Meatless Monday Peppers

Photo courtesy of High Mowing Organic Seeds

We’ve got a recipe for roasted peppers, from our Vermont Fresh: A Fruit and Vegetable Handbook, that you can stock and store in your fridge for up to two weeks. Also, we have tips for pepper growing, storage and cooking.

Kendall Black, a volunteer cooking, tasting and testing recipes out of the Vermont Fresh Handbook tested the recipes.  Her comments are below in italics.


Bell peppers and chili peppers are closely related, though they are not at all related to the spice we call “black pepper.”  Peppers are native to the Americas and Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter them.  He named the unfamiliar fruits “peppers” after the spice—as some of them did share similar hot, spicy qualities unlike almost any other foods.  After Columbus brought peppers back to Europe, the plants slowly gained popularity and eventually spread around the globe.  Bell peppers, which are sweet and not at all spicy, don’t contain any capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat.  Chilies vary in spice from relatively mild to intolerably hot.  Handle all chilies with caution: when you touch their skin, you rub off some of the heat-producing compound, which can then be easily transferred via your hands to your eyes or other sensitive areas.  Always wash your hands after handling chilies and before touching anything else!

Growing Tips

Perhaps not surprising given their southern origins, peppers need plenty of heat and sunlight to grow well.  Because they require a long growing season, start seeds indoors in April and transplant seedlings outdoors once all danger of frost has passed and the ground has warmed.  Use caution handling hot pepper seeds.  Fertilize soil well and leave at least a full foot of space between plants.  For warmer soil and weed control, some find it beneficial to grow peppers in reusable black plastic mulch.  Harvest peppers regularly to encourage production.  Almost all peppers will redden if left on the plant to ripen.


Peppers are very cold sensitive, so store them loosely wrapped in plastic on the top shelf of your refrigerator.  They will last up to a week, but are best when used as soon as possible.  Hot peppers can be left on the plant, uprooted, and allowed to mature over many weeks.  Hot peppers can be dried, but bell peppers need to be frozen for longer storage.


Peppers can be eaten raw or cooked; hot peppers are most commonly cooked.  Rinse peppers in cold water before preparing and, if you wish, peel them (most easily done by roasting for 10 minutes, stuffing into a paper bag to steam, then peeling).  You will most likely want to remove the seeds as well.

Nutritional Benefits

Peppers are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B, and beta carotene and have a significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, and iron.  The Vitamin C in peppers aids in the body’s uptake of vegetable-based iron (non-heme iron), such as that in beans.  Red peppers tend to be the most nutritious.  Chili peppers contains capsaicin valuable for long term health and disease prevention.

Meatless Monday Recipe: Roasted Red Peppers

roasted peppers on plateOne pepper makes 1– 2 servings


  • Red bell peppers, any quantity


  1. Oven method: preheat your oven to 450°F.  Roast peppers, whole, on a foil-covered baking sheet for 30 minutes (turning at least once during cooking). Grill method: turn the grill to medium-high, then place the whole peppers directly on the grill.  Close the lid and allow to cook until skins are charred and peppers feel soft when prodded with tongs.
  2. Remove the peppers from heat and place in a paper bag or covered bowl.  Allow to steam about 10 minutes.
  3. When peppers have cooled, peel off the blackened skin and discard.
  4. Pull off the top of the pepper and squeeze out the seeds, scraping out any remaining seeds with a paring knife.  Do not rinse, as this diminishes flavor.
  5. Cover any unused peppers in olive oil and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Meatless Monday PeppersNotes from Kendall:

I used 4 red peppers at $0.67 each=$2.68

The recipe mentioned that you could put them in a jar and add olive oil. With the olive oil the price increased to $3.67, I used 0.5 cups of olive oil which is not mentioned directly in the recipe. 

The ball jar is not included in the price but they are usually about $1 each. 

I found the recipe very smooth to follow and the total time it took me was exactly one hour to roast the peppers, let them cool, and transfer them to a ball jar.

To receive more recipes and tips on your favorite fruits and vegetables, download Vermont Fresh: A Fruit and Vegetable Handbook.  We also need more volunteer home chefs for this project.

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