Warm Up With My Favorite Fall Recipe

Denise Austin by Denise Austin | October 11, 2020 | Nutrition

I can’t believe the holidays are coming up soon! I love everything about this time of the year—especially spending time with family and indulging in some good home-cooked comfort food.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Comfort food doesn’t have to be bad for you. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite seasonal recipes with you all. It is under 500 calories per serving, so you get to enjoy all of the fall flavors without any guilt. And if you like this recipe start your free trial of DeniseAustin.com for access to my customizable Meal Planner! YOU get to choose vegetarian, gluten-free, low-sodium and more… including your calorie level. Then you get breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snack recipes for each day – it’s simple, delicious and easy to make!

Italian Stuffed Peppers with Sautéed Spinach – Comfort Food

Filled with hearty grains, yummy cheeses, healthy greens, and fresh seasonings, this vegetarian stuffed pepper is one of my family’s favorite meals. I hope it becomes one of yours, too!



2 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers

3/8 tsp. black pepper, divided

3/8 tsp. salt, divided

4 tsp. olive oil, divided

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large tomato, diced

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa)

2 Tbsp. grated romano (or parmesan) cheese

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

4 to 6 cups loosely packed spinach

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced


Prep and Cook

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise (through the stem) and carefully scoop out the seeds and inner membranes to form 4 pepper “cups”.
  3. Spray the pepper halves with oil spray on both sides. Sprinkle the insides with 1/8 tsp. black pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt. Arrange the peppers cut side down and bake for 20 minutes, or until peppers are soft and just starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the rice, romano cheese, and basil to the saucepan and mix well.
  7. Turn the peppers halves over. Divide the rice mixture evenly between the 4 pepper halves. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the 4 peppers.
  8. Bake in 400°F oven for 10 minutes, or until warm and cheese is melted.
  9. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. black pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.
  10. Serve 2 pepper halves on each plate with half the spinach.


So many more healthy and delicious recipes like these are available for my DeniseAustin.com Members! Start your free trial today and enjoy a tasty and HEALTHY fall!

Let’s get fitter, together – inside and out,


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