Freekeh and Minced Stuffed Capsicum

The Goodness of Grains

Planning on starting a family? Then it’s time to boost your whole grain intake.   

The Goodness of Grains

Forget keto and low carb diets, when it comes to fertility, research consistently shows us that eating wholegrains regularly improves your chances of pregnancy.

Fertility and Pre-natal Dietician, Wendy Fedele, says that many couples she sees have cut grains from their diet under the false notion that they’re bad for us. She would like to change this notion, explaining, “while it’s true that we all want to be limiting refined grained products with a high glycaemic index (think white bread/ pastries/ cakes/ highly processed breakfast cereals etc.), whole grains have so many benefits. They provide sustained energy, are a great source of dietary fibre to promote gut health and contain many fertility-supporting nutrients such as folate and other B vitamins: iron, choline, magnesium.”

One study even found that women with the highest intake of whole grains also had the highest implantation and clinical pregnancy rates, which appeared to be associated with a thicker uterine lining.

Some examples of whole grains are oats, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, bulgar, buckwheat, freekeh, barley, millet, sorghum, whole rye; as well as products made from whole grains such as bread, crackers, and wholemeal pasta.

To boost your whole grain intake, try these tips:

  • Swap white bread for wholegrain bread
  • Swap refined wheat and rice crackers for wholegrain crispbreads/grainy crackers
  • Use whole grains like quinoa, barley, freekeh, brown, or wild rice as a side to your meal (and in place of refined grains like short-grain white rice)
  • Replace highly processed breakfast cereals with whole oats, natural muesli, and other wholegrain cereals
  • Alternate regular pasta with wholegrain pasta
  • Try my Freekeh and mince stuffed capsicums recipe!

Freekeh and Minced Stuffed Capsicum

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion – finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 500g lean beef mince (chicken mince or lentil work well too for a plant-based option)
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium stock
  • 2 cups of pureed tomato
  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon of chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of freekeh (or whole grain of choice such as quinoa, farrow, long-grain rice)
  • 8 red capsicums (choose big, well-formed ones with a large enough hollow centre for stuffing)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Side-salad for serving

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees if fan-forced)
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent.
  3. Now add the mince, breaking it up as you go, and cook until lightly browned
  4. Add your stock and cook until liquid evaporates
  5. Add the pureed tomato, dried herbs/spices then reduce the heat to low and simmer for ~45 minutes
  6. Add the freekeh and parsley and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes
  7. While this is cooking, wash your capsicums, slice off the tops (and keep them aside) and gently remove the seeds so they are ready for stuffing
  8. Fill your capsicums with the rice and grain mixture and then replace the capsicum tops/lids and place each capsicum side by side in a large baking dish (pack closely together so they don’t fall over during cooking.
  9. Pour hot water into the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until capsicums are soft and freekeh/grain is cooked.
  10. Serve with a leafy side salad and enjoy!

Using pre-cooked freekeh/ wholegrain will reduce the oven time! A great option if you have some leftover cooked grains from a previous meal.

This recipe makes 8 stuffed capsicums so plenty of leftovers for lunch!