Mediterranean Bell Peppers

Stuffed Mediterranean bell pepper with basil garnish.

Stuffed Mediterranean bell peppers are low in sodium and also cholesterol. Bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A, which contain antioxidants that may help neutralize free radicals, thus helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Mediterranean bell peppers are also a good source of Vitamin K and a very good source of Manganese - all of which can help reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.

Opting for black, red, and/or wild rice may help contribute to heart health. Black rice can be heart-healthy with the fiber content, along with the antioxidant called anthocyanin helping the heart and one's overall health.

Recipe Ingredients:

6 large bell peppers

1 cup long grain brown rice (red, black, or wild rice)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium celery stalks, chopped

1 medium yellow onion

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup raisins

1 tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley

¼ cup orange juice

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup walnuts

sea salt, to taste (optional)

black pepper, to taste

Close-up of stuffed Mediterranean bell pepper with basil garnish.

Recipe Instructions:

Slice off the tops of the bell peppers, then remove the cores and seeds. Boil bell peppers in water to blanch for two-three minutes and remove water, then drain upside down.

In separate medium saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil for rice.  Gradually add rice and bring to boil again. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until somewhat tender. Rinse and drain rice under cold running water.

Next, heat olive oil in a large skillet, adding the onion and celery.  Cook for approximately two minutes. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, and raisins.  Continue cooking for one minute. Fork in the rice.  Add the pine nuts, walnuts, tomatoes, parsley and orange juice.  Cook for four minutes.  Remove from heat.  Season with sea salt (optional) and pepper to taste.  Stir in half of the Parmesan cheese.

Lightly oil the bottom of a casserole dish with olive oil. Place the bell peppers in the dish. Divide the rice mixture equally among them and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Drizzle bell peppers with a little more oil.  Pour water in the casserole dish, around the bell peppers, to come a half-inch up the sides to the bell peppers.  Loosely cover the casserole dish.

Bake in oven at 350°F for approximately 40 minutes.  Uncover and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce and garnish with basil, if desired.

Nutritional Information/Analysis:

Calories: 398 Protein: 11g Carbohydrates: 55g Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 7mg Sodium: 167mg

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