In addition to being a fun way to jazz up all types of dishes, did you know that adding some heat to your meal actually has some pretty impressive health benefits?
Cayenne pepper has been shown to help speed up your metabolism, rid the body of LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, and normalize blood pressure. A 2006 study even found that capsaicin, the main ingredient in cayenne pepper, can destroy prostate cancer cells, at least in lab tests.
Fresh chiles and other peppers are also a great source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, several important B vitamins, and minerals like potassium, iron, and copper.
Not a huge fan of BYFO (burn your face off) heat? Don’t worry! Even small doses of fresh and dried peppers can impart some impressive health benefits, while adding amazing flavor to your favorite dishes.
You know what they say…some like it hot! And if you’re one of them, this roundup of recipes is sure to please your palate. From spreads and tacos to burgers and chili, we’ve put together a delicious collection of spicy dishes.
Recipe by Laura Wright: Blogger, The First Mess
- 3 medium-large red peppers
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted
- ½ cup hulled hemp seeds
- 2/3 cup cracker/bread crumbs (I pulsed some flax crackers in the food processor)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 2 tbsp oil (I used hemp, but extra virgin olive oil would be yummy)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the peppers: set your oven to the broil function. Place the whole peppers, stems and all, on a parchment lined baking sheet under the broiler. Once the skins start turning black, rotate them so that the non-blackened sides are facing up. Once all of the peppers are charred (about 15 minutes), remove from the oven.
- Place peppers in a bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap, forming a tight seal. Allow peppers to steam in the bowl for about 10 minutes. This makes the skin easier to peel off.
- Place toasted walnuts, hemp seeds, cracker crumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, lemon juice, sriracha, agave nectar and oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple times just to break up the nuts and garlic clove.
- Peel the peppers: when they’re cool enough to handle, start peeling the skins off of the peppers. They should come off pretty easily, but if you’re having trouble use the back of a knife to scrape the skin off. Remove the stems and as many seeds as you can.
- Add peeled peppers to the nut and seed mixture in the food processor. Flip it to high until the mixture starts to form a smooth paste. Scrape down the sides once or twice with a spatula. Add the 2 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Pulse a few times to combine. Serve with flatbreads, veggie sticks, crackers, on sandwiches, whatever you like.
- Spicy Zucchini and Tomato Tacos
- Spicy Curry (Cauliflower) Rice with Kale
- Spicy Lentil Salad
- Cajun Burgers
- Spicy Cauliflower Potato Burger
- Corn Fritters With Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce
- Peanut Butter Spicy Noodles
- Chipotle Chocolate Chili
- Tempeh Do Pyaaza (Tempeh in Spicy Onion Curry)
- Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus
- Spicy Sweet Potato Salad
Got a hot recipe you’d love to share? Send it in!