Growing up I often wondered what sort of peppers Peter Piper picked. As a child in Louisiana who had her fair share of hot pepper burns, I decided Peter would have been crazy to pick anything other than bell peppers! Here’s why:
- They’re colorful, packed with good nutrition, and add great taste and charm to a dish or a meal.
- They make great dippers for favorite dips.
- They can be eaten cooked, raw or pickled.
- They burst with crunch and sassy flavor from the very first bite.
- They won’t burn your tongue like chili peppers!
Baby bell peppers start out green. As they grow, their colors change. For harvesting, they can be picked green or the farmers can let them continue to mature to yellow, orange, red or a variety of other colors. While you can use any color of bell peppers in your recipes, remember that their flavors range from slightly bitter and pungent for green peppers to mildly sweet for red peppers, so choose accordingly. Here’s how to love bell peppers:
- Add to soups, stews, casseroles, or hot cooked grain dishes.
- Use in stir-fries. Try Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers, Carrots and Snow Peas or Pork Stir-Fry with Asparagus, Peppers and Green Onions.
- Chop and add to leafy green, vegetable or grain salads like Forbidden Rice Salad with Bell Peppers.
- Cut into quarters, remove the seeds and stuff with dips or spreads. My favorite: yellow bell peppers stuffed with hummus, drizzled with olive oil and then sprinkled with feta cheese.
- Slice and use as dippers for bean dips, dairy dips, non-dairy dips and favorite salsas. Enjoy this Cajun Bean Dip with Red Bell Peppers.
- Cut off the top, remove the seeds and stuff with vegetables, grains, cooked pasta, meats, tofu, tempeh, etc. Bake and serve. Try these stuffed pepper recipes:
- Marinate large chunks in your favorite vinaigrette; grill outdoors or indoors. You will love this Pearl Couscous Salad with Merguez and Grilled Bell Peppers.
- Roast in a hot oven, or buy them roasted. Use in salads, appetizers and main dishes. Roasting deepens the flavors. Try with olives, cheese, garlic or roasted nuts. Here’s a recipe for Roasted Red Peppers, but you can roast any color pepper you choose. Here’s a slew of roasted-pepper recipes:
- Chop and add to potato, chicken, tuna or egg salad.
- Slice and add to sandwiches. Some ideas:
- Turkey, yellow pepper and avocado
- Sharp white cheese, red pepper and honey mustard
- Marinated tofu, hummus and orange peppers
How do you enjoy bell peppers? Got a favorite recipe? Let me know.