If your summer body was postponed, Fall might be the perfect time to achieve it by trying out the Keto diet. Late is better than never, and with all the Keto success stories out there, I thought I’d share my favorite Italian Stuffed Peppers recipe which happens to be Keto-friendly, healthy, and delicious.
I’m personally thrilled that Fall is back, and this is one of my favorite Fall recipes. As much as we have a hard time letting summer out of our sights, there’s something about the feeling of the crisp Autumn breeze, the light dusting of a scarf around our necks, and of course the immediate excuse to finally just STAY INSIDE without the guilt! Did those summer months of socializing past sunset, backyard barbecues and boats with too much booze lead to easy excuses of skipping the gym when you were hung over? Some people find Fall an easier time of year to stick to a better diet, since less outings result in less accidental indulgences. Most people, however, tend to eat heavier comfort foods when they’re “hibernating”.
The tricky thing about seasonal transitions, especially warmer weather to cooler weather, is that our bodies naturally want to go into hibernation mode. While that may be great for our bank accounts, it can take a physical toll if hibernating means “chill and eat carbs” for you. Scientific studies have proven that humans have a natural inclination to bulk up for the winter, just like most animals do. So that means we naturally crave heavier, more comforting, more carb-loaded foods in the colder months. Carbs give us a temporary serotonin boost that we otherwise would have gotten just from the sunshine. Carbs make you sluggish, though, and the low-carb Keto diet is known for its energy-increasing effects just as much as it’s known for its weight loss effects.
Just because you no longer have to sport that itty-bitty bikini doesn’t mean you should let yourself go. Studies show that Fall is the season during which you’re most likely to find a mate. We naturally want to find someone to mate with when the temperatures drop, the days get shorter, and there are less social distractions. I personally haven’t been able to feel my toes since September 1st because it’s so cold on this beautiful island I live on, and I’ve already started sporting Uggs around the house as a caution against potential frostbite. I basically use relationships as a means to have someone to test recipes on and keep my feet warm. (Just an FYI for any potential suitors out there.) I’ve also noticed that men actually think about undressing you more in the colder months. The more layers you’re wearing on a date, the more they’re wondering what’s underneath. Speaking of what’s underneath your oversized sweater, let’s work on that. You can only hide behind a baggy sweater if your plan is to keep it on during sex – otherwise he will see what’s under those layers. That being said, you should definitely think about trying my healthy Keto Stuffed Peppers recipe.
This is a recipe that will convince you to stay healthy when you hibernate. This recipe has the comforting flavors, familiar fragrances and just enough hot melted cheese to trick your brain into thinking its indulging. Traditional stuffed pepper recipes often use rice as a starch to bulk up the stuffing, but cauliflower rice does the trick as well. I love this recipe because it’s cold-weather comfort food, but still healthy and allowed on the Keto diet:
Keto-Friendly Italian Stuffed Peppers
(makes 4 peppers)
You will need:
- 1 large cast iron/baking dish that’s large enough to hold all the peppers standing up (ask the sales associate for an 8×8 inch cake pan)
- Food processor/box grater (the one you use to grate the cheese for your Sunday football nachos)
- 1 pound of Organic Lean Ground Beer
- ½ head of Organic cauliflower
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 2 cloves of garlic onion (diced)
- 4 cups of organic marinara sauce **see below**
- 1 cup of shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- 4 bell peppers; I chose red and orange for a sweeter flavour but lean to green if you want something zesty and crispier
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper (not the band, although turn them on and eating healthy will immediately be more fun)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You want to create a serving dish from your peppers for the filling, so cut a thin slice off the top of the pepper so it can stand on its own. Once the water is boiling place the peppers in, leaving the lid off and let those babies roll for about 5 minutes to soften them up a touch.
- Remove all the leaves from the cauliflower, rinse and cut into smaller pieces. Let the food processor rip and you’re making cauliflower “rice”! Bet you didn’t see a recipe within a recipe coming did ya?! If you haven’t got a food processor, don’t fret, all you need to do is grate the cauliflower down into a high sided bowl into pieces the size of rice. Try using the large grate side for this.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, toss in your diced onion and move it around ever so slightly in the pan until it becomes translucent. Add your garlic and mix those two together. Once you’ve got the garlic scent taking over the kitchen (about 1 minute) add your ground beef. Fry the three of these guys up until you have very little pink left in the beef. Don’t forget to take those peppers out of the hot tub!
- Once the beef is browned, add 2 cups of the tomato sauce. Stir and let them simmer for a little bit to pick up flavours. Add in your cauliflower rice! Turn down to low and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes.
- Spoon 1 cup of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Fill the peppers up to the brim with your stuffing. Stand so they lean on eachother for support to stay upright. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the remaining sauce on top. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- After 35 minutes, remove foil, sprinkle on your cheese and cook for the remaining 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
**Test Kitchen Note: For the tomato sauce, don’t overthink it. If you make your own, you know what to do. If you don’t, I love Simply Natural Organic Tomato Sauce and Classic Organic Sweet Tomato Basil Marinara. (I’ll use one of these store-bought sauces when I’m in a pinch, or feeling lazy.) You should find something with no preservatives, or natural preservatives. Here is some clarification on what natural preservatives are.