I have done something quite unprecedented recently…I’ve decided to cut out crisps, chocolate, cake (yes, really), burgers, butter…basically all the rich, fattening, decadent, indulgent food I feast on daily. I don’t want to bore you with the reasons why, but for now I’m just taking a little break so I can feel a bit cleaner and healthier. I’ve been at it for 4 weeks now and I must admit, I feel a lot better. I feel lighter, full of energy, I’m sleeping better, I’m able to focus at work better and therefore I’m being a lot more productive. Its amazing. I wish someone had told me this sooner!
Anyway, I’ve found it rather challenging coming up with different meals to have each day that are healthy, low in fat and calories, but also tasty. I find it easier at lunchtime as I work in Central London and I’m surrounded by hundreds of healthy lunch options, but dinner is a different matter. Turn back a few weeks and my usual after-work routine was to meet a friend somewhere in Soho for a bite to eat…a burger with fries one night, truffle mac n cheese the next night, tapas the night after that…you get the picture. Over the last few weeks however, I’ve been heading straight home to cook my meals from scratch. Nothing processed, nothing pre-prepared, just simple, good ingredients.
So with this in mind, I made some mixed stuffed peppers the other day. I had two sweet Romano peppers and decided to fill one with a mix of quinoa, cherry tomatoes, red onion and pine nuts, and the other with couscous, pistachios, olives, pomegranate seeds and mint.
I began by preheating the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, then slicing the peppers lengthways and removing all seeds.
I then placed them on a baking sheet and spritzed with a few sprays of cooking spray. If you’re not looking to cut fat or calories you can simply drizzle with oil. I placed them in the oven for approx 10 minutes, until they softened.
Whilst they were in the oven I made some couscous (I put 70g in a bowl and covered with hot chicken stock until it had been absorbed. You can use hot water if you prefer, the stock just gives it more flavour), added 10g of chopped pistachio nuts, a sliced spring onion, a grated garlic clove, some torn mint leaves, a squeeze of lemon and some seat salt and pepper. Then I decided to add a few black olives, sliced.
I spooned the mixture on top of the pepper halves.
Next I cooked 30g quinoa and added to it 3 sun dried tomatoes (when I took them out the oil I pressed them in some kitchen towel to get rid of the excess oil), 40g fresh cherry tomatoes (chopped), 7g of toasted pine nuts, a finely chopped slice of red onion which I’d gently fried with a couple of sprays of cooking oil, a few torn basil leaves and salt & pepper.
Again, I spooned the quinoa mixture on top of the remaining pepper halves.
Then I drizzled each half with a little olive oil and put the peppers back into the oven for about 15 minutes.
I then served with mixed leaves, and topped the couscous with pomegranate seeds.
This was so delicious and even better…healthy and low in calories and fat. Adding up the ingredients on the app My Fitness Pal, I worked out that the two couscous halves came to a total of 360 calories and the two quinoa halves came to 215 calories. So if you fancy a half of each with some salad leaves, the meal comes to under 300 calories. Not bad at all!
Sounds fantastic and good for you! I visited London the other year and I didn’t notice any groceries…perhaps they are farther out and not in the heart of the city…or I just didn’t know how to look in the right places?
Oh there are loads in London! There are a few Whole Foods in the centre, plus Marks & Spencer has a great food hall and these are all over central London. Plus every large supermarket has small versions in the centre…so there are small Tescos, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose etc. I guess its just about knowing what to look for. I must say, I always find it hard in NYC to find groceries unless its Whole Foods.
Next time you’re in London let me know whereabouts you’re staying or hanging out and I will give you a list of good places to check out. 🙂
I guess I didn’t know where to look! I’ll definitely ask for a list next time I come 🙂
these look great!
Your peppers look absolutely gorgeous. Really loving the peppers you’ve opted for (I’ve only used bell peppers) they make for such fantastic food photography! Quinoa & couscous are definite stuffings for my next attempt at this lovely dish! If you have a minute, I’d love your thoughts on my stuffed veggies 🙂 https://goodfoodmarsh.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/les-petits-legumes-farcis/
Your stuffed veggies look amazing! I’ll definitely try them out. 🙂
Roasting peppers is the absolute best thing ever. There’s something about the smokey-sweetness that comes out when you char them. Really like the variations you have here!