3 Tips to Discover the Nutritional Magic in Red Bell Peppers (Yummy Recipe Included!)

Cynthia Bailey, MD|July 13, 2015

Red Bell Peppers Years ago, I wish someone had told me that green bell peppers are really colored ones that have not fully ripened. I would have had a happier tummy and been able to enjoy bell peppers more if I had known to avoid green bell peppers. These unripe peppers were the cause of days-long stomachaches with indigestion accompanied with unpleasant burps that wouldn't stop. Does this ever happen to you? Bell peppers are, of course, very good for us and quite tasty but… Tip #1: Green bell peppers are simply unripe red bell peppers that I believe shouldn’t be eaten. Many people don’t know that yellow, orange, or purple peppers start out as the green ones and, as they ripen, they develop their brilliant colors. By eating a ripe one, you enjoy digestion-friendly flavor and higher nutritional density as opposed to eating a green one. Tip #2: Interestingly, the white part inside bell peppers is rich in nutrients that your body wants and needs. Yes, it’s a very "chefly" thing to trim out the inner white part when you remove the seeds. A trimmed bell pepper creates a visually appealing presentation whether you are cutting them for a recipe or eating them raw. But, I want you to consider leaving the white part when you can because it’s actually rich in flavonoids (phytonutrients). It would be a real shame to let these go to waste! When presentation is of secondary concern, eat the white part too. Tip #3: Consider buying organic bell peppers! Not all produce is rich in the chemicals used in conventional farming, but bells really pick it up. Bell peppers are one of the types of produce where you should consider springing for the organic options. Red bell peppers are notoriously on the Dirty Dozen for pesticide residues. Bonus Tip #4: Also, understand that colored bell peppers have multiple culinary uses. Apart from the great benefit of a ripened bell pepper on its own, other tasty treats such as pimento and paprika are made from them. What’s more, all types of delicious sauces can be made from ripened peppers as well. This is the star of the delicious sauce recipe we have for you today. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Romesco – a pantry darling This recipe is a pantry darling, and is ready to serve right from the blender. It is completely satisfying on roasted cauliflower, potatoes, dark, leafy greens and, of course, any pasta or bread. It’s also good on meat dishes that need a little something more in the way of flavor. A traditional romesco has tomato in it, so this is a nice alternative. The bread only adds thickness, so it’s not really an essential ingredient here. If you are OK with dairy, Parmesan is the one to go to. Also, if you have fresh red bell peppers to use, by all means go in that direction. Romesco What do you think of this recipe? Please let us know in the comments below. As I always say, I will never tell you what you should eat, only how to cook something to maximize its nutritional benefit. For more information on this topic, check out the following resources used in this article: Prescription for Dietary Wellness The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods   Chef Monica SalloutiCertified Natural Chef Monica Sallouti’s lifelong passion for delicious nutritious food comes from both her formal training and time spent in the kitchens of her two grandmothers as a young girl. She honed her culinary skills and nutritional education at the Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts program at Bauman College in Penngrove, CA. The specialty of nutrition for Chef Sallouti was sparked after a health crisis some 19 years ago. In her late 20’s, she was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. As part of her “treatment,” she developed a keen awareness of the inextricable link between food, cooking and health. Now, 19+ years later, Sallouti brings her knowledge, culinary creativity and care to both her clients.

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