P is for peppers

Red pepper

By guest blogger, Dr Susan Aldridge, freelance writer and editor based in London, with an interest in medicine, health, science and food /nutrition.

They are extremely rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, chief among which are the carotenoids, such as the alpha and beta-carotene and lutein. In fact, over 30 different carotenoids are found in pepper. This class of compounds is particularly associated with eye health (so, as well as blueberries, which are well known for this benefit, add peppers to your regular diet for good vision as you get older).

One pepper also contains more vitamin C than an orange as well as supplying folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E and several different minerals.

Summer Juice

I hadn’t thought to juice peppers before, but this is a lovely, healthy juice, best served chilled (so use the ingredients straight from the fridge).

Serves one

One red pepper, deseeded and chopped
Handful of tomatoes
Four carrots, chopped
One lemon
One inch piece of ginger, peeled.

Pepper and Tomato Salad

This is a warm salad, lovely as a barbecue dish served with grilled halloumi cheese.

Serves two

One yellow, one red and one orange pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
Around 400 grams tomatoes, halved (any kind – I used a mixture of green striped, orange, red and yellow heritage tomatoes to make the dish even more colourful)
Three cloves of chopped garlic
Two finely chopped chillis (optional)

Heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with foil. Spread out the peppers and tomatoes (cut side up) and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Then add the garlic and chilli and cover with foil. Roast for another 15 minutes (or until soft). Finish with chopped fresh herbs and black pepper.

Vegetarian Chilli

Serves four (or two people for two days, as it reheats well).

One red, one orange and one yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into small chunks
Two red onions, sliced
Three chopped chillis
Around 400g of cooked chick peas, kidney bean, black beans or a mixture
Around 200g peas and/or sweetcorn
Big jar of tomato sauce
Soften the peppers and onion in coconut oil and add in all other ingredients. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Serve with a side of crème fraiche or yoghurt and a green salad containing avocado.

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