pot over high heat and fill with water, bring water to a boil and add in diced sweet potato. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and continue to cook for about 6 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. This might take more or less time depending on how small you cut your sweet potatoes. Once tender, drain water from sweet potatoes and place into bowl with quinoa and onion mixture. Gently stir in black beans, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
- Arrange bell peppers in large skillet or baking pan and stuff with a heaping 1/2 cup of quinoa mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until peppers are tender. Uncover and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Place in oven for 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Remove and serve immediately with toppings such as sour cream, your favorite hot sauce or guacamole.
Photo: The Glow Goddess
Recipe: Ambitious Kitchen