Red pepper pick-me-up

    35 min

    Drinking fresh vegetable and fruit juices is one of the easiest ways to add vitamins and minerals to your diet. Vegetables are particularly versatile because they can be used both in sweet drinks and in savoury, even spicy, mixtures for sophisticated cocktails. Serve this bright example at any time of day for an instant lift.

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    Serves: 2 

    • 1 large red pepper
    • 200 ml (7 fl oz) tomato juice
    • 4 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
    • dash of Tabasco sauce
    • To serve
    • ice cubes
    • paprika
    • celery leaves to garnish (optional)

    Prep:35min  ›  Ready in:35min 

    1. Preheat the grill to the hottest setting. Grill the pepper for about 10 minutes, turning often, until the skin is charred on all sides. Place the pepper in a polythene bag and leave to stand for 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle.
    2. Peel off the skin, then cut the pepper in half and discard the seeds, the white ribs of pith and the stalk. Cut the flesh into chunks.
    3. Put the pepper, tomato juice and celery in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. For a very smooth result, press the drink through a sieve. Stir in the Tabasco.
    4. Pour the drink into 2 large glasses and add a few ice cubes. Sprinkle the top of each with a pinch of paprika and garnish with celery leaves, if you wish. Serve immediately.

    Some more ideas

    For a fruity beetroot and celery drink, coarsely grate 1 raw beetroot and slice 2 celery sticks, then blend these with the grated zest and juice of 1 orange and 150 ml (5 fl oz) apple juice. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon and serve in glasses over ice cubes. * For a carrot, ginger and orange pick-me-up, coarsely chop 2 dessert apples, cored, and 2 oranges, peeled, discarding the pips from the oranges, then purée with ½ tsp grated fresh root ginger and 500 ml (17 fl oz) carrot juice.

    Plus points

    The vitamin content of this drink easily justifies its title as a pick-me-up. Red peppers are an excellent source of both beta-carotene (which is an antioxidant in its own right and which the body converts into vitamin A) and vitamin C. The tomato juice also provides vitamin C. * Celery provides potassium. In addition, it is a natural diuretic, helping to reduce fluid and salt retention, and is therefore an aid in treating high blood pressure.

    Each serving provides

    A, C * E * B6, folate, niacin, potassium

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