Tag Archives: coconut

Bell Pepper Stuffed with Coconut Rice, Black Beans, and Mango

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This is my absolute favorite dinner recipe. Hands down. It uses some of my favorite flavors: Coconut, Lime, Mango, Basil…

Look at them. They're begging to be stuffed.

All nestled in the Crock Pot!

I don’t make stuffed bell peppers very often because I don’t like green peppers and red ones are frequently about $1.50 each around here, which just seems silly. Last time I went to the store they were $0.68 though and I greedily grabbed 4, knowing exactly what their future would be.

The other reason I haven’t made stuffed bell peppers in awhile is because the absolute best way to do so is to cook them in a crock pot. It softens them to a melt in your mouth texture, while keeping the stuffing moist and flavorful. And the problem  with my crock pot is this…

"I'm melting!"

I may have accidentally melted the control part of my crock pot by having it too close to something cooking on the stove. Now it only sometimes turns on when I plug it in. And when it does turn on it only works on one setting. The worst part? I had only had this for about a month when this happened: Andrew bought it for me to replace my old one, which I dropped and shattered the insert of.

I’m accident prone, but I digress. Onto more cheerful topics, like Thai flavored stuffed peppers!

This recipe is adapted lightly from an amazing cookbook called Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. It is one of my favorites, full of simple and delicious things you can throw together in the morning and come home to dinner waiting for you.


Bell Peppers Stuffed with Coconut Rice, Black Beans, and Mango:

*4-6 large bell peppers (I prefer red, which are not only sweeter but also higher in vitamins A and C than green, but you can use whatever color you like), tops sliced off and diced, hollowed out.

*2 cups cooked basmati rice

*1 cup cooked black beans (I threw in a few garbanzos, too, because I needed to use them up)

*1 large red onion

*1 large mango (use Manila or Champagne mangos if you can find them. They are much smoother in texture than regular mangos) —–> for the best way to chop a mango neatly, click here.

*1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut

*1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil (preferably Thai Basil) or cilantro

*1 lime

*1 teaspoon agave nectar (you can use sugar if you dont have agave, or leave it out, but it helps round out the flavors)

*Optional: to give these an extra kick, add 1/2 to 1 minced chili pepper, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot chili powder such as cayenne, or 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce.

*1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil, plus extra for greasing the crock pot or pan.

*salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add the onion and bell pepper. If you are using jalepenos, add them now. Cover and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the rice, coconut, beans, mango, half of the juice from the lime plus a bit of lime zest, agave, basil, and spice if using.

3. Spoon mixture into prepared peppers and arrange upright in a lightly oiled slow cooker. If you have extra rice you can serve it warmed with the peppers or reserve it for another use. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. I haven’t made these in the oven, but if you don’t own a slow cooker or are short on time, I would imagine they could be cooked at 350F for 45- 60 minutes. If anyone tries it, let me know!

Rawlicious indulgence

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As the weather finally begins to warm up around here, my body naturally starts to crave more fresh and raw foods. While looking online for some raw inspiration last week, I came across Ani Phyo‘s site and saw that she was coming to Portland for a talk and book signing Thursday! The timing couldn’t have been better. Ani was great! I think her gorgeous looks alone sell a lot of people on eating raw foods- I can’t believe she’s 42! She talked about the benefits of raw foods, and answered questions about eating raw on-the-go or while traveling, eating raw in colder climates, and more. She was promoting her new book, Ani’s Raw Food Asia, but I purchased her Ani’s Raw Food Essentials book because I wanted a more basic book to start. I try to eat a lot of big salads and smoothies (especially smoothies with spinach or kale- my husband thinks I’m disgusting, but it’s such a yummy way to get your greens!) but as far as the more complex raw foods preparation, I really have little experience. I also don’t have a dehydrator yet, which many raw recipes call for.

Raw food, which Ani considers food that is not heated above 104F,  is great because it is unprocessed and retains all the beneficial nutrients and enzymes that nature intended it to have. I personally don’t believe that it’s healthy for me to eat too much raw foods during the colder months because when I do I get very chilled. I have a rather cold constitution. When I did my yoga training we had a class on Ayurveda and I am predominantly Vata with a bit of Kapha.  I try to consume warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne, but even that isn’t enough to warm me! So it’s hard for me to imagine living a completely raw lifestyle while living in Portland, but once it warms up I like to a much higher ratio of raw to cooked foods in my diet.

While raw food diets should be based mostly on vegetables, they also lend themselves well to some amazing desserts! Raw food desserts are generally not low calorie, but they are packed with nutrients and satisfying. Yesterday was my last day of clinicals this semester (!) and so we brought in some treats. I wanted to bring something gluten-free, because a friend of mine in the group is allergic to gluten and I also wanted to bring something raw so I adapted a recipe from Angela‘s no bake date bars to make some amazing chocolate coconut date bars. These were a big hit! I always worry when I bring my “healthy treats” that people will turn up their noses at them, but my class mates gobbled them up!

Raw Coconut Chocolate Date Bars:

Crust:

1.5 cups almonds

1.5 cups dried unsweetened coconut (Angela uses oats and I have used these too with yummy results, but I didn’t have any gluten free oats)

10 pitted and chopped dates

2-4 tablespoons coconut oil (you can use another kind of oil, but the flavor of coconut oil is worth seeking out!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:

2.5 cups pitted dates

2 tablespoons raw cacao or regular cocoa powder

2 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)

1 teaspoon maca powder (optional but gives a delicious malty flavor)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup pure water as needed

Directions:

Line a 9×9 in square baking pan with parchment paper. Pulse ingredients for crust in food processor until a crumbly and slightly sticky mixture forms. Start with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and add more if your mixture is still too dry. Press 3/4 of this mixture into your prepared pan. Reserve the rest for topping.

Now wipe out the food processor (it doesn’t need to be washed) and add your filling ingredients, starting with 1/4 cup water and adding more as needed to form a thick, spreadable paste. Spread the filling over the first layer and top with the reserved crust, pressing down lightly. Top with a few more cacao nibs if desired. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate for a few hours to set up before slicing into 16 squares. Store in the fridge or freezer for longest shelf life.

Have a beautiful day! I get to take it easy today because tomorrow I’m running my first 10k! :D

xo/Nikita