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March Veggie of the Month: Bell Peppers

As March unfolds and the promise of spring beckons, our attention turns to a colorful, crunchy and nutritious vegetable – the bell pepper. These versatile gems come in an array of hues, each offering a unique flavor profile and a variety of health benefits.

Bell peppers are also known as sweet peppers and come in a spectrum of colors – green, yellow, orange and red. Each shade not only contributes to their visual appeal but also signifies distinct stages of ripeness and varied nutritional benefits.

Bell Peppers: Excellent Sources of Antioxidants & Vitamin C

  • Antioxidants: The vibrant colors of bell peppers signify the presence of powerful antioxidants, which play a crucial role in protecting cells from damage.
  • Vitamin C: Bell peppers contribute to a robust immune system, helping your body fend off illnesses.
  • Fiber & Potassium: Bell peppers support heart health by regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Did You Know?

  • Did you know that all bell peppers start green and then change color as they ripen? The hues transition from green to yellow, orange and finally red, each stage offering different flavors and nutritional benefits.
  • Bell peppers are sweet and entirely free of capsaicin – a naturally produced chemical that makes hot peppers like chilis and jalapeños spicy. This makes them a perfect choice for those who want to enjoy the flavor without the heat.
  • Bell peppers have a rich history, with evidence suggesting their cultivation started around 7,500 BC in South and Central America. 

Eating the Rainbow: Nutrient & Flavor Differences

Green Bell Peppers

Packed with vitamin C, green bell peppers are excellent for immune support and contain a range of antioxidants.

  • Flavor Profile: Crisp and slightly bitter

Red Bell Peppers

The highest in vitamin C and a great source of beta-carotene, promoting healthy skin and vision.

  • Flavor Profile: Sweet and fully ripe

Yellow Bell Peppers

Rich in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, contributing to overall immune health.

  • Flavor Profile: Mildly sweet and tangy

Orange Bell Peppers

Packed with antioxidants and a good source of fiber, supporting digestive health.

  • Flavor Profile: Sweet and vibrant

Shopping for Bell Peppers

Choosing the best bell peppers at the supermarket involves considering various factors to ensure you pick ones that are fresh, flavorful and free from defects.

  • Color and Shine: Select bell peppers with vibrant colors and a glossy shine. The skin should be smooth and free from wrinkles or dullness. Color should be consistent across the entire pepper.
  • Firmness: Opt for peppers that feel firm and have a solid weight. Avoid those that are soft, wrinkled or have soft spots, as these may indicate spoilage.
  • Size Matters: Bell peppers come in various sizes, and the best one for you depends on your preference and recipe requirements. Choose peppers that suit your intended use, whether it’s for stuffing, slicing or snacking.

Storing Bell Peppers

Storing bell peppers properly at home can help maintain their freshness and flavor. Here are some tips for optimal storage:

  • Refrigeration: Store bell peppers in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. Place them in the vegetable crisper drawer, preferably in a perforated plastic bag.
  • Avoid Moisture: Moisture can lead to mold and spoilage. Ensure that the peppers are dry before placing them in the refrigerator. Excess moisture can also cause a loss of crispness.
  • Use Within a Week: Bell peppers have a limited shelf life, so use them within a week of purchase for optimal freshness. They may lose their crisp texture if stored for too long.

Enjoying Bell Peppers in Meals and Snacks

Bell peppers are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. Enjoy them raw in salads, sautéed in stir-fries, stuffed and baked, or roasted for a smoky flavor. Their ability to adapt to various cooking methods makes them a culinary chameleon.

  • Raw and Crunchy: Slice them up and enjoy as a refreshing snack with hummus or a zesty dip.
  • Colorful Salads: Add a rainbow of bell peppers to your salads for both flavor and visual appeal.
  • Stir-Fries and Fajitas: Sauté bell peppers with other veggies and protein for quick and delicious stir-fry or fajitas.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Create a wholesome meal by stuffing bell peppers with a mix of grains, protein and flavorful spices.
  • Roasted Delights: Roast bell peppers for a smoky flavor and use them in sandwiches, sauces or pasta dishes.

Recipe: Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa & Black Beans


  • 4 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. If needed, slice a small portion from the bottom to help them stand upright.
  4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add corn, black beans and cherry tomatoes. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, sautéed vegetables, ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  6. Stuff each bell pepper with the quinoa and vegetable mixture, pressing down gently to pack the filling. Top each stuffed pepper with shredded cheddar cheese.
  7. Place the stuffed bell peppers in a baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted and golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired. Serve warm and enjoy your flavorful, nutritious stuffed bell peppers!