As a snack or a side, this healthful dish combines smoky, salty, savory and sweet flavors.
Hugging the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains north of Malibu, California, the award-winning Four Seasons Westlake Village enjoys a well-justified reputation for its glorious spa and deluxe accommodations. But steps away from the pampering there’s a more serious side to the hotel: the adjoining California Health & Longevity Institute, whose team of expert physicians, dieticians and lifestyle consultants offer everything from sleep studies to fitness assessments to life-balance programs.
Not surprisingly, with smart food choices increasingly linked to extended lifespans, nutrition counseling is a cornerstone of the CHLI’s services. In the facility’s newly refurbished Wellness Kitchen, resident director of nutrition Paulette Lambert, R.D., C.D.E, hosts informal-yet-educational cooking classes and events such as Farm-to-Fork Fridays.
Lambert recently authored the book The Wellness Kitchen: Fresh, Flavorful Recipes for a Healthier You (Adams Media, 2015), packed with more than 100 healthful recipes, including breakfasts, entrées, desserts and snacks such as these feta-stuffed peppers. The vibrant veggies are loaded with vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber, and because the cheese is dense in flavor, just a tiny amount is enough to impart a tangy high.
“The blend of smoky, salty, savory and sweet flavors stimulates the taste buds, making them a perfectly satisfying snack or side dish,” enthuses Lambert. The suggested serving is two peppers per person, but the chef recommends making extra if you’re feeding a group. “They fly off the platter in seconds!” she says.
In the book, Lambert provides plenty of time-saving and food-prepping tips and, for anyone hoping to broaden their culinary repertoire, the following advice: “Knowledge is power, but the power of practice is much more important. Practice recipes until you find them easy and then move on to others.”
Fire-roasted Peppers Stuffed with Feta
12 red, yellow and orange mini sweet peppers
1/2 cup part-skim feta cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat grill to medium. Using a paring knife, cut tops off peppers and remove seeds and ribs. Stuff each pepper with a rounded tablespoon of feta. In a bowl, whisk oil into balsamic vinegar. Lightly season mixture with salt and pepper. With a pastry brush, brush over peppers. Grill until golden and cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.