Pepper Your Plates

When it comes to diversity of flavor and color, nothing compares to the pepper. With a heat level from sweet to fiery hot, and in every color of the rainbow, peppers boast an incredible spectrum of characteristics. All varieties are good sources of vitamins (a cup of red bell pepper contains nearly three times as much vitamin C as an orange) and contain disease-fighting properties. Plus, both hot and sweet peppers have been shown to enhance weight loss by burning fat.

Roast at Home

Peppers are also a great way to add a kick of flavor to all types of dishes and cuisines. Generally speaking, the smaller a pepper, the more heat it packs. Bell peppers are amongst the largest, mildest-tasting, and most commonly available. They come in green, yellow, orange, and red (all the same variety in order of least to most ripe). For pepper recipes like the Red Pepper Crab Soup and Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo that call for roasted red bell peppers, you can use the jarred variety, which are pricy but convenient. Or, quickly roast your own by simply placing peppers on a grill or gas stovetop, turning with tongs until blackened all over. Transfer the pepper to a plastic bag or lidded container, and let steam for about 5 minutes. Then rub the charred skin off using a paper towel.

More Variety, More Flavor

Poblanos are another large, mild chili pepper that comes from the state of Puebla, Mexico (you’ll also see them labeled ancho chiles when dried). Try incorporating this versatile pepper into your cooking repertoire with easy recipes like Tomatillo Sauce or Apricot-Ancho Barbecue Glaze. And don’t miss out on chipotle peppers, smoke-dried jalapeños often found in Mexican cuisine. They come canned in adobo, a rich, smoky sauce that packs a big punch of flavor. Try them in Chipotle Pepper Cream Sauce, which is great drizzled over grilled veggies or pasta.