Roasted red peppers, diced, cut into strips or layered whole in a sandwich, are a colorful, flavor-packed, nutritious ingredient in any recipe. Sometimes, however, a substitute must be found. Perhaps your guests dislike the flavor or texture or possibility a sensitivity has developed. More likely, it's getting close to dinner, a particular dish is on the menu, and your cupboard is bare of roasted red peppers. Roasted eggplant or zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes or roasted cherry tomatoes all make tasty alternatives.
Make Your Own Roasted Red Peppers
Roast your own from fresh. If you have a gas stove, ignite a burner to a low flame and place the whole pepper directly above the flame. Turn frequently till the entire surface is blackened and blistered.
Cool completely and remove the blackened skin. Core and clean, cut into strips and use as directed in recipe.
Alternatively, slice your fresh red pepper in half, clean and core and place under a medium-hot grill on a baking sheet. Roast until the skin blackens and blisters.
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Cool completely and remove blackened skin.
Store any leftovers in olive oil.
Use Roasted Eggplant or Zucchini Squash
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch round slices. Brush with light olive oil on both sides and put on a baking sheet.
Roast until brown on both sides. Cool completely and cut into strips or small chunks.
Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch slices. Brush with light olive oil on both sides and place on a baking sheet. Grill on medium heat until nicely browned. Cut into strips or pieces.
Roast Your Own Cherry Tomatoes
Cut about 2 cups of ripe cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet.
Whisk a 1/4 cup light olive oil, 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt and 1 tbsp. brown sugar together and pour over the cherry tomatoes. Stir them around so they are all well-coated and turn them so the cut side faces up.
Roast under grill for about 45 minutes until the tomatoes are soft, shrunken and sweet.
Use Jarred Sun-Dried Tomatoes or Dried From a Packet
Add sun-dried tomatoes in oil to any recipe that calls for roasted red peppers. The flavor will be different, but delicious.
If you are using sun-dried tomatoes that are not in oil, soak them in a small amount of hot water or warm vegetable oil for 10 minutes to soften.
Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Use as directed in the recipe.
Residing in Dublin, Tricia Rush has been writing for websites and local drama societies since 1998. Her recommendations on learning Japanese have appeared in "Everyday Japanese Newsletter." She also worked as a research assistant at Tokyo University. Rush holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and archaeology from the University of British Columbia.