Adding a touch (or a heap) of spice to food is a great way to keep warm over the winter months and add an extra depth to recipes. Black pepper and chilli pepper are my favourite additions and have a range of health benefits too.
Black pepper contains piperine which can act as an anti inflammatory, improve digestion and boost nutrient absorption.
Chilli pepper contains the active ingredient capsaicin, which is linked with weight loss. This may be due to its ability to boost metabolism (so you burn more calories) or by stimulating more of the anti hunger hormone leptin after eating it. Scientists are still figuring this one out.
Why not try these quick and healthy vegan recipes to get a kick out of your food? International Spicy Food Day is on Tuesday 16th January. Make it a hot celebration!
- 2 tsp olive/sunflower/coconut oil
- 1 large onion
- 150g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 400g tinned cooked black/green/puy lentils
- 410g tinned red kidney beans
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1-2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 150ml reduced salt vegetable stock (or bouillon powder)
- 300g brown rice
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Lightly fry until golden.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, spices, red pepper, mushrooms, kidney beans, lentils and stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Season with extra black pepper, more chilli pepper and a little Himalayan pink salt or sea salt and if needed.
- Meanwhile cook the rice according to pack instructions. For fragrant rice, add 1 cinnamon stick, 4 whole pepper corns, 4 whole cloves, 2 crushed green cardamom pods and a bayleaf to the water at the beginning. Remove once the rice is cooked.
Raw Chocolate Chilli Brownies
- 1 cup of walnuts
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- Pinch of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a sticky dough. It may take 3-4 minutes for the ingredients to bind. Add a splash of water or maple syrup if more moisture is required.
- Shape the dough into balls or place the mixture in a tray, pat down firmly and slice into bars.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes and store in an airtight container. They will last for 7 days. Suitable for freezing too!
I’ll be doing two Raw Chocolate Workshops over the next few months. Check events for more info! We will be back at Rode Hall Farmers Market on Saturday 3rd February too with Raw Chocolate goodies and other healthy, raw treats.