Nutrition – Stuffed Capsicums and Chocolate Chickpea Cookies

Stuffed Capsicums (Serves 6)

These are fantastic little all-in-one packages of nutrition! Each capsicum has 1 serve of vegetables, 1 serve of wholegrains and 1 serve of lean meat. They are a great source of fibre, protein and micronutrients. Serve with a side of salad or vegetables for a deliciously  balanced lunch or dinner!

Ingredients

500g lean beef mince

2 tsp unsaturated oil

(either olive or vegetable)

1 small onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, diced

2 sticks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp tomato paste

3/4 cup water or stock

1 cup dry brown rice

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp sage

½ cup slivered almonds

Juice of 1 lemon

6 medium-sized capsicums

Method

Mince –

  1. Heat a non-stick pan, add the oil. Fry the onion, carrot and celery for a few minutes, then add the garlic and fry until fragrant and soft.
  2. Add the beef mince and brown – make sure you break up the clumps of meat so that it cooks evenly and in fine pieces.
  3. Add the water/stock, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boil before turning the heat to low and simmering – covered – for approx. 20 minutes to let the flavours develop.

Rice –

  1. Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of dry brown rice to boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Lower heat, cover and simmer for around 15 mins.
  3. Remove from heat and stand, covered for 5 to 10 mins, until all water is absorbed.

Assembly –

  1. Combine the mince mixture, brown rice, herbs, almonds and lemon juice.
  2. Cut the tops off the capsicums and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and white membrane.
  3. Divide the rice and mince mixture evenly among the capsicums.
  4. Oil a baking dish and place capsicums in, being careful they don’t topple over. Pour a little stock or water over the capsicums to keep them soft. 
  5. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 180°Cfor 45mins or until capsicum is soft.

!! Vegan/Vegetarian option !!

  • Replace the mince with 2 cans of drained red kidney beans and add to the garlic and vegetable mixture in step 1. (Or you could use a faux meat mince).
  • Replace the Worcestershire sauce with soy sauce.

(Recipe adapted from eatforhealth.gov.au)

Chocolate Chickpea Cookies (Makes 10)

I was very sceptical of putting chickpeas anywhere near my cookies at first, but after some convincing from friends I tried this recipe, and I have no regrets! Chickpeas add extra fibre, protein and low GI carbohydrates, making this a great post-pole snack.

Ingredients

425g tinned chickpeas

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch cinnamon

1 – 2 tablespoon honey, maple syrup or sugar.

1 tbsp cocoa

1/2 cup chocolate (dark choc chips; dark choc melts, roughly chopped; or even your favourite block chocolate roughly chopped)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Combine chia seeds with water and leave to thicken for 5 mins
  3. Drain chickpeas and rub dry with a clean tea towel or press with paper towel
  4. Place all ingredients (except for chocolate) in a food processor
  5. Process for 20 seconds or until smooth
  6. Stir in chocolate
  7. On a lined baking tray, place tablespoons of mixture and flatten slightly
  8. Cook for 30 minutes

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