By Carol Harrison

Spring is in the air, a time to change things up – be it your workout routine, or your mealtime line-up. And, if getting more veggies on your plate is a top wellness priority, here are three tasty and simple ways to enjoy vitamin C-packed bell peppers, now in stores thanks to greenhouses!

1. SUPER SNACKS: Use bell peppers as a vessel for dips.

When peppers are cut top to bottom in six segments, you get finger-like “boats,” perfect for filling with:

  • hummus topped with grated carrot;
  • bean salsa topped with feta cheese;
  • egg salad topped with green onion;
  • tuna salad topped with pea shoots;
  • salmon salad topped with arugula

Good to know: Red peppers pack more vitamin C than green peppers.

Red is tops for vitamins A and C. In just half of a red pepper, you get 47% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, (seven times more than green peppers), and a whopping 158% Daily Value for vitamin C. And half of a green pepper provides 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin C. Impressive right?

2. BETTER BREAKFAST: Egg baked roasted peppers with feta and spinach

A stuffed bell pepper gives you a serving of veggies right out of the gate first thing in the morning. You’ve got to love that!

  • Halve and core a large bell pepper. Arrange peppers, cut side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 425°F oven until slightly softened, (about 10 minutes).
  • Turn peppers cut side up. Sprinkle each pepper half with crumbled feta cheese and a few spinach leaves cut into thin ribbons, then crack one egg into each pepper half. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper.
  • Return peppers to oven and continue to bake until egg whites are just set and yolks are still runny, (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle eggs with green onions, thinly sliced. Serve and enjoy!

Good to know: Bell pepper flavour-boosters.

Get creative in the kitchen by pairing peppers with:

  • Basil, flat leaf parsley, cilantro, lemongrass;
  • Thyme, rosemary, fennel and Tobasco sauce;
  • Smoked paprika, mustard, curry, cumin.

3. SIMPLE DINNER: Trout sheet pan dinner with peppers.

This is a go-to weeknight dinner at my house, and for good reason: it tastes awesome and there is only one pan to wash! This recipe is easy to scale back too.

  • Place one can of lentils (rinsed), 1½ lbs green beans (ends trimmed), and two sweet red peppers seeded and thinly sliced on a large rimmed parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • In a bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. canola oil and 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard. Brush half of the mustard mixture all over the green beans, peppers and lentils. Toss to coat. Sprinkle ½ tsp. of salt and pepper over the vegetables and lentils. Arrange 2 lbs of trout fillets, skin side down, on top of the vegetables and lentils. Brush remaining mustard mixture over the fillets. Sprinkle ¼ tsp. each of salt and pepper over the fillets.
  • Roast vegetables and trout fillets in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle on two green onions, thinly sliced over fillets before serving.

Good to know:  Save money and curb your food waste by storing peppers right.

Green peppers tend to last the longest so use up the red, yellow and orange peppers first. Store in a plastic bag in the crisper of the fridge, and because water/moisture causes decay to set in quickly, do not wash until ready to use:

  • whole raw peppers keep for 1-2 weeks;
  • raw chopped 2-3 days and;
  • cooked 3-5 days.

About Carol Harrison

Carol Harrison is a registered dietitian who loves her daily workouts!

She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto.

Follow Carol on Twitter and Instagram: @greatmealideas