Food for Runners: P-E-P-P-E-R-S

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I love that you guys + gals love these Food For Runners posts. I lost a bit of momentum when local produce stopped overflowing from our farmers market basket in the fall. But I figure there's no use waiting because before we know it, we'll thaw out and so many foods will be ripe and ready to eat.

If you're catching up, we've covered tomatoes, almonds, pumpkin, cucumbers, bananas, eggs, garlic, quinoa, berries, and kale -- and included our favorite recipes from across the web.

Though a sometimes controversial choice, there's no denying peppers are packed with nutrients:

"A recent study took a close look at vitamin C, vitamin E, and six carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin) + found that two vegetables contained at least two-thirds of all nutrients. One of these foods was the sweet bell pepper." (Source)

Specifically interesting for runners: "All colors of bell pepper are high sources of potassium. This mineral helps keep your fluids and minerals balanced in your body, enhancing muscle function and regulating blood pressure." (Source)

5 main health benefits of peppers: "Burn off fat, control cholesterol, keep arthritis at bay, lower breast cancer risk, and are heart healthy/prevent stroke." (Source + more information)

If you can -- and this is the rule with most fruits + veggies -- grow your own or buy organic and/or locally. Unfortunately, peppers taste great and are good for you, but they are also on the dirty dozen.

You can find all types of peppers at the supermarket.  

"But, in fact, peppers are a seasonal vegetable, and when freshly picked they are sweeter and more intense than any hothouse variety. The skin is thinner, and the flavors are vivid. Eat the real ones often enough, and you may never return to the bland, expensive ones from the grocery store." (Source)

Here are some of our favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

Our Pepper Omelet Rings
Colleen's Roasted Red Pepper + Tomato Soup
Kelly's Tomato-Basil Bell Pepper Tartlets
Jo's Grilled Works w/ cheese, roasted peppers, and onions, etc.
Pamela's Red Pepper Sauce
Kat's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Our Cherry Pepper Poppers
Jodi's Baked Parsnip Fries w/ Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Lisa and Anna's Roasted Poblano Salsa (like Chipotle!)
Michelle's Raisin + Couscous Stuffed Peppers
Our $5 Dinner: Veggie Stuffed Peppers
Aida's Charred Poblano Pesto Pasta
Alexandra's Red Bell Pepper Pie

The fastest/easiest way to eat them is raw -- washed well and chopped as a quick snack. But my favorite is roasting. Just set your oven to broil, rinse peppers and chop in half (remove seeds). Place face-down on baking sheet, and roast for 10-15 minutes until lightly blackened.

I then fill with cooked veggies/grains or chop up and add to omelets or top pizzas. You can also remove the skins by gently rubbing and store in olive oil -- great on sandwiches!

I can't wait till they're in season again (August and September)! For now, we'll enjoy the occasional store-bought + our CSA's locally frozen variety.

What's your favorite way to use peppers?

Don't forget to read up on these other healthy ingredients:

Food for Runners: T-O-M-A-T-O-E-S
Food for Runners: A-L-M-O-N-D-S
Food for Runners: P-U-M-P-K-I-N
Food for Runners: C-U-C-U-M-B-E-R-S
Food for Runners: E-G-G-S
Food for Runners: B-E-R-R-I-E-S
Food for Runners: B-A-N-A-N-A-S
Food for Runners: G-A-R-L-I-C
Food for Runners: Q-U-I-N-O-A
Food for Runners: K-A-L-E

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