‘Fresh From Florida’ Bell peppers

Pam Griffin
Taco-Stuffed Florida Bell Peppers

All bell peppers come from the same vine — the green, the yellow and the red. A green bell pepper is picked before it’s fully ripe. Left on the vine, it becomes an orange or yellow pepper with a more fruity flavor. Then the pepper turns red and sweet.

Florida bell peppers, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, can be eaten raw, stuffed, roasted, stewed or pickled. Try these healthy “Fresh From Florida” recipes.

Taco-Stuffed Florida Bell Peppers

3 large Florida bell peppers (your favorite color), halved lengthwise, seeds removed

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 cup onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Florida tomatoes, diced

1 pkg. taco seasoning

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste 

12 oz. Colby jack cheese (or your favorite), shredded

1 cup tortilla chips, crushed

Salsa and sour cream for garnish

1 tsp. olive oil

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 375.

Add olive oil to preheated sauté pan. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and ground beef to the cooking onions.

Brown ground beef and drain any excess fat. Add the taco seasoning mix and diced tomatoes; stir ingredients to combine.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Add about 4 ounces of the cheese to the beef mixture and stir to combine.

Evenly stuff each pepper half with the beef mixture.

Top each stuffed pepper with the rest of the cheese.

Place stuffed peppers on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove stuffed peppers from oven and evenly top them with the crushed tortilla chips.

Place the peppers back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until tortilla chip topping is golden brown and filling mixture and cheese are bubbly.

Remove stuffed peppers from oven and let cool slightly.

Serve warm with salsa and sour cream. Serves 4 to 6.

Florida Flatbread with Tomato and Sweet Bell Peppers

2 medium or 1 large baked flatbread or pizza crust

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (or your favorite)

¼ cup fresh basil, hand torn

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

5 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 large Florida bell pepper (red, yellow, green or â…“ of all 3 colors), seeded and sliced thin

2 medium Florida tomatoes, sliced thin

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Spread olive oil and garlic evenly over the flatbread.

Evenly distribute three-fourths of the two cheeses over the flatbread.

Evenly distribute the bell pepper and tomato over the cheese.

Add remaining cheese to the top of the flatbread.

Season the flatbread lightly with salt and pepper.

Bake flatbread on a cookie sheet for 7 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove flatbread from oven and garnish with the hand torn basil.

Cut flatbread into several servings and serve.