What to do with lots of bananas and bell peppers?
December 3, 2009 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Every week, a group I work with comes into possession of very large amounts of bell peppers (let's say 50-70) and bananas (100-150). What can we make with these on a weekly basis? Extra points for recipes involving other ingredients which are very cheap.

We get these for free so we want to minimize extra costs while using them to the best of our ability. We get them pretty much year round so there's no point in making preserves.
posted by beerbajay to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Making vegetable chili might be a good way to use the bell peppers and the other ingredients are fairly cheap: beans, tomatoes, spices, ground beef.
posted by cranberrymonger at 9:29 AM on December 3, 2009

Bananas freeze really, really well and would make a great donation to a local inner city preschool or daycare to offer as snacks to the children.
posted by banannafish at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2009

Do they have to be put into recipes? Sliced green peppers are sweet, crunchy, and satisfying to eat, and bananas are a sweet treat on their own.
posted by headnsouth at 9:34 AM on December 3, 2009

I've heard that if you chop and freeze bananas, then put them in a food processor, you get a wonderful rich ice-cream-like food. I haven't successfully tried it because it sounded so good that I didn't wait long enough for them to freeze.
posted by fritley at 9:37 AM on December 3, 2009

You could make pepper jam or pepper relish. it helps to have some red bell papers for these, because they are sweeter and add color. But you can do them with green bell peppers only, if that's what you have. Also, a few jalapenos thrown in can be fun.
posted by cabingirl at 9:39 AM on December 3, 2009

Stuffed peppers, stuff them with any combination of a grain, a legume, and other veggies for a nice balanced meal-in-one. Experiment!

Banana pudding for dessert.
posted by mareli at 9:39 AM on December 3, 2009

Fresh roasted peppers are delicious on sandwiches, in pasta/pizzas/other italian foods, etc, and are pretty simple to do. I know you said you don't want to put them in preserves, but these can be canned too.

Bananas as a moist food can be substituted in a lot of baking for some of the oil, like muffins.
posted by lizbunny at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2009

stuffed peppers (you could probably stuff them with beans/lentils/TVP, rather than ground beef, if needed)
put them on/in pizza, scrambled eggs, salads, etc.
make hummus (pretty cheap to make) and use the peppers to dip
chicken (or tofu, or whatever) and peppers
Italian beef sandwiches, or cheesesteaks
add to marinara and serve with pasta and Italian sausage

banana bread or muffins
put in/on pancakes, waffles, cereal, oatmeal
See this AskMe about bananas

I think the key is to just start sneaking them into everything.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:42 AM on December 3, 2009

Frozen bananas + milk (powdered?)+ a blender=simple smoothies?
posted by antiquated at 9:43 AM on December 3, 2009

Burritos or fajitas (with most of the same adjuncts as cranberrymonger's chili suggestion, and maybe some rice and onions. And tortillas, of course.)

Too many bananas? Make banana bread!
posted by tellumo at 9:47 AM on December 3, 2009

I have bell peppers in my garden and these are the things we make with them:

Sausage and Peppers Parmesan My recipe is similar to this one, but we put it all in a casserole dish covered with mozarella cheese and bake til the cheese turns golden brown. You could use ground beef (maybe as meatballs?) instead of sausage for a cheaper dish

Stuffed Peppers

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
posted by CathyG at 9:47 AM on December 3, 2009

These Banana-Black Bean Empanadas are really delicious and easy, and would be quite good with the addition of sauteed red bell peppers. Bonus, all the ingredients are cheap!
posted by HotToddy at 9:49 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Pickled peppers.
Banana chips?
posted by leigh1 at 10:06 AM on December 3, 2009

Chop up the peppers, add a can of tuna, and douse the whole thing in dressing: instant no-BS salad! A simple combination of apple cider vinegar and sugar is super-cheap and tastes wonderful. Frozen bananas, milk, and protein powder in a blender make a great smoothie.
posted by aquafortis at 10:07 AM on December 3, 2009

We already make banana bread/cake. Problem is, you only need 2-3 bananas per cake. So that means making 50 cakes a week... We also make a sort of chili or a soup which uses some of the peppers, but we end up with ~30-40 left over every week.

I guess I'm looking for something (particularly for the peppers) which really uses A LOT of peppers all at once. Leaving them fresh is not really an option for this.
posted by beerbajay at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2009

Sorry, I also should have mentioned that we need to prepare them all on one day, rather than using them over the span of a week. So while things like smoothies are great, they don't really work for a mass-food-prep day.
posted by beerbajay at 10:57 AM on December 3, 2009

A lot of peppers all at once? Red pepper soup is delightful (sorry, no recipe link). I bet yellow and orange pepper soup would be lovely too. And you can make nice pasta sauces out of red peppers. Make and freeze. Also, what about making and canning a whole bunch of salsa?
posted by kitcat at 11:03 AM on December 3, 2009

I agree with Kitcat...soups and sauces are the best way to go. They freeze really well too.
Even if you make a lot of soup and pasta sauces all in one day it seems likely you still might have extra.
Sounds like you are doing volunteer/group work to begin with, but has your group thought about donating the rest of what you dont use on your mass prep day to some other group?
Or combining efforts...doing some kind of trade with another group?
If you guys get peppers and bananas, someone else might get tomatoes and corn...who knows.
posted by bdoop21 at 11:27 AM on December 3, 2009

I'm assuming this is for a food kitchen/meals on wheels sort of thing. Must it be served hot, or will things be re-heated?

Banana pancakes come to mind. If you're making pancakes for 100 people, I think you could use a lot of bananas.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2009

Pasta sauce like this but using all green peppers.

Italian beef

Pepper steak
posted by drlith at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2009

What about Pasta sauce with roasted peppers? You could add canned tomatoes to it, too, if you have them, or some canned white beans, to make the dish more substantial. I imagine it would freeze well. I also saw Jamie Oliver serve a similar sauce over lentils and sauteed Italian sausage.

Also I once had a really lovely roasted pepper soup made of a puree of them in broth, with garlic and other Italian seasonings.
posted by Lycaste at 11:37 AM on December 3, 2009

Most of the recipes on the Cook for Good site use or recommend peppers as a green and can be prepared in advance and frozen.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2009

Wow, yum. nthing for both breads, jams, salads, puddings.
posted by xammerboy at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2009

I made some inexpensive banana-coconut sauce in lieu of maple syrup for pancakes yesterday. It would probably scale well and could be used on a number of things.

5 ripe bananas
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar (optional)

Chop the bananas up in a food processor. Pour condensed milk and coconut milk into a pot and simmer. Add bananas. Add sugar if desired. Cook, stirring regularly for 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Pour over pancakes. The sauce can be used hot or cold.
posted by Alison at 12:06 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Can you can them? We canned a bunch of roasted peppers.
posted by electroboy at 12:11 PM on December 3, 2009

This banana ice cream recipe uses 6 bananas per batch. Alton calls for heavy cream, which would not be super-cheap to buy a lot of...it might still work with reconstituted dry milk, just less silky.

If the bananas are green when you get them, you can make stew out of them.
posted by lakeroon at 2:18 PM on December 3, 2009

I've got a recipe broadly similar to Alton's... but I don't know why he has so much sugar (corn syrup) in his. Bananas a plenty sweet on their own, and this is frigging delicious.
 4     very ripe bananas
 1  T  honey
 1  t  lemon or lime juice
1/3 C  yogurt (plain)
1/2 C  finely chopped nuts (optional)

- Peel, slice and freeze your bananas
- Process bananas, honey and lemon juice together in a food
      processor until bananas are finely chopped
- Gradually add yogurt and process until smooth and creamy
- Fold in nuts, if using
- Makes roughly 3 cups
Should scale up to whatever you're working with just fine. I don't understand why the hell Alton peels his after freezing. I find that a serious PITA to accomplish.
posted by Decimask at 6:19 PM on December 3, 2009

Hrm, on rereading, that was probably too fussy for your needs.
posted by Decimask at 6:21 PM on December 3, 2009

Peppers + eggplant = ajvar (unless they're green peppers, in which case you want the recipe for kiopoolu linked on that page).
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Stab bananas lengthways with ice-cream sticks. Chuck in freezer en masse. When desire for snack hits, pull one out and roll in chocolate sauce (the kind that goes hard when in contact with something cold; but the other may be ok, who knows?) and roll in chopped nuts. Then consider a second. Minimal effort + healthy (sorta!) snacks -- yeah!
posted by springbound at 2:33 AM on December 4, 2009

Breakfast tacos!
Onions, eggs, corn tortillas. Doesn't get much cheaper. Make it a complete meal with a banana and cup of coffee. 2-3 tacos are a breakfast size serving.

Slice thin and caramelize pepers and onions with a bit of oil. Heat up a stack of corn tortillas. Scramble some eggs. Plop a spoon full of eggs, onions and peppers onto a tortilla and fold. You can add hot sauce, salsa or cheese for extra tasty (and expense). These can be individually rolled up in tin foil and kept hot for hours in a steam tray. If you'd rather bank the food for later, you should let each ingredient cool, except for the tortillas, they won't roll they'll crack.
posted by fontophilic at 3:54 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

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