These chargrilled capsicums (red bell peppers) are easy to make, smokey, sweet and versatile side dish. They’re coated in garlic, parsley, and olive oil to give it an extra flavour boost and have something to dip your bread into.
Grilling or roasting capsicums brings out their natural sweetness and gives them a deeper flavour compared to eating them raw or pan-fried.
They make the perfect appetiser or addition to so many different meals. It’s a great summer recipe when capsicums are in abundance.
A little personal story
When I was younger, the only vegetable I wasn’t a fan of was capsicums. For some reason, I never took a liking to them. It took me into my twenties when I started to use them in my cooking, and only in specific ways did I manage to start enjoying them.
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It was okay if I added them to stir-fries or as part of a dish. Cooked, no problem. Having them raw was a different story. The only fresh variety I enjoyed was the greenhorn peppers or the nice red meaty ones. I think I like those as they’re sweeter. They’re also perfect for grilling.
One of my dad’s favourite meals is a slice of thick bread, a generous butter coating with a nice piece of capsicum and sprinkled with salt. He would sometimes have a clove of garlic with it and eat it just like that.
If we had grilled ones in the house, we would eat them on bread. These are a little more work but so worth it! My mum would usually buy them in a jar, or we’d have them at a family friend’s home. They’re called “crvene paprike sa češnjakom, peršin u maslinovim uljem”.
My mum had four kids to raise and didn’t have much time on her hands. She still, however, always managed to make a delicious, healthy home-cooked meal. Thank you, mum!
How to use grilled red peppers
This recipe is excellent as a starter; here are a few suggestions of how to use them on their own or with the garlic parsley oil.
- With some bread, the dipping potential here is massive! Just think of all the juices from the capsicums mixed in with the vinegar and olive oil
- Used in creamy red pepper pasta
- Added to fajitas
- In salad like our couscous salad or this black rice salad
- In a burger or sandwich
- Used in this romesco dip recipe
- With potatoes – baked, roasted, mashed or boiled, salad, any which way
- With spinach and ricotta pie, or gibanica
- Accompaniment to a salad like this Panzanella and Olivier salad
- Tossed through pasta
- Alongside other grilled veggies or proteins like tofu or tempeh
- Part of a vegan charcuterie board
- On top of pizza
The options are honestly endless!
Tips for making chargrilled capsicums
Even though this recipe is very straightforward, here are a few tips and tricks to get the best results every time.
- Use larger, fleshier capsicums for this recipe. Smaller, skinnier ones fall apart much quicker. You can still use them, but you won’t get as big of a yield.
- Use red, orange or yellow bell peppers as they’re sweeter than green ones.
- Adjust the recipe to however many you have or want to prepare. I have used 5 as that’s a versatile number to enjoy straight away and save some for the coming days.
- Charring the capsicums make it super easy to remove the skin and adds that smokey flavour to them. You can push that as far as you want. I like mine at a happy medium where they’re around 70-80% charred on the outside.
- Trapping the heat softens them and makes it quicker to remove the skins. Don’t skip this step.
- I like to leave them whole as the juices that are trapped inside the pepper is delicious. It’s very easy to pull out the core when you’re peeling off the skin.
- You can freeze them for up to six months without the garlic parsley oil and enjoy them in a range of dishes like the ones mentioned above throughout the year.
- You don’t have to use a barbecue for this recipe. You can do it on a gas stove by putting them on the open flame and rotating them Doing it in the oven on a very high heat, broiler or directly on charcoals are some other options. Charring time will vary depending on what you use.
Fun fact: Did you know that red bell peppers are just green ones that have been left longer to change colour? This is why you’ll sometimes see a red and green pepper. Leaving them longer also makes them sweeter.
Other wonderful recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Gibanica Recipe (Serbian Cheese Pie)
- Dalmatian-Style Stuffed Artichokes
- Vegan Stuffed Peppers (Posne Punjene Paprike)
- Easy Garlic Parsley Sauce
- Serbian Baked Beans (Prebranac)