It’s now easier than ever to become involved in protecting the environment, and making a few small changes to your daily routine can result in a big difference to your carbon footprint. Combining this with healthy eating makes it all the more appealing. Current statistics show that the amount of waste sent to landfill in metropolitan Adelaide has increased by around 30% in the last five years. Landfills are overflowing with mostly plastic items, with each of us contributing a whopping 570kg per year. Fortunately, these days there are simple ways to reduce food packaging, and ironically, the best place to start is the plastic containers in your cupboard.
What better way to reduce lunchbox packaging than to eat the container your food comes in! With stuffed capsicum you can do just that. No plastic wrap – just pop it in a microwaveable container and you’re good to go. It’s hard to believe there would be leftovers, but just in case, you could use any leftover roasted capsicums to create a hearty capsicum and tomato soup. Just blend the capsicums with tinned tomatoes, some stock and seasoning, and you’ll have created a quick and easy winter dish!
As an added bonus, these edible packages are a great source of vitamins, with one medium capsicum providing 100% of your daily vitamin A and C requirements. These vitamins help to maintain healthy skin, improve the immune system and protect eye health.
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
- 4 capsicums, washed
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 cup zucchini and carrots, diced
- 50g of cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups long-grain rice/quinoa, cooked
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper
2. Cut capsicums in half lengthways. Remove and discard core and seeds
3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat
4. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add zucchini and carrot. Cook for 5-10 minutes
5. Add tomatoes, rice or quinoa, parsley, cheeses, and curry powder. Mix well
6. Spoon rice mixture into capsicums. Place onto prepared tray
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve with a salad
Other tips to reduce packaging in your lunchbox
- Swap to a reusable drink bottle and fill it with tap water
- Reuse your lunchbox or backpack – A Bento box is a traditional Japanese compartmental lunchbox that is commonly sold with sushi or Japanese cuisine. Simply recycle it, and use it as a lunchbox to conveniently separate your fruit, veg, and sandwich (as shown below)
- Take a whole piece of fruit (oranges, mandarins, and bananas have their own natural and environmentally friendly wrapping)
- Buy or reuse plastic cutlery
- Leftover dinner can make a great lunch, and often tastes better the next day, just remember to put it in a reusable container!
- Try capsicum, zucchini, or lettuce leaves as edible containers with savoury fillings as a lunch snack
Picture sourced with permission from 1=2 website