By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
Both smoky and sweet, roasted red peppers add instant oomph to any dish. While it’s easy to make your own (remember to turn on the hood fan as even sweet red peppers can make your eyes sting), the jarred versions can also be good. For instance, I just discovered Trader Joe’s house brand, which are dead ringers for homemade.
Here are five ways I like to use them, and you’ll no doubt enjoy, too!
Add to salads, just as you would any other vegetable. This Balsamic Tomato and Red Pepper salad recipe includes instructions for roasting the peppers.
Purée in dips, like the red pepper and walnut-based muhammara from Syria that’s popping up in Middle Eastern restaurants, or this lower calorie Roasted Red Pepper Dip.
Liven up bean salads. The last one I made had about a cup of low-sodium canned garbanzo beans, 1/3 cup chopped roasted red pepper, 2 tablespoons crumbled feta, 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped basil, 2 to 3 chopped black olives, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, and about 2 teaspoons olive oil.
Sub for tomatoes. When tomato season ends, which is pretty soon, I turn to roasted red peppers as a stand-in. For my open-faced mozzarella and roasted red pepper melt, I start with two slices of whole-grain bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh chopped basil. I layer on slices of fresh mozzarella and roasted red pepper, and heat in the toaster oven until the cheese starts to melt.
Toss with pasta. Roasted red peppers are a natural with Italian flavorings, as in this recipe for Thin Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers, Endive and Pine Nuts.
How do you incorporate roasted red peppers into your cooking?