Welcome to Creative Veges 101 where I take you on a journey of learning how to:
- Get creative with vegetables
- Experiment with delicious quick recipes
- Easily get them into your meals everyday
This week is capsicum, which is technically a fruit but we mostly think of it as a vegetable.
Capsicums start out green and change colour as they ripen. Depending on where you live, you may know them as bell peppers, peppers or sweet peppers.
Capsicums are part of the nightshade family, which includes potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes. In SOME people they can trigger a reaction similar to gluten and dairy.
They contain a ton of vitamins and antioxidants and definitely belong in your cancer-kicking meal plans! Red capsicums contain over eight times the amount of vitamin A than a green capsicum and are a valuable vitamin C source, meaning they significantly contribute to boosting your immunity.
More importantly, capsicums contain a large number of carotenoids, plant-based antioxidants that help to reduce the damage that oxidation causes AND help reduce the risk of cancer.
AND to top it off capsicums are high in B6 which increases the levels of serotonin and epinephrine – your happy hormones!
Raw or cooked is fabulous – but note that cooking increases the antioxidant power of capsicums.
I must confess that I only recently learned how to do this! So simple and so delicious. The trick is a hot oven and making sure the skins are nicely burnt so they slip off easily when the capsicum has cooled. Many recipes suggest putting the capsicum pieces in a plastic bag to continue cooking but I prefer to place in a glass or ceramic bowl with a lid.
Roasted Capsicum & Walnut Dip
The roasted garlic gives this dip a rich flavour. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it only takes about 20 minutes to cook in the oven. Popping the cooked garlic out of its skin can be messy but it’s worth the effort. This is a great snack or quick lunch when served with vegetable sticks and your favourite crackers.
You wouldn’t go to trouble of doing stuffed capsicums unless they were on special AND you were cooking for someone who appreciated them because they are a bit more time consuming than most of my recipes. I would try and cook the quinoa the day before. Quinoa is high in protein and resistant starch – that wonderful type of carbohydrate that is not absorbed in the small intestine but makes its way down to the large intestine and becomes food for your good gut bacteria. The nutritional yeast adds a great cheesy flavour and lots of extra vitamins and minerals.
Roasted Capsicum Medley
I love this super easy way to eat roasted veges. This can be a great addition to any meal. I would do an extra tray so you have leftovers for lunch the next day. Put the cold veges on top of a bed of baby spinach or rocket, add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds, half an avocado and drizzle with balsamic vinegar! Delish!