Red is the color of the month and what better way to celebrate its health benefits but by combining two fine examples – red bell peppers and tomatoes! Red fruits and vegetables provide lycopene, an important eye nutrient and both are great sources of Vitamin C, which may help in preventing AMD and related vision loss. This wonderful, juicy side dish is a perfect accompaniment for various meats or could stand alone as a vegetarian entree.
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 2 cups petite cherry or grape tomatoes (3-4 medium tomatoes, 1/2-inch diced)
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives (about 15)
- 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and ribs and leaving the stem. (The stem is not edible but helps the pepper maintain its shape and looks good in this dish.) Place the peppers cut side up in the baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, olives, cheese, basil, and olive oil, and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Gently mix. Fill each pepper half with the mixture, dividing it evenly among the peppers. Cover the dish loosely with foil.
Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for about 15 minutes more. The cheese will have begun to turn light brown and the peppers will be tender. These can be served hot or at room temperature.
Recipe NotesSubstitute goat cheese for the feta (could be an herbed one); change out the basil with fresh dill or oregano or a combination; could add some diced onion (2-3 tablespoons) or some sundried tomato slivers; can eliminate the olives; make it Mexican flavored by substituting cilantro for the basil, omitting the olives, adding some diced jalapenos and red onion and substituting queso fresca for the feta.