When it comes to low-carb substitutes for foods like bread and flour tortillas, there’s one stand-out vegetable that outperforms all the others, especially on TikTok: the bell pepper.
Just ask Yunma Jawad, founder of FeelGoodFoodie, who creates recipes to match the dietary preferences of all of her followers.
In the recipes she creates for low-carb lifestyles, Jawad often turns to bell peppers as a substitute for everything from bread to pizza dough.
“Stuffed bell peppers, no matter the filling, are such a quick and easy weeknight meal,” said Jawad, who shared her taco-stuffed peppers recipe with TODAY Food. “I love that this recipe is low-carb, and by stuffing the bell peppers, you’re adding more vegetables to your meal. It’s not about removing something but adding something else.”
Jawad says her favorite part of the recipe is that the peppers have all the taco flavor without the extra carbs.
But Jawad’s pepper recipes aren’t always created with cooked peppers. A video on her TikTok account shows how to make tuna salad-stuffed raw bell peppers, too.
Popular TikToker Janelle Rohner is an avid follower of the keto lifestyle, sharing videos and recipes about everything from “chaffles” to low-carb “fried” pickles on the app.
“Living a low-carb lifestyle is not about cutting out carbs — it’s about embracing vegetables and incorporating more of them into your diet to replace where you would eat a carb,” Rohner told TODAY. “It’s not about restriction, it’s about being creative and having fun with food.”
Bell peppers are one of Rohner’s favorite ways to “embrace vegetables” and cut out carbs, as evidenced by her countless signature videos crunching into the raw vegetable.
“I make bell pepper sandwiches, bell pepper boats, roasted stuffed bell peppers, bell pepper nachos and bell pepper chip dippers,” said Rohner. “They’re crunchy and filling and I use them as a bread substitute or make them warm like stuffed bell pepper ‘enchiladas.'”
“Depending on what I’m craving I just play around and think, ‘How can I make this low-carb and low-calorie?'” she continued.
For our Taco Tuesday this week, I tried Jawad’s surprisingly simple taco-stuffed peppers recipe.
After pre-baking the green bell pepper halves and browning and seasoning ground beef, there was little else to do other than stuff the taco meat into the peppers and top them with cheese.
A few minutes later, it was time to eat. The peppers were delicious, and not something I’d ever have thought to try. I try to eat low-carb when I can, but my kids, of course, love taco shells and tortillas. This recipe would be a snap to make both ways, stuffing a pepper or two for myself and serving everyone else standard tacos.
Thankfully Jawad designed her recipe with parents like me in mind.
“Many of our readers are busy moms who rush to get dinner on the table, but also want to be mindful of choosing lighter and healthier ingredients whenever possible,” she explained.
Still, Jawad says not to be afraid to serve your kids the pepper version: “Bell peppers are fun to serve kids,” she said. “It can make mealtime more exciting and interactive.”
Rohner says her children have also joined Team Bell Pepper.
“The bell pepper is an extremely versatile vegetable and an absolute staple for me,” she said. “Even my daughters love them, and they also eat bell peppers like apples.”
Here are some of our favorite stuffed bell pepper recipes:
LUCY SCHAEFFER PHOTOGRAPHY / Joy Bauer
Ghazalle Badiozamani / Brittany Williams
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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