Contents of bento: Crispy shrimp and cherry tomatoes on a bed of shredded cabbage, orange segment, edamame, and orange-chili sauteed bell peppers.
So if you had asked me yesterday what my least favorite vegetable was, I would have told you bell peppers. It’s not like I haven’t tried to like them. They’re bright and crunchy, and if you like their flavor they’re the perfect way to lend texture and color to your recipe. There’s just something about their taste that’s too strong for me, and if they’re mixed or cooked into a dish it seems to be all I can taste. It always grossed me out watching the host on Iron Chef take a huge bite out of a bell pepper in the opening sequence, in fact if I were to be on one of those reality shows where you have to eat something disgusting for money I’d much rather eat a worm than have to chomp down on a raw green pepper.
I was perfectly happy with my distaste for them until yesterday. My daughter and I were in the grocery store and in an effort to get her out of her limited vegetable eating, I let her select a few types of produce to take home and cook with. Her selections were cucumber (yay), cherry tomatoes (picking those up if she hadn’t), and yellow and red peppers (*gasp*). I held back my horror as she proudly placed the peppers in the cart, and immediately panicked because I had no idea what to cook them in. I know maaaaaany recipes call for them, but anything I make on a regular basis I’ve long ago found a replacement for either the color or texture of bell pepper in the dish. I hunted around on the internet when I got home and found a few tips about preparation like making sure all the white of the ribs are removed when taking out the seeds, roasting them sweetens them, etc., but that didn’t solve my problem of only being able to taste the peppers when they’re mixed with other foods. So then I thought, “Why mix them in? Why not just cook the bell peppers as a side dish on their own?”
Orange-chili Sauteed Bell Peppers
2 Bell Peppers (any color), thinly sliced vertically
¼ tsp Salt
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Orange Juice
Sriracha Sauce to taste
In a sauté pan, heat oil and garlic over low heat. Add bell peppers and cook 15 minutes until peppers soften and become sweet. Add orange juice and chili sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Now, I’m not saying bell peppers will become a daily part of my veggie intake, but at least cooked like this they’re sweet and lose the bitterness I dislike so much. My daughter? She said it was too spicy, so I’ll try again but tone down or leave out the chili sauce.