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Try It Out Tuesday - Peppers

Update on last week's Try It Out Tuesday - Dairy - Try It Out Tuesday - Dairy went pretty well for me, although not as well as Try It Out Tuesday - Eggs, I must admit.  I never did get around to making my own yogurt, although I am still contemplating it. I may hold off for about two months though, when we will have access to raw milk. I did do a good job of incorporating more cheese and yogurt into my diet, and even made some falafel with a greek yogurt dressing, which was great!

This week's Try It Out Tuesday focuses around peppers - red, yellow, green, hot, and sweet! Peppers, kind of like members of the allium family, can be added to a variety of dishes to spice up the taste, add a little color, or just contribute a new, subtle flavor.

Growing up, I never ate many peppers, so adding them to my diet has been a conscious effort for me. I have friends who have chopped peppers in every salad they eat, but I just rarely think about adding them. I don't love them, I don't hate them. I really feel pretty neutral all around about them, so I think they will be a fairly easy Try It Out Tuesday, since it really just is a matter of being aware of adding them to my diet.

All About Peppers

There are two basic kinds of peppers: bell and chili. Bell Peppers are the large, roundish ones that come in green, red, yellow, and orange. For the most part, they have a pretty mild taste (green peppers are the least mild) and they add a bit of crunch to a dish without drastically changing the flavor. They can be added to things like sauces, casseroles, and even omelets to add a little something extra (and can be cut very very small so that your children/spouse hardly notices, if they aren't that into peppers).

Chili peppers can not be so easily disguised, mostly because they so drastically change the flavor of whatever you are cooking. Chili peppers are great in Mexican or other spicy foods, and the flavors meld well in dishes like fajitas and jerk chicken.

Nutritional Benefits

Bell peppers are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, and Potassium. Red peppers also contain lycopene, which is a chemical that can help reduce the risk of multiple types of cancers, including prostate and cervical cancers. Orange peppers are the most dense food source of a compound called zeaxanthin, which is known to protect against eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

The more ripe the pepper is, the sweeter it tastes and the more nutrient dense it is. For example, red bell peppers are the ripest, so they are the sweetest tasting, and the most nutritious for you. Green bell peppers are the least ripe, and thus they have a more bitter flavor and are less nutrient packed.

Chili peppers contain vitamin A, fiber, potassium, folic acid, and iron. In addition, chili peppers are filled with capsaicin, which is an ingredient known for elevating endorphin levels, improving mood, and even reducing the feeling of pain. Capsaicin in your body causes your blood vessels to widen, which helps to elevate your body temperature, thereby increasing your metabolism. This can (along with other diet changes) help you along a weight loss path, and can help to reduce your overall body fat.

Studies have also shown that people who consumed a hot pepper with their meal had a lower insulin level at the end of the meal than people who did not consume any hot peppers. This could be indicative of other health benefits of hot peppers, and would certainly be important to all of us, but especially those with insulin resistance and diabetes.

Way to Incorporate Peppers

  • Fajitas (cut up some bell and hot peppers along with your onions, drizzle some olive oil over them, cook them up and serve with chicken and tortillas.
  • Shish Kabobs (or what we called shish kabobs in my house - basically skewers with chicken, peppers, and onions grilled until done)
  • Add them to salads - great source of raw peppers
  • Spice up some spaghetti sauce - you could even puree them in the blender until smooth to add to the sauce
  • Add to casseroles - particularly Mexican or spicy casseroles

I think peppers are pretty easy to incorporate, so I am excited to hear about how you add them to your diet. I'm planning on adding them to omelets in the mornings, salads at lunch, and having a few meals that really feature them for dinner this week. I would love to hear your ideas!

This post is part of Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday


  1. Don't forget to put them on your pizza! I love peppers but am the only one in my house. I keep hoping I can change everyone else's mind.

  2. Oooh good one! That is a great way to incorporate them, and you could use the bell peppers or spicy peppers! I will have to try that out next time, because we eat pizza a lot!

  3. Pickled are good too. But roasting them, oh my goodness, the flavor is just so delicious.

  4. We're a pepper household... we eat bell peppers all the time! This is a great recipe http://elizabethallred.blogspot.com/2010/03/sweet-pepper-skillet-4.html

    We add them to stir-fry, pizza, omelets, scrambled eggs, chicken and dumplings, shepherd's pie, enchiladas, pizza casserole, loaded hashbrowns, pureed in pizza and spaghetti sauce, roasted and thrown on salads, or just raw cut up for a snack. We love peppers!

  5. I agree that roasted are by far the best! I love the taste and smokiness of roasted red peppers!

    Audrey - great ideas on ways to use the peppers! I can't wait to get some more and try those out! I also love the idea of pureeing them so that you get the flavor without the crunch! Thanks!