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This week is Brain Awareness Week, and we wanted to share one of New Braunfels ER’s favorite Mind Diet recipes to celebrate. The Mind Diet is a series of guidelines for your family’s diet that promote brain health and help to prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s later in life. Incorporating some of these techniques into your meal prep can do wonders to improve your brain’s health.

This recipe, Shiitake Stuffed Peppers, is a delicious hearty dinner which features several Mind Diet favored ingredients in it. Shiitake mushrooms are a great substitute for fatty meats or sausage—when sautéed in red wine, they absorb extra antioxidants and become not just brain healthy, but heart healthy as well. Complex grains, like barley, are good for your body and give your brain lots of energy without the additional cholesterol and fat that comes with processed flour. Loading up on vegetables is another great source of brain health.

The Mind Diet advises against eating too much cheese, because it is so high in fat. But that’s why we recommend finding fat free or low-fat cheese to help you stuff your peppers. Or, to be especially brain healthy, substitute the cheese with a couple of egg yolks in the filling, and top your stuffed peppers with Panko bread crumbs.

If you like this great dinner recipe for the family, then we encourage you to share this post with all your friends and spread the Mind Diet health!

Shiitake Stuffed Peppers

Serves: 6


  • ¾ Cup dried barley, cooked with 1 ½ cup vegetable stock and ½ cup of water, per instructions on bag
  • 6 large red, orange or yellow peppers
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cup finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup low fat or non-fat mozzarella cheese for stuffing (or two egg yolks)
  • Panko bread crumbs for topping (can be substituted by sprinkling non-fat mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 375.

First, make the barley. Combine vegetable stock and water with rinsed barley and salt to taste, then bring it all to a boil. Cover and simmer until moist and fully cooked. (Follow cooking timing instructions on package, as cooking times can vary depending on what kinds of barley you might use.)

Next, sauté onions in skillet, with just enough olive oil to lightly cover bottom of pan, until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes or until soft and lightly cooked. Put onion and garlic mixture into large bowl and set aside.

In the same pan add just enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan, and sauté mushrooms until dry. Add your red wine and evaporate the wine until the mushrooms are slightly dry. Add this to your bowl with the onion and garlic mixture.

Add zucchini and ½ cup of mozzarella to the bowl with mushrooms and onions. Mix well.  Next, toss this mixture into the cooked barley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the green tops and the white interior piths. Lightly oil a baking dish prepared for the peppers. Stuff halved peppers with barley mixture until nicely rounded and very full. Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese or breadcrumbs. Heat oven to broil and cook until nicely browned. Serve with a light vinaigrette salad.

This blog post was written by Maggie Berardo, Content Writer at Nutex Health. Maggie has a passion for food writing, and is excited to share some of her recipes with our facility.

Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit New Braunfels Emergency Room or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.