Trying New Things + Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

 
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Trying new vegetables can be hard. Where do you start? Is it going to taste good? How do you cook it?

These are all really valid concerns, especially in pregnancy when cravings and aversions are making you a little fearful of venturing outside of what you know. However, If your personal goal is to eat a variety of foods from different food groups including a rainbow of veggies, you really won’t know if you like something until you try it. It can feel a little risky, but I’m constantly encouraging my clients to go for it!

My favorite place to start with clients is to walk them through what’s in season - these fruits and vegetables are going to be SO much tastier than something that is grown out of season. Seasonal Food Guide is a really helpful website for this, and I’ve got more thoughts on eating locally & seasonally in this blog post.

Another really awesome resource can be signing up for a local CSA (community supported agriculture) - this takes some of the burden off the decision making because every box is a little bit of a surprise. Similarly, a company called Hungry Harvest is offering produce boxes that help end food waste of seasonal produce. Plus, a portion of their profits goes to organizations that help fight food insecurity; I really love their mission! Try it and let somebody else make the produce decisions for you this month.

I got my first Hungry Harvest box at the beginning of August and was pleasantly surprised to see a really wide variety of fruits and veggies. I got sugar snap peas, avocados, butter lettuce, grape tomatoes, organic red plums, plus a veggie I had never even heard of before - cubanelle peppers! They’re similar in flavor to a bell pepper but have much thinner skin, and therefore cook more quickly. Because peppers are packed with vitamin C which enhances iron absorption, I thought stuffed peppers with a combo plant and and animal sources of iron would make for a really tasty iron-rich meal. Plus, mixing in beans for plant-based protein is a really affordable way to stretch this tasty dish into more satisfying meals. So without further ado, here’s a super easy recipe for stuffed cubanelle peppers!

 
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Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

Simple, delicious and iron-rich.

Makes: ~8 stuffed peppers

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:

  • 8 cubanelle peppers, washed
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese, Mexican Blend or Monterey Jack
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cook quinoa on the stove according to instructions on the package. Prep produce: chop onions and mince garlic, chop tops off peppers and de-seed. Place peppers open end up in an oven-safe pot or deeper baking dish like a loaf pan. Use foil to prop them up if necessary. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat, and then pour in oil.
    2. Saute garlic and onions until almost translucent. Add ground beef and brown the meat until there is no visible pink left. Drain excess liquid from the pan.
    3. Mix in chili powder to beef, then add tomato paste and canned tomato. Then mix in beans, followed by cooked quinoa. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to your preference. Remove from heat.
    4. Spoon mixture into open ends of cubanelle peppers, pressing down with a spoon to fill each one completely. You will likely have extra filling, which tastes great as leftovers on it’s own! Top each with pepper opening with shredded cheese.
    5. Cover peppers loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for 5-10 more minutes or until cheese is golden brown and peppers are tender when poked with a fork.
    6. Serve with extra cheese on the side and enjoy!