Written by Roxanna Arefpour, a sustainable holistic health coach and founder of Soul Spectrum
ROAST THE RED PEPPERS
Peppers (including chillies) can often become the forgotten vegetable of our fridges. Red peppers are known to be extremely high in Vitamin C, providing a great iron source. They are also high in vitamin A; great for the baby’s eyes, organs, skin and bones during pregnancy. Red Peppers are also packed with a huge amount of antioxidants helping protect your cells from certain cancers and heart disease. And peppers are known to reduce inflammation found in arthritis and asthma. They are abundant in nutritional value which is key to maintaining a healthy immune system. Perfect for any diet!
You can roast and incorporate them into a number of delicious meals, such as dips and sauces and I am going to share with you my three favourite red pepper recipes below.
Feta and Roasted red pepper galette (serves 4)
The galette has a lovely Mediterranean theme. It is full of fresh, simple and delicately spiced ingredients to enhance, whilst tangy feta and pastry create an oozy and comforting texture.
It’s a sophisticated and super easy comfort food!
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
- 200g sweet red peppers
- 150g Feta or Vegan Feta
- 1/4 juice Lemon
- Flour for dusting
- 300g Puff pastry
- 100g Tenderstem Broccoli
- salt and Pepper
- 1 tablespoon of oil and milk (+plant based) or 1 whisked egg
- Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200c and line a sheet pan with baking parchment.
- In a bowl, massage the peppers evenly in olive oil. Set on the sheet pan to roast for twenty minutes.
- Chop the stems of the tender stem broccoli into pea size pieces and finely mince garlic
- In a pan, warm some more oil, add garlic and cook gently until it is slightly translucent
- Add spices and herbs and stir, allowing garlic to absorb for 2 minutes
- Add the broccoli, cook for 4 minutes then set aside
- Once the peppers are out the oven and cooled, pull the tops off; slice open, scrape seeds and cut into slices length ways
- Add to the pan and cook for 5 mins
- Add a squeeze of lemon and season to taste
- For the pastry, you will need a dull surface and rolling pin, rolling the pastry to 1mm thick
- In a bowl; crumble the feta, add a splash of lemon, sprinkle a little oregano and mix
- Place 100g of the cheese into the middle of the pastry and add the pepper broccoli mixture.
- Fold around the edges of the pastry and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top.
- Cook for 20 mins until the pastry is golden brown
Chilli Chilli Chilli
This next dish, known as ‘Dolmeh’, has many versions throughout Europe and the Middle East. It is a beautiful, hearty and delicious crowd pleaser.
My version has typical Mexican flavours.. I chose this as it contains a rich variety of spices which are all fantastic for our immunity and health. The chilli is the heart of the dish and can be eaten alone or with the simple quinoa. This combination also makes for a great complete protein. Again, making use of some beautiful, bright and highly nutritious peppers takes the dish to the next level.
- 5-6 large Bell Peppers
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large Onion
- 1/2 red chilli (Serrano is great)
- 1 green chilli jalapeño
- 1 can Kidney or black Beans
- 1/4 teaspoonTurmeric
- 1/2 tspGround Cumin
- 1/2 tspGround coriander
- 1/2 tsp Sweet paprika
- 1/2 tspSmoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp Chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp Oregano
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp of Maple syrup
- *(Can add sugar or ketchup if syrup and cocoa not available)
- 500ml Veg Stock
- 1 can Tinned tomatoes
- Fresh coriander
- Cheese: Feta or cheddar
- Avocado slices
- 1/2 cup of quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups of veg stock
- Season to taste
- Start off by carefully cutting around the top of the peppers to create the lid.
- Clear the seeds and ribs and cover the outside with oil and salt
- Finely chop onion, garlic, red chilli and 1/4 of the jalapeño.
- Heat the oil in a pan and add mixture. After 2 mins add all the spices, except cocoa.
- Allow to cook on a gentle heat for a further 4 minutes to infuse, stirring gradually.
- Rinse off beans and add to the mixture.
- Stir through whilst slightly increasing the heat.
- Next, add the cocoa powder and maple syrup. After 2 minutes add the tomatoes, half a cup of veg stock and the bay leaf
- Leave to cook for at least 30mins and for best results cook slowly for over 45mins.
- Rinse the quinoa through thoroughly.
- In a non stick pan, add stock to the cleaned quinoa (add bay leaf if desired).
- Gently simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa has become fluffy.
- When ready, drizzle with good olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir and it’s ready to serve.
- To assemble the peppers, rinse and clean
- Take a little cup of liquid from the chilli and dilute with water. Enough to fill the dish 1/3 of the way. This is to baste whilst cooking and retain the moisture.
- Spoon the chilli and quinoa mixture into the pepper, packing them tightly and replacing the lids.
- Cook the peppers for around 35/40 minutes, or until the skins have charred, turning and basting half way through. Sprinkle your choice of cheese over the dish for the last 5 mins, to soften and brown.
- Garnish with fresh coriander, more of your favourite cheese, sliced avocados and a wedge of lime (to squeezed)
Cumin Infused Red Pepper Hummus
Hummus is a common go to snack or accompaniment of mine. It’s a fantastic healthy snack and so versatile in layering different flavours. This recipe is so simple to make – creamy, smooth and delicious.
My top tips are getting it extra creamy is removing the skins of the chickpeas and blending them in increments. Then lastly adding a few splash’s of ice cold water once all chickpeas are blended.
- 1 can Chickpeas
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 long piquillo red pepper or 4 mini sweet peppers work best
- Cumin seeds
- Cumin powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Lemon
- Olive oil ice cold water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh herbs to garnish e.g parsley or basil
- Preheat Oven 200c
- On a baking tray and parchment, oil the pepper and two big garlic gloves and sprinkle with salt
- Roast in the oven for about 20mins, turning half way until nice and charred.
- Rinse the Chickpeas (I like to remove the skins but not necessary)
- Take a 1/4 of the chickpeas and leave for toasting.
- Add half the chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice to a food blender, and season. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides. Add the rest of the chickpeas and continue blending until smooth. Gradually, add the cold water until the hummus really smoothes out. Season to taste.
- Once the pepper and garlic are roasted, remove the skins from both.
- Pull the head of the pepper, then slice open and scrape the seeds.
- In a generously oiled pan add spices on a medium heat and stir for a few minutes, really allowing the oil to infuse. Then add the peppers and garlic, stirring into a very rough pulp.
- Add a squeeze of lemon and then let cool.
- Once cooled add to the hummus and blend until smooth. Again, season to taste with more lemon salt and pepper if needed.
- In the same pan, with the remainder of the oil and pepper juice, add the chickpeas and set aside.
- Add some extra cumin seeds and toast slowly until brown.
- Squeeze with lemon and season to taste.
- Once the hummus is cooled, add to a bowl and garnish with the toasted chickpeas, infused oil and fresh herbs.
- Serve with toasted bread, crackers or credit veg.
If you would like more information, help or advice from the lovely health coach Roxy, please visit the Soul Spectrum website for more information or follow Soul Spectrum on Instagram. Roxy also offers free consultations for first time clients. She also has lots more delicious plant-based recipes going live on her website shortly!