Stuffed Traffic Light Bell Peppers: Cheesy, Colorful, Comfortable
Bell peppers botanically are considered fruits, but in the context of meals they are treated as vegetables. No matter what the classification, bell peppers have worldwide appeal, especially when stuffed with an endless variety of ingredients. This recipe for bell peppers is colorful, cheesy, and easy.
Sweet bell peppers have been cultivated from the pepper species, Capsicum anuum, to produce a splendid palette of vivid colors: black, green orange, purple, red, white, yellow. Green is the basic color, as all bell peppers start out green. The other colors are encouraged during ripening. In the United States and other countries, a trio of green, yellow, and red bell peppers is packaged as traffic light peppers.
Each hue features a unique nutritional benefit. For example, green bell peppers are rich in chlorophyll, which aids in wound healing. Orange bell peppers contain extra alpha-, beta-, and gamma-carotene, antioxidant provitamins which are converted by the human body into vitamin A, essential for healthy bones and skin, good vision, and a strong immune system. Red peppers are high in astaxanthin, a supporter of the nervous system, brain, and eyes, and lycopene, a discourager of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. Additionally, the red variety, a superpower in vitamin C content, outdistances not only its green cohorts with double its ascorbate content, but also the sunny fruit, oranges (Citrus x sinensis), with triple its ascorbate content. Yellow peppers have an abundance of lutein and zeaxanthin, promoters of skin and vision health.
As with cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) and green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), bell peppers botanically are considered fruits. Nevertheless, they are treated as vegetables in the context of meals. Bell peppers are enjoyed straight up either raw or cooked. Also their versatility allows them to participate tastefully in the creation of such main or side dishes as casseroles, omelettes, salads, and soups.
With their firm skins and sturdy shape, bell peppers are excellent natural containers for stuffing. Additionally, their seedy white membrane is easily removed by effortless scraping. Bell peppers also offer ideal serving sizes with their generous shapes. Moreover, their aesthetically pleasing outline provides visual appeal.
Popular ingredients for stuffing include fish, meat, poultry, rice, and vegetables. Ground beef is often favored for its flavor and texture. Vegetarians enjoy meatless versions of their stuffed bell peppers. Vegetables, diced or chopped, distinguish stuffed peppers. Seasonings enhance flavors and aromas. Oftentimes, shredded cheese tops the stuffing.
My family’s recipe for stuffed bell peppers substitutes ground turkey for ground beef and brown rice for white rice. For visual appeal, usual a tricolor of bell peppers is used. Hence, the recipe’s name of Traffic Light Bell Peppers.
Cheesy, Colorful Stuffed Traffic Light Bell Peppers
- 6 large bell peppers (2 red, 2 yellow, 2 green)
- sea salt (for sprinkling after boiling peppers)
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1/2 cup chopped red onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
- 1/2 cup water (for brown rice)
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- sharp knife
- large pot for boiling bell peppers
- 2 1/2 quart casserole with lid
- large skillet
- 1/2 cup measuring cup
- 1/2 teaspoon measuring scoop
- 1 teaspoon measuring scoop
1) Slice the tops off the bell peppers and remove seeds and membranes. (Note: I store the tops, including stems, seeds, and membranes, in the freezer to add later to purées).
2) Fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover peppers and bring to a boil; add peppers and cook at medium heat for 5 minutes.
3) Remove peppers from water and upend briefly to drain on towel; then set peppers right side up in ungreased baking dish or casserole and lightly sprinkle insides with sea salt.
4) In a large skillet combine ground turkey, chopped onions, and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until turkey browns, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5) Add uncooked brown rice, water, undrained tomatoes, and seasonings (oregano, black pepper, white pepper); increase heat to high and bring to a boil; then reduce to medium; cover with lid to simmer until rice softens, about 20 minutes.
6) Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar and extra sharp cheddar cheese.
7) Set oven at 350° Fahrenheit (176° Celsius; gas mark 4) to preheat while stuffing peppers.
Spoon mixture into peppers in casserole.
9) Place lid on casserole and set in oven to bake for 30 minutes.
10) Remove lid, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on tops of each pepper, and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Copyright: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, by Stessily.