Recipe For Health
Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski adapted a recipe from
Featured Food: Red Peppers Yield: serves 3 as main dish, 6 as side dishLearn more about Red Peppers


  • 3 medium red bell peppers
  • 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 small bunch kale, de-stemmed and cut in ½” ribbons
  • (approximately 4 c. prepared)
  • 1 c. diced onion
  • 1 c. diced Roma tomato
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 c. cooked short-grain brown rice
  • 4 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
  • ¼ c. toasted walnuts, rough chopped


Preheat oven broiler on high. Cut peppers in half lengthwise through the stems, leaving the stems attached. Remove the seeds. Lightly brush pepper halves inside and out with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle salt and pepper on the insides of the pepper halves. Place cut-side down on baking tray. Broil until pepper skins are well- browned and blistered, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, place in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully peel skin and remove stem. Place pepper halves upright on baking tray or work surface.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add kale and toss until slightly wilted then remove from heat. Stir in rice, tomatoes and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the filling among the pepper halves.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Add ¼ cup water to a baking dish; set the stuffed peppers in. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, top with the cheese and bake for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Executive Chef for MSU Culinary Services, Kurt Kwiatkowski, adapted this recipe from The smoky flavor of Gouda cheese adds pizzazz and pairs well with the sweetness of tomatoes and peppers. 

Learn More About Red Peppers

Peppers and chiles are members of one big happy family with lots of variety. In general, chiles are the hot, spicy ones and peppers are the mild, sweet ones. On the Scoville scale that ranks chiles and peppers according to heat, bell peppers are at the very bottom. Unripe, bell peppers are green and rather bitter. As they are left on the bush, they begin to lose their green color. Fully ripe, bell peppers are completely red (or orange, yellow or purple depending on the cultivar) with thick, juicy walls and sweet, fruity flavor.

Red bell peppers begin to appear in farmers markets in August and continue until the first heavy frost, usually mid-October. They are more expensive than green bell peppers because they take more time to grow. Look for peppers with smooth, firm and shiny skin without soft spots and wrinkles. Store them whole and unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator; use within 3-4 days. 

The skin of peppers becomes thick as they mature. Roasting loosens the skin for easy peeling and develops a smoky flavor in the flesh.

1. Thinly slice off the ends of the pepper. Remove the green stem from the top. Pull the core out of the pepper.

2. Slit the pepper open and lay it flat. Use a sharp knife to remove the remaining white of the ribs.

3. With skin side up, arrange the prepared pepper pieces including the ends on a baking sheet. Flatten the pieces as much as possible by pressing with your hand.

4. Broil close to the burner until pepper skin is uniformly charred and flesh is still firm.

5. Place in a covered bowl or closed plastic bag for 15 minute. Now the fun part—pull the charred skin off in large strips. May rub gently with paper towel but never wash. Your peppers are ready to add a sweet, smoky element to any recipe.

by Peggy Crum, MA, RD

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