Although March in the Deep South gets warmer and warmer (as evidenced by the long-sleeved T-shirts I routinely trade for a short-sleeved version all month long), April is really the first month I consider to be true springtime. With the warmer weather comes the inevitable need to shed some hibernation weight from the winter months.
The fresh flavors of springtime just say “healthy” to me. More greens, more colors from the garden, and more fresh fruits and veggies.
While this recipe does have cheese (you need dairy, you know), it’s based on bright, fresh green bell peppers and filled with brown rice and other bright bursts of spring flavor, like garlic and basil.
These would be delicious served with a colorful salad as a side dish.
Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Peppers
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs garlic, minced
5 oz fresh spinach
3 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 large bell peppers
Prepare rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350° F.
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is fragrant and shimmering. Sauté the spinach and garlic for about 2 minutes.
Season with basil, red pepper, oregano, salt and pepper.
Add cooked rice to the skillet; stir in cheeses.
Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
Remove tops from peppers, and scoop out seeds and pith. Stuff peppers with spinach/rice filling. Top with extra cheese, and place peppers in a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 357, Fat: 11 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 30 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Carbohydrates: 52 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 15 g.
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