Probably the most utilized vegetable (technically fruit) in my house. Much to my oldest dismay, I put peppers in everything! I love the crunch, the flavor, and the color.
I get lots of different colors, because they are not only different from the nutrition standpoint, but also a taste standpoint. My two youngest girls love to eat the orange and yellow ones raw which are typically sweeter. Red and green peppers I typically use in cooked dishes like spaghetti sauce or fajitas.
As for nutrition, peppers are high in water and a good source of fiber both of which are good news for your GI system. They are super high in vitamin C, which has a role in many biological systems like skin, immunity, iron absorption and more. They also contain small amounts of other vitamins and minerals, and are rich in antioxidants (different ones in different colors). Considering they are only 30 calories per cup, they are a nutrient dense (lots of nutrition per calorie) option.
But aren’t they a nightshade? Yep, and for most people that doesn’t matter.
Many claim that nightshades are inflammatory and harmful, but research doesn’t support this. A few animal and test tube studies have suggested that nightshades could have negative effects in people with IBD, but we need research in humans before recommendations to eliminate nightshades can be made. There are some people that are allergic, but that is super rare.
So bottom line, you don’t have to eat peppers, but they are a great way to add extra nutrition into your meals, they are delicious, and for the vast majority are well tolerated.
Pepper Breakfast Melt
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 1 egg, scrambled
- 1 ounce pepper jack cheese
- Slice a pepper in half and remove seeds and membranes.
- Scramble an egg or two and put the cooked egg in the pepper.
- Top with cheese and broil on high until cheese melts. Enjoy!
Triple Pepper Rice and Bean Bake
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 small bell peppers
- 1/2 white oinion
- 1 cup zucchini, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fajita seasoning
- 1 can diced green chilies 4 ounces
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 15 ounces
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup pepper jack cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add peppers, onion, zucchini and fajita seasoning and saute until just tender.
- Toss the cooked veggies, chilies, beans and rice together in a casserole dish.
- Top with cheese and bake.
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and middle is warm.
Light Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breast, chopped
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 3 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 can pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketcup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute the chicken until the sides start to brown.
- Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and garlic salt and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add veggies and continue to cook until tender.
- While the chicken and veggies are cooking, mix together the sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 2 tablespoons ketchup.
- Add to the veggies and bring to a boil.With ¼ cup of the reserved pineapple juice, mix in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add to the mixture and continue to boil for 1 minute until the sauce thickens.
- Turn dow the heat, add the pineapple chunks and simmer until the pineapple is warmed. Serve over rice.