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Recipes

TriathlEats: Bison-Stuffed Peppers

Lean protein and aromatic veggies make for a healthy twist on comfort-food flavors.

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Lean protein and aromatic veggies make for a healthy twist on comfort-food flavors.

Ingredients

6 medium to large bell peppers
1.5 cups ground cooked bison*
1/3 cup cooked quinoa
1/3 cup cooked jasmine rice
1 small onion, diced
1 small fresh fennel bulb, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 small piece of celeriac
(celery root), diced
3 T garlic, minced
Pinch red chili pepper flakes
1 tsp, each, dried basil and dried oregano
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/3 cup grated cheese (any favorite cheese)
½ cup low-sodium beef or chicken stock/broth
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 can tomato sauce
*Can substitute ground organic turkey or grass-fed beef.

Directions

Remove tops of bell peppers and discard inner seeds. In a heavy-bottom skillet, brown bison, drain and set aside in a mixing bowl. To the skillet, add olive oil, onion, fennel, carrot, celeriac and spices (garlic, chili pepper flakes, basil, oregano, parsley) and cook until vegetables are soft. Add the vegetable mixture to the bison in the mixing bowl. Add rice, quinoa, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, broth, salt, pepper and lemon zest (the secret to the dish!) to bowl, and mix to combine. Divide and stuff bison mixture evenly among the six peppers. Place stuffed peppers standing up in oven-safe casserole dish. Pour tomato sauce over peppers to cover. Place peppers in a pre-heated 350-degree oven, and bake for 30–35 minutes.

Notes From The Athlete

Chef Shawn Wellersdick loves eating this dish as a refueling meal (or a flavorful reward!) after a big workout—it’s a great combo of lean proteins, healthy fats and carbs. Plus, it makes tasty leftovers—it’s still delicious after reheating.

RELATED: Buffalo Burgers With Wild Mushrooms Recipe

Meet The Triathlete-Chef

Chef Shawn Wellersdick has been cooking for more than 20 years, finding success with numerous accolades and awards while owning Port Land Grille (now in its 15th year) in coastal Wilmington, N.C., with his wife, Anne. But his lifestyle changed drastically several years ago when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. “Between the years of long hours, late-night eating, excessive drinking and the stress of my mother’s cancer and passing, my health and weight got out of control,” he says. He typically worked 70-hour weeks and peaked at a weight of 232 pounds. In December 2010, Wellersdick bought his son (who’d also gained weight during the time) and himself gym memberships, and cleared the house of unhealthy food. He also transitioned from an everyday line chef position to a managing chef role so that he could free up more time to train (starting with running, and now triathlon) and eat healthier meals with his family.

As a result of the lifestyle shift, Wellersdick lost 60 pounds and finished an Ironman. Unfortunately, his training took a detour this year—he was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer in January. After surgery, chemo and radiation therapy, he started running and walking in June. “It’s slow going, but I am a very determined person,” he says. He was able to defer his 2015 Ironman and 70.3 registrations to 2016—“I will do them!” he says

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