Today I am going to show some love to red bell peppers, one of the most wonderful foods on the planet.
Growing up I really had no affection for peppers. I thought they were too bitter and I didn’t really enjoy their watery crunch. Now, however, I find them to be a really delicious and refreshing snack option, especially paired with a creamy dip like hummus or even pesto. I still don’t like the green ones, actually, but red (as well as orange and yellow) I’m down with.
And we all know how incredible roasted red peppers are. I love to use them in a variety of recipes or put them on a sandwich for a sweet, tangy addition with a mouthwatering texture. I tend to like to roast my own rather than buying them in a jar or can from the store. If you’ve never tried roasting your own peppers, I highly recommend it.
Roasted Red Peppers
All you need is a bell pepper or two and some olive oil for brushing.
To Make: Preheat oven to 425. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and membranes. Lightly brush peppers on all sides with olive oil (or you can use a spray can). Place them cut-side down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.
Roast for about 20 minutes, until they are soft and the skins are lightly browned/blackened in some places. When they are done, you can enjoy as is, or if you like them without the skin like I do, place them into a brown paper bag and allow to cool. When you take them out, the skins will peel right off!
Some people (not me) are lucky enough to have gas stoves, in which case you can actually roast your red pepper directly on the flame! Doing it in the oven always does the trick for me, though.
Now, have some fun with your roasted red peppers! They’re delicious as a pizza, pasta, or salad topping, or you can make them into soup…
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Bisque
Serves 4, maybe more!
Inactive time: 6-8 hours for soaking cashews and 20 minutes for roasting red peppers
Active time: 20 minutes
(This recipe has been given the omnivore seal of approval by H.)
2 red bell peppers, roasted and skins removed
1 cup of cashews, soaked 6-8 hours or overnight
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, lightly minced
1.5 cups of vegetable broth (use up to 2 cups if you’d like it a little thinner)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil (you can omit this if you don’t like or don’t have fresh basil)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Drain soaking water from cashews and rinse well. Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then add onion and garlic and saute until the onions start to become translucent (usually takes about 3-4 minutes). Turn off heat and add onion garlic mixture to a blender. Add roasted red peppers, cashews, and vegetable broth and blend until smooth and creamy (this might take a couple of minutes, depending on your blender). Return blended mixture to saucepan and heat until just warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with crusty bread or your favorite croutons!
I have recently become intrigued by the idea of using roasted red peppers to make sauce as well. It’s so standard to make pasta or pizza with tomato sauce but red peppers actually stand in surprisingly well and add a depth of flavor to the sauce that is really unique. I did this last week with a dish from Happy Herbivore, Creole Black Eyed Peas (click for recipe). The red sauce is made from pureeing sauteed onions with roasted red pepper. It is absolutely delicious, not to mention fat-free and healthy!
A dinner plate the USDA would be proud of!
In what other fun ways do you use bell peppers (red or otherwise)?