My refrigerator is never without roasted red peppers. Not only do they add smoky, tangy depth to virtually any dish, they’re nutrient blockbusters, boasting 213% of the RDA for vitamin C per 100 grams (3.5 ounces). That’s great news because vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage, boosts immunity, helps ward off infection, and reduces inflammation. Vitamin C is also vital for the synthesis of collagen, a structural protein that maintains the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. But that’s not all. Bell peppers are loaded with antioxidant-rich carotenoids–over 30 different ones to be exact–including beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s explore ways to incorporate roasted red peppers into your regular menu!
Note: To roast your own peppers, hold them over the flame of a gas grill or place halves (skin-side-up) under the broiler until the skin is charred and blackened. Once blackened, transfer peppers to a plastic bag to steam for a few minutes. When cool enough the handle, remove the blackened skin and use the peppers as desired.
1. Stir into pasta sauces (regular and meat-based sauce)
2. Arranges slices on top of pizzas or flatbreads before baking
3. Stir into egg, chicken and tuna salads
4. Fold into scrambled eggs, frittatas and stuff into omelets
5. Serve alongside steak, shrimp and chicken fajitas
6. Puree with light sour cream or cream cheese for a fabulous dip
7. Arrange over wilted spinach and top with toasted pine nuts
8. Use in place of tomatoes in Caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, basil, drizzle of good olive oil)
9. Roasted Red Pepper Soup: Simmer chopped peppers with good vegetable or chicken broth; puree with a touch of heavy cream; season with salt and pepper; garnish with fresh basil
10. Fold into pasta, rice and quinoa salads
11. Stir into mashed potatoes
12. Fill pepper halves with creamy herbed cheese and roll up
13. Add to chicken/turkey sausage sandwiches and subs
14. Add to the steaming broth for mussels and shrimp
15. Embellish chicken cheese steaks
16. Nestle into pita pockets with hummus
17. Press into panini sandwiches
18. Stir into wild mushroom risotto
19. Add to puttanesca sauce (peppers, tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, rosemary, basil); serve over chicken, fish and pasta
20. Arrange over grilled and roasted chicken and salmon
Robin Miller is host of Quick Fix Meals, a nutritionist and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families.” She is the busy mom of two active boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinmillercooks.com.