What do you do with your sweet red peppers?
September 2, 2015 7:25 AM   Subscribe

I've had too many sweet red peppers go to waste because we don't use them that often (more on that inside). Should I freeze them? What are your favorite recipes that feature these lovely things?

I use them for some stir fry dishes, some soups/stews, melitzanosalata, and briami (and on the odd occasion that we grill, definitely just char-grilled, mostly peeled, and served as a side, wow yum) – but for most things, they tend to add too much sweetness to the dish for our taste. And when we have to buy them from the supermarket instead of the greengrocer, we are forced to get a package of them, and that's when they end up going bad: after we've used the one or two we really needed.

Aside from broiling in the oven, what are some other options when we have 4-5 large ones extra? I do love them, and hate to mistreat them in this way!
posted by taz to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Piperade? I usually bake eggs in the finished piperade and serve with bread.


I use them in a sofrito base for rice dishes?
posted by JPD at 7:29 AM on September 2, 2015

I regularly make this red pepper soup recipe. It is easy and delicious. I use 4-6 peppers, whatever I have on hand.
posted by rachelpapers at 7:31 AM on September 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Take some Yukon Gold potatoes, cut 'em up into chunks. Cut up the sweet peppers into chunks. Cut up some green onions into thin slices. Cook some Morningstar vegetarian "sausage" patties and cut those up. Mix all of that together, toss it in olive oil with salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Throw the whole mess in a skillet and bake it at 450F for, say, at least 45 minutes, until it looks nicely golden brown. Then throw on a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese and bake for another ten minutes.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:35 AM on September 2, 2015 [7 favorites]

One of my favorite recipes is Chicken with green Bell Peppers (Murg Jalfraizee), but I usually use red bell peppers instead of green (or sometimes both) and use three or four peppers but less meat. So tasty!
posted by amf at 7:49 AM on September 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was in the same position a week ago so I made tapenade - it's awesome on crackers with cheese.

Grill/flame grill your peppers til they're blackening, throw them in the food processor with sundried tomatoes, olives and olive oil, maybe some pistachio nuts. Blend to your preferred consistency. Done! Reckon it'll keep as long as pesto usually does.
posted by greenish at 7:50 AM on September 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Fajitas! Slice up some beef into thin strips (or don't, for a veggie fajita), season with taco seasonings or your favorite blend, and saute them in a large flat skillet. Cast iron if you've got it. Slice up the peppers, with a mix of colors if you've got them, into thin strips, along with some red onion in strips. Toss those in the skillet. Stir around for a while until it's as blackened/soft as you wish. Throw some in a warmed tortilla and add a dollop of sour cream to finish.

I'm sure it's not "authentic," but it uses up 3-4 peppers for 2-3 people and it's tasty and quick.
posted by Liesl at 7:51 AM on September 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

This recipe for peperonata is extremely similar to a family recipe I still make and love to this day. The recipe I use calls for fresh tomatoes which are cooked down along with the peppers. Either way it is delicious served with flatbreads and goat cheese, it keeps well, and it uses a ton of peppers.
posted by AmandaA at 7:53 AM on September 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

Romesco sauce! I like to eat it as a topping on crusty bread or roasted potatoes but you can put it on almost anything, and you can freeze it in an ice cube tray for later use. Seconding muhammara, too.
posted by divined by radio at 7:54 AM on September 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

When I have an abundance of peppers and am feeling ambitious I make stuffed peppers and freeze them.

Otherwise I just slice them into strips and freeze them in quantities I can later defrost and saute for whatever I need: fajitas, burrito bowls, pizza toppings, stir fry...
posted by lyssabee at 7:54 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Water bath canning is not that hard. You could make some roasted red pepper spread (this recipe uses 14 of them!) to keep or give as gifts.
posted by Ostara at 7:59 AM on September 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

The recipes above look amazing. But if you are ever in possession of copious beautiful sweet red peppers without the time/inclination to cook a recipe, don't hesitate to just eat one cold and raw, as a snack, biting into it like you would an apple. We do that in our family and they make you feel alive.
posted by flourpot at 8:01 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, I dice all my extras and they go into a freezer container labeled for the purpose.

You can also freeze them whole. They thaw limp and so not very usable for crudite or other fresh applications, but they're easy to gut and cut at that point.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:14 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like dipping them into hummus. Also roasted red pepper and corn soup!! With coconut milk and crunchy chickpeas. You can totally make a big batch of this and freeze it for later.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 8:26 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I find they freeze better when roasted than fresh.
Char them, leave them in a covered bowl to steam and cool. Reserve all of the liquid. Clean off the skin and seeds. Separate into portions, bag, cover with liquid and freeze.

Then you can put them on a sandwich with hummus and sprouts. You can put them into hummus or other bean dips. Use them as you would any roasted peppers.
posted by Seamus at 8:28 AM on September 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I eat them like apples as a side to lunch - filling, nutritious, and low calorie density. I also use them as some would use bread - to hold chicken or tuna salad, then eat the whole shabang. Dipped in hummus. With soft cheeses or salamis.
posted by ldthomps at 8:38 AM on September 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

Cut them up into serves & freeze. They freeze perfectly fine I freeze the excess from my garden every year & still use them 9 months later. I freeze already cut up on a tray with silcone paper then freeze in a zip lock bag for easy adding to stirfries etc.
posted by wwax at 8:49 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Romesco is nice, and freezes incredibly well.

Natural pickles are pretty awesome, even with sweet peppers. We do a batch or two every year.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:12 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

homemade paprika
posted by Emor at 9:30 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Puree them, add some onion, fennel, lemon, and stock and either just cook rice in that or use that as a base for paella or risotto instead of the equivalent tomato base (note the addition of acid to balance).
posted by cmoj at 9:34 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like a chicken paprika and rice casserole that I'm usually too impatient to make, so my cheat is to either buy ready-made roasted chicken or quickly roast some chicken breast (skin-on, bone-in) and have it with a "red rice" side.

I make chicken bouillon (enough liquid for the amount of rice I want to make, per package instructions) while I fry a medium chopped onion in a light oil (sunflower, usually) in a deep skillet at high and then medium heat, until the onion is past transparent and starting to golden (bit of salt goes in there while it's sweating). I then add chopped red peppers (1 per person), and maybe a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes, turning the heat back to high for a minute or so, then down to medium-low, and let that cook for about 10-15 minutes. When it's all caramelized and beautiful, I turn the heat up to medium, and add 1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste (mixing it in really thoroughly) and the rice, and cook that for another minute. I add 2 teaspoons of paprika just before adding the bouillon to the skillet, cover, and cook per package instructions. If I have fresh parsley, I might top it with that before serving. If I'm eating alone/don't care about how it looks, I tear up the chicken and mix it into the rice to maximize its exposure to the peppery flavours.

(I'm usually pretty terrible with rice - the one I never mess up is Uncle Ben's 10-minute Jasmine rice, but if you're rice-competent, obviously any kind will work.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:39 AM on September 2, 2015

Peppers and eggs! Learn it from the master: part 1, part 2. (Previously.)

Otherwise: Julienne or cube, roast in a pan with some olive oil. Use liberally on anything akin to a sandwich or pizza. Also good for many but not all soups, stews and pasta dishes.

Grilled cheese with gouda and roasted red peppers is good. Serve with tomato soup and basil.

Comments upthread about freezing and canning are smart, too. (Use the same vacuum-bagging machine you use for sous vide to protect 'em from freezer burn.)
posted by sourcequench at 9:41 AM on September 2, 2015

Ajvar! Totally delicious! Great on everything, especially eastern European grilled meats like cevapi/cevapcici. It's a great way to make a huge pile of peppers fit into a single mason jar (and then, in short order, your stomach). If you have eggplant or hot peppers, you can throw them in as well, but I usually skip the eggplant--I don't care for (and can't be bothered to remove) all those little seeds.

Fun ajvar fact: the word is a cognate of the French/English word caviar.
posted by pullayup at 9:41 AM on September 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I get a bushel of red peppers in the fall and grill them. You want the skins charred black. I skin and seed them and put them in half-pint jars topped off with a little bit of olive oil. I water bath can these and then freeze them. The canning is an extra step that I don't really need as I am freezing them but I think it helps them keep longer. Whenever you want a taste of summer just thaw one out and enjoy!
posted by misterpatrick at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2015

Gallo Pinto. If you can plan ahead, go ahead and get some Salsa Lizano (Amazon has it) -- Worcestershire sauce is not very similar.
posted by orchidfox at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fresh peppers can be just straight up eaten like an apple. (Also, like an apple, you might want to eat a bit strategically to miss the seeds).
If they're sufficiently spicy they also go well sliced up in a salad; if they're more sweet they might work with a vinaigrette dressing.

But mostly I just eat em, maybe with a bit of hummus or some chalky goat cheese if I'm feeling ambitious.
posted by nat at 1:49 PM on September 2, 2015

A video recipe from the Jollof Rice Day thread the other day in the Blue included a number of peppers.

[Corn] Maque Choux is a cajun dish that is nicely sweetened by peppers (some recipes go for tomatoes instead of peppers, but I never do). It's a good veggie side or you can bump it up to main course status with some protein, especially chicken and sausage. Bacon is typically added at the start as a fat-and-smoke agent, but if you want to skip that, use veggie oil and maybe roast the pepper to add some char.

Peppers (usually green) are part of the "holy trinity," the cajun aromatic flavor base: onion, celery, peppers (and usually garlic as well), which fills the same role in that cuisine as mirepoix/soffritto/sofrito do in French/Italian/Spanish cuisines. It's a staple base for stewed dishes like gumbo (where it's used to "stop the roux,' i.e. add cold wet veggies to nuclear-hot roux which stops the color-change on the roux right where you want it), or skillet dishes like jambalaya or etouffee.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:27 PM on September 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Boston-area MeFites (who are apparently the best MeFites) have an official pepper chutney! (Proof!) I think backseatpilot started it, or maybe threeants, and then the other one of them lobbied for it to become a tradition. It's so good.
posted by daisyace at 3:06 PM on September 2, 2015

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