When it comes to making healthier food choices, flavour can make a huge difference to your success. Enjoying and feeling satisfied by your meals means you’re less likely to feel deprived.
This recipe is inspired by Spain and South America. Whilst I don’t recommend overdoing cured meats, a little does go a long way. Just be sure to choose a really good quality chorizo sausage with no sulphites (preservatives) or E numbers (the alternative is to leave it out and add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and extra diced vegetables such as tomatoes instead).
Bell peppers have high concentrations of antioxidants. Just one will provide more than twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and almost 75% of recommended daily vitamin A. When it comes to weight loss, its important to get the most nutritionally dense food possible and at only 37 calories per serving, bell peppers provide a wide range of essential nutrients.
Black quinoa is a protein-rich seed originally cultivated in Colorado (the original quinoa hails from the Andes in South America). It is especially abundant in essential minerals, and is grain and gluten-free which is good news for people with celiac.
I’m serving these delicious stuffed peppers with a little crumbled cool Greek feta cheese, unctuous avocado and a light green salad of just rocket leaves and diced cucumber. Feta is traditionally made from a combination of sheeps and goats milk and is often less inflammatory and allergenic than cheese made with cow’s milk.
Enjoy this dish as a light lunch for 4, or if you’re extra hungry, as a main meal for 2-3 people.
- 1 tsp melted coconut oil*
- Half a medium white onion, peeled and finely diced
- 100g good quality chorizo sausage
- 80g uncooked black quinoa (makes approx. 1.5 cups cooked volume)
- 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
- 2 whole red bell peppers, sliced in half (lengthwise), seeds & white pith removed
- 50g greek feta cheese
- 1 medium-sized avocado
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 large handfuls of rocket leaves
- 100g cucumber, finely diced
- 1 tbsp Basil pesto (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment. Put the pepper halves onto the parchment and drizzle with a little melted coconut or olive oil.
- Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime melt a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions reduce the heat slightly and sweat for 5 minutes.
- Dice the chorizo sausage and add to the frying pan with the onions. Continue to cook on a low heat so the onions take on the colour of the chorizo.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, drain any excess water and add to the onions and chorizo. Add the chipotle chilli flakes and lightly season with a pinch of sea salt. Sauté over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the quinoa from the heat. Pile the mixture into each of the pepper halves. Cover lightly with foil and put into the oven for 35 minutes (remove the foil after 20 minutes).
- Prepare the toppings and salad: peel, de-stone and slice the avocado (squeeze juice of half a lemon onto the avocado to stop it from going brown). Set aside. Crumble the feta cheese into a small dish and set aside.
- In a salad bowl add 4 large handfuls of rocket leaves and diced cucumber.
- After 35 minutes remove the peppers from the oven and carefully transfer them to a serving plate. Sprinkle the crumbled feta and the avocado slices over the peppers. Season with a little sea salt. Serve with a teaspoon of basil pesto and a pile of green salad.
|NUTRITION INFORMATION PER ONE QUARTER SERVING (including toppings & side salad)|
|A source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and Iron. Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Grain free.|
PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA
*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores