Healthy stuffed rainbow peppers

There’s a great story behind this recipe, one that features a 12-year-old being awarded for her culinary creativity with an invitation to dine with First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. Grace Wetzler is budding chef and healthy cooking advocate who took on the First Lady’s 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and decided to submit her recipe for healthy stuffed rainbow peppers into the contest. “I was on spring vacation when I heard about the contest from my cousin. I thought about it and thought about it and tried to come up with some recipe ideas. And then the recipe just came to me on a whim. I put the ingredients together and it just worked! So I submitted my entry.” Indeed, out of approximately 1,500 entries that were submitted, Grace’s delicious and nutritious stuffed rainbow peppers were among the 54 winners that made the cut. Grace was eventually notified that she was a winner and that she’d be headed to the White House to celebrate and enjoy a State Dinner with the First Lady and other dignitaries. Grace is already showing a penchant for artistry and imagination in her cooking, and this award-winning recipe is a great example of that. “I think that people want to eat food that looks good and tastes good too. If you see food that’s not as attractive, you don’t want to eat it. But if it looks interesting and tastes interesting and it’s healthy, well that’s a bonus!” 

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 medium bell peppers, tops removed and seeded
  • 1 box of Israeli couscous
  • 1 (16-ounce) container low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1½ cups spinach, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

To make the Stuffed Bell Peppers: Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large sauté pan, warm the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until the turkey is cooked. Add in the basil. Stuff the peppers and sprinkle cheese on top. Season with salt and pepper. Place the peppers in a 9-by-9-inch baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. To make the Israeli Couscous: In a large saucepan, cook the couscous with the broth according to the directions. Add the beans and tomatoes and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Meantime, put the spinach in a large bowl. Pour the couscous on top of the spinach and stir it in gently. Add in the cheese and stir once more. Serve with the stuffed peppers.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • 392 calories • 10g fat • 40g carbohydrates • 27g protein

Contributor

Grace Wetzler