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Sweet Pepper Recipes


On the menu:

Red Pepper Soup
Peperoni Ripieni — Peppers Stuffed with Eggplant
Mandorlata Di Peperoni — Sweet and Sour Peppers with Almonds and Raisins



Red Pepper Soup

This is one of my favorite soups. It is a bit deceptive, because when you first make the soup and taste it, it won't have much red pepper flavor. However, do not panic, because if you put the soup in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight, and then taste the soup, you will be amazed how vibrant the red pepper flavor will have become. Red pepper soup can be multinational. You may vary its country of origin by changing the garnish. Use pimento peppers if possible as they are fleshier and richer in taste — you may use the regular red peppers but they will not be quite as vibrant.

Serves 8

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, sliced or chopped
12 pimento or red peppers, rough chopped
4 to 5 cups of chicken stock
salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook slowly until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the chopped peppers and enough chicken stock to barely cover. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Cook until the peppers are very tender. This may take about 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully puree the soup in the blender or food processor.
  4. If there are too many large flecks of skin visible, and they annoy you, you may pass the pureed soup through a food mill.
  5. Thin the soup to the consistency of your choice and season the soup with salt and pepper. Set the soup aside and readjust seasoning just before serving.

Some appropriate garnishes are as follows:
For an Italian accent top each bowl with chopped basil or a spoonful of pesto
For a Spanish accent add a dollop of roasted green pepper puree
For a Portuguese accent sprinkle with chopped cilantro or mint
To evoke Greece or Turkey, try a dollop of yogurt and chopped marjoram, mint or dill
For France, a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of chopped fresh thyme or chervil

You may also vary this soup by adding a few oven roasted tomatoes or some sliced fresh tomatoes after the peppers have cooked for a while and softened. Cook the peppers and tomatoes together for a few minutes. Then puree, and pass through a food mill to remove all traces of seeds and skin.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 105
Fat: 6 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 130 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 11 grams
Dietary Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 3 grams
% calories from fat: 51%
% calories from saturated fat: 8%

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Peperoni Ripieni — Peppers Stuffed with Eggplant

This recipe comes from my book Cucina Ebraica, Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen. It is basically a Sephardo-Italian "dolma" or a chopped version of eggplant Parmesan slipped inside a pepper.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 eggplants, about 1 pound each
1 eggwhite
5 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 to 4 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise and stems, seeds and thick ribs removed
1/3 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 to 4 tablespoons water

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Roast the eggplants in their skins (like you bake a potato), about 35- 45 minutes, turning to cook evenly.
  2. Skin and mash.
  3. Add the eggwhite, basil, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  5. Arrange the peppers hollow ends up in a baking dish. Stuff the eggplant mixture into peppers, dividing it evenly.
  6. Top each pepper half with a slice of mozzarella. Drizzle a little olive oil into the pan and add the water. Cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake until peppers are tender and cheese is melted, about 35- 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes: Although not traditional, the eggplant mixture could be seasoned with a few tablespoons pesto instead of chopped basil. A few tablespoons of chopped sun-dried tomatoes could also be added to the filling.

Nutrition Facts (includes 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette):

Calories: 240
Fat: 7 grams
Saturated Fat: 4 grams
Sodium: 413 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 31 grams
Dietary Fiber: 10 grams
Protein: 16 grams
% calories from fat: 26%
% calories from saturated fat: 15%

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Mandorlata Di Peperoni —Sweet and Sour Peppers with Almonds and Raisins

This colorful dish of sautéed peppers comes from the Southern Italian province of Basilicata. Also called peperonata, this sweet and sour ( agrodolce) dish is usually served at room temperature as part of an antipasto assortment, or as a side dish to accompany boiled beef, it also can be tossed with cooked pasta for a piquant dish, or used as a sauce over grilled fish or sautéed chicken breasts. In summer add strips of fresh peeled tomatoes, but in winter months you may use tomato puree.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 yellow bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
2 small red onions
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons rich tomato puree or 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into strips
4 tablespoons raisins, plumped in hot water
4 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds, toasted
Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove stems, seeds and thick membranes.
  2. Cut into long strips about 1/2 inch wide.
  3. Cut the onions into slices about 1/3 inch wide.
  4. Warm the olive oil in a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 4 - 5 minutes, then toss in the pepper strips and tomatoes and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add vinegar, sugar and tomato puree if using and cook for about 3 minutes longer.
  6. Add the raisins, almonds and adjust seasoning. This dish should have a nice balance of tartness and sweetness. The vegetables should be tender but not mushy.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 305
Fat: 19 grams
Saturated Fat: 2 grams
Sodium: 165 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 34 grams
Dietary Fiber: 6 grams
Protein: 5 grams
% calories from fat: 56%
% calories from saturated fat: 6%

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