One of my favorite lazy ways to prepare fresh summer vegetables is cooking them on the grill. It’s so easy and the perfect way to take advantage of the summer bounty of peppers, squash and onions. Making a big batch ensures you have a stash for a quick pasta salad or sandwich.
Recently, I joined a new weekly food blogging group that will feature a different Power Food each week based on the book Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. Power Foods are foods that are outstanding in the amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, fiber and more, that help fight disease and promote good health.
This week, we’re featuring Bell Peppers as a Power Food.
Bell peppers are surprisingly a Power Food. Although I have used roasted peppers as the main ingredient in Muhammara, a roasted red pepper dip, and Roasted Red Pepper Carrot Pesto, I usually use red bell peppers in stir-fries, as crudite dippers, or as part of a medley of grilled vegetables.
So, what makes Bell Peppers a Power Food? Bell peppers are packed with carotenoids, which help boost the immune system and fight cancer and heart disease. Interestingly enough, orange peppers are a top source of lutein and zeaxanthin (more than any other fruit or vegetable), which are important for good vision, and red peppers contain beta-carotene, important for night vision.
Bell peppers are exceptionally high in vitamin C and vitamin A. One cup of raw bell peppers provides 195.8% Daily Value vitamin C and 57.6% Daily Value vitamin A. They are also high in vitamin B6, folate, fiber and vitamin E.
It’s best to eat bell peppers raw or just cooking them for a short period of time as higher heat cooking can damage some of the delicate phytonutrients in bell peppers. Whoops! See, I learned something. Although I do love roasted and grilled bell peppers, it’s better to enjoy them raw in a salad or in a stir-fry where they are barely cooked.
Here’s a Power Salad I made last night for the kids, full of Red Peppers, Yellow Peppers, Tomatoes, Avocados, Cucumbers, and Romaine Lettuce. I took a picture with my phone and posted it on Facebook.
- 2 Bell Peppers, cut into 2" pieces
- 2 Summer Squash, cut lengthwise into ½" slices
- 1 Zucchini, cut lengthwise into ½" slices
- 1 Onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano, thyme or rosemary (use fresh if you have it)
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Yogurt Sauce for serving, optional
- Gently toss vegetables with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper.
- Grill on a sheet of aluminum foil until done, about 10-12 minutes, turning pieces halfway through.
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up for this week: (If you’re interested in joining our group, contact Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits.
Alyce – More Time at the Table
Ansh – Spice Roots,
Casey – Bookcase Foodie
Jill – Saucy Cooks
Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living
Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Bambi – Adobo Down Under