Blog » What’s in Season? Peppers!
One of the first language barriers between my Australian friend and I was the word “peppers.” You see, despite the fact that we both speak English, we have different names for these delicious members of the nightshade family. She, like all Australians, uses the word “capsicum” when referring to bell peppers, named after the capsaicin found in spicy peppers. You might be thinking, “Wait, bell peppers aren’t spicy! That makes no sense.” Well considering we call black pepper “pepper,” we probably shouldn’t call the kettle “black.”
I consider peppers a luxury vegetable, especially the red bell pepper variety. Since they’re at the peak of their season right now, I am wealthy in peppers — wealthy enough to have them at every meal. But in just a few months, the bell pepper will be almost $5 a piece in some grocery stores, so let’s enjoy them now when they’re plentiful.
Here are some of my favorite recipes for enjoying a variety of peppers, spicy and not-so-spicy.
Chicken Enchiladas (makes 4 enchiladas)
Any form of Tex-Mex or Mexican food is a great way to use peppers. I used canned refried black beans, but you can also sub in regular black beans. Simply puree a can of drained black beans in a blender if you want to make an easy homemade version.
4 large whole wheat tortillas
12 oz. chicken, cubed
1/2 green bell pepper
2 large spring onions (white part) or 1/2 white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 spicy pepper, chopped
2/3 cup refried black beans
1 1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
salt and pepper
Heat a bit of oil (~1 tsp or so) in a pan and cook chicken with a bit of salt and pepper until cooked through. Remove from pan and set to the side. Add a bit more oil (~ 1 tsp.) and cook veggies (onion, garlic, peppers) until they are beginning to brown.
Place tortillas out on a flat surface. Spread a quarter of the refried black beans in the center of each. Place a quarter of the chicken and the veggies in each as well. Distribute about a 1/4 cup of the cheese on the fillings of each tortilla.
Roll tortillas and place in a baking sheet. If you place them “seam” side down, they will not unroll. Pour salsa on top of them and add more if you like. Spread over evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the salsa.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Spicy Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque (serves 4)
This delicious soup comes together in minutes. I served it with a Panini-style sandwich with goat cheese for a fancy take on tomato soup and grilled cheese. You may choose to substitute the coconut oil with any good oil you have on hand like olive oil or grape seed oil. Feel free to reduce the amount of red pepper flakes to reduce the spice. This soup is spicy, which means it will be even spicier the day after you make it.
1 can of organic diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 Tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
In a large pot, heat coconut oil on medium high heat. Add all veggies, except tomatoes, and cook until vegetables have softened. Add tomatoes and juice from can. Add all herbs and spices. Simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or by transferring it in portions to a food processor.
Sloppy José’s (serves 4-5)
This recipe is like the old favorite, but kicks the flavor up a notch with spicy jalapeno and salsa. I used a red bell pepper, but other colors make good substitutes. Unlike the canned version of Sloppy Joe sauce, you can be proud that you made this simple sauce yourself.
1.2-1.25 pounds of ground chicken (I used 90/10)
1/2 chopped bell pepper
1/2 chopped small yellow onion
1 de-seeded and finely chopped jalapeno
1/3 cup organic ketchup
1/3 cup organic salsa
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. demerara sugar (natural brown sugar)
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder*
1/2 tsp. sea salt
In a pan, brown chicken, onion, and peppers until chicken is cooked thoroughly (you don’t need oil if your chicken has a little fat like mine did). In a bowl, combine sauce ingredients and mix well. Once chicken is cooked through, add sauce to pan and stir until chicken is thoroughly covered.
Serve on whole wheat hamburger buns.
Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Red Pepper and Garlic Sauce over Macaroni (serves 2)
In this dish, pureed red pepper, garlic, and Greek yogurt make a healthy creamy sauce, proving you don’t need heavy cream to make a decadent sauce. If you love this sauce as much as I do, you’ll find yourself putting it on more than this mushroom pasta dish. It’s as versatile as it is tasty! I used Trader Joe’s sundried tomato chicken sausage, but feel free to use your favorite brand.
2 large Portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and stems removed
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 chicken sausage links, sliced
1/4 cup basil, chopped finely
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Marinate mushrooms in Worcestershire sauce and vinegar for 15 minutes. Sauté or grill mushroom on both sides until browned on medium high heat. Meanwhile, sauté sausage in a pan with olive oil. Place sausage in a bowl with marinara and basil and stir.
1 cup macaroni (or pasta of choice)
2 sweet red Italian peppers
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 large clove of garlic (~1 Tbsp.)
1/4 tsp. sea salt + dash of salt
1 oz. feta cheese
Bring macaroni to a boil in a pot of water with a dash of salt. Lower heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes. Roast peppers in an oven on the broil setting on 500 degrees F for 10 minutes on each side (20 minutes total). Remove, cut, and remove stems and seeds. Place peppers in blender with yogurt, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, and garlic. Pulse until mixture is smooth. Heat in a small sauce pan or in a microwave proof dish.
Plate 1/2 of the macaroni on each dish. Spoon over the pasta about 1/4 cup of red pepper sauce. Top each with a portabella. Use a spoon to stuff mushrooms with sausage mixture, piling high if necessary into each mushroom. Sprinkle with 1/2 oz. of feta cheese and garnish with a basil leaf.
What is your favorite pepper recipe?
Like what you see? Check out Kelly’s blog, foodiefresh.com, for more recipes and ramblings.