Using Up Bell Peppers

Creative uses for leftover bell peppers

So, you buy a bell pepper for a recipe. If you're cooking a dish for four or six people, you probably use it all. But when you're cooking for two, chances are good you only use a quarter of it. Into the fridge it goes. You keep thinking you'll use the rest of it, but before you get to it, it's gone squishy. Don't let your peppers go squishy. Here are all kinds of ideas for using the other half of that pepper. Or the other half of the bag you couldn't resist buying.

Note: I...MORE tend to use red bell peppers more than green, but in many of the recipes below, either will work. The flavor is somewhat different -- red peppers are sweeter (they're fully ripe, after all), while green peppers are more assertive and vegetal. Yellow or orange peppers are more similar in flavor to red peppers and can also be used in many of these recipes (they're not very attractive when roasted but are still delicious).

  • 01 of 04

    Whole Peppers

    Stuffed peppers
    Dave Scantland

    When bell peppers are on sale, it's always tempting to buy a bagful. Now what? Stuffed peppers, either filled with a spicy mixture of Italian sausage and rice, or a vegetarian version with mushrooms and cheese, are a delicious way to use either red or green peppers. And since they freeze well, why not make a double (or triple) batch for future dinners?

    Italian-style stuffed peppers

    Spicy vegetarian stuffed peppers

  • 02 of 04

    Roasted Bell Peppers

    pork-with-peppers
    Dave Scantland

    A great way to extend the life of peppers when you've been over-enthusiastic at the market is to roast them. While red peppers are what are most often roasted, green peppers also benefit from the same treatment. They're easy to prepare either under the broiler or over a gas flame, and once roasted and peeled, they freeze beautifully. Pull them out and use them in salads, soup, quiche, or even salsa.

    Pork medallions with two peppers

    Roasted red pepper and onion soup

    Roasted vegetable and...MORE bulgur salad

    Quiche variation

    Tuna tapenade sandwiches

    Red table salsa

  • 03 of 04

    Stir-Fried or Sauteed Peppers

    Strips of beef and strips of pepper in a frying pan
    Francesca Yorke / Getty Images

    Many cuisines use red or green peppers in stir fry dishes or other saute recipes. Chinese pepper steak, the traditional Chinese-American staple, uses both, as do many fried rice dishes. And even when not specified in the ingredient list, peppers can often be a great addition to many Asian recipes. Mexican-inspired and Southwestern dishes are also often enhanced by the addition of peppers -- try them sauteed with onions and added to steak tacos. And don't forget the "trinity" of...MORE onion, celery and bell pepper that's the starting point of so many Cajun recipes.

    Chinese pepper steak

    Fish and vegetable tagine with chermoula

    Pork fried rice

    Skirt steak tacos

    Sloppy Joes

    Cornish hens with gumbo rice

  • 04 of 04

    Raw Peppers

    Directly Above View Of Chopped Food On Cutting Board
    Banu Patel / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Used raw, bell peppers add color and crunch to all kinds of dishes in a variety of cuisines. Some people have trouble digesting raw green bell peppers, so if you're in this group, use red bells for these recipes.

    Mexican shrimp and vegetables

    Ginger-scallion noodles

    Spicy peanut noodles with chicken

    Corn and avocado salsa

    Mediterranean chickpea salad

    Tangy ginger slaw