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Red Pepper Pasta with Urfa Pepper Chili Flakes

How are urfa pepper chili flakes good for your gut?

Urfa Biber chile peppers are an elongated pod, which is similar in appearance to a slender bell pepper. Also known as Isot peppers, the peppers are named after Urfa, which is a town in southern Turkey. These peppers are a deep burgundy in color, with a salty and spicy flavor. They are made by drying the raw peppers out in the sun until they cook into that signature burgundy color. During the process, the oil content of the pepper is preserved.

Urfa Biber chile peppers have a mild to moderate level of spice when fresh, averaging 7,500 SHU, but as they are cured and dried, the heat can increase to 30,000-50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale (a scale developed to measure the spice and heat of peppers and other foods).

These peppers contain a plant compound called capsaicin, and when capsaicin enters your digestive tract and attaches to the receptor, it creates a chemical called anandamide. Anandamide has been correlated with less inflammation in the gut, especially inflammation associated with conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Research has also shown that capsaicin supplementation had a positive effect on gut microbiota.

Raw Urfa peppers contain micronutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K1, Potassium, Copper, and Vitamin A, and even fiber. In fact, 1 tsp of these flakes contain 1g of fiber! The Vitamin A present in these peppers is important for #Goodgut health, as Vitamin A deficiencies can lead to complications in gut microbes and cause various diseases. Vitamin A also has the greatest effect on the bacterial structure of the gut.

*Generally be cautious when adding too much spice to the diet, as it is known to exacerbate symptoms of GERD and cause GI upset for those that are sensitive*

Ways to eat it

Sprinkle it on vegetables, salads, soups and tofu, or just blend it with other spices!

Try sprinkling the pepper flakes on top of avocado toast for added flavor complexity!

Add the pepper flakes to curry or soup for a kick!

Recipe: Red Pepper Pasta with Urfa Pepper Chili Flakes

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):

  • 2 red bell peppers

  • 1/4 cup veggie broth (or as needed)

  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Himalayan pink salt and ground black pepper (to taste)

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot powder

  • 1 pinch urfa pepper chili flakes (if you are not sensitive to heat)

  • 12 ounces brown rice spaghetti noodles

  • 1/4 cup parsley and basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dried parsley and basil)


  1. Heat oven to 500°F and roast red peppers on a baking sheet until charred for about 25-30 minutes.

  2. Cover in an oven-safe pot or pan for 10 minutes to steam, then remove (peel away) charred skin, seeds, and stems. Set aside.

  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions: drain, toss, cover with a towel, and set aside.

  4. While the red peppers are roasting, bring a large skillet over medium heat and sauté onion, garlic, and vegetable broth for about 4-5 minutes until golden brown and soft.

  5. Season with a generous pinch of salt and Urfa pepper and stir.

  6. Remove from heat and set aside.

  7. Transfer sautéed shallot and garlic to a blender with roasted peppers, coconut milk, red pepper flake, nutritional yeast, and arrowroot starch. Season with the desired amount of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

  8. Blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper or nutritional yeast for flavor. The flavor should be robust and strong since the noodles do not have much flavor - so be generous with seasonings.

  9. Once blended, place sauce back in the skillet over medium heat to thicken. Once it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and continue simmering.

  10. Once the sauce is thickened to desired consistency, add noodles. Before tossing, add the dried or fresh herbs. Toss to coat.

  11. Serve with more nutritional yeast as a topping.

Heal with each meal!

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Gammon, S. (2017, May 30). Vitamin A deficiency has an outsize impact on gut microbes. Burnham Prebys.

Penn Medicine. (2019, April 1). Spice Up Your Life: The Health Benefits of Spicy Foods., R. (2018, March 7). 8 Signs and Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia). Healthline.

Sheldon, M. E. (2017, May 23). Everything You Need to Know About Urfa Biber, the Miracle

Spice You’re Missing Out On. Food & Wine.

Urfa Biber Chile Peppers. (n.d.). Specialty Produce.

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