With their vibrant color and unusual shape, stuffed peppers can provide a stunning presentation for your main course. This recipe is completely gluten-free and vegan, with protein-rich quinoa and a vegan pesto sauce drizzled on top for a flavor boost. Regular pesto is delicious but is high in calories and contains cholesterol due to the cheese. This sauce contains heart-healthy fats from walnuts and has zero cholesterol and much lower saturated fat than a classic pesto recipe. Extra pesto can be frozen for later use with whole wheat pasta, brown rice or even fresh fish.
Red peppers contain 11 times more beta carotene and four times more vitamin C than green bell peppers. Vitamin C helps to heal cuts and wounds and to keep teeth and gums healthy, and beta carotene benefits your immune system, vision, skin health and bone health.
Red bell peppers also contain an important phytochemical, lycopene, which could benefit prostate and heart health, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
For this recipe, be sure to select bell peppers that have a semi-flat bottom and can stand fairly upright on their own.
Quinoa is a good source of fiber with 5 grams per serving. Fiber keeps you fuller longer and aids in digestion and overall heart health.
According to the American Dietetic Association, quinoa is a complete protein with all eight essential amino acids — great for vegetarians and vegans. In addition to containing more protein than many grains, this powerful seed also contains more nutrients, including important minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc and iron.
Quinoa is widely available and can be found in most grocery stores, typically near rice and other grains.