Summer is the perfect time to make the luscious classic Spanish piperade, when bell peppers of all hues are abundant and for a short time, relatively inexpensive. That said, feel free to make this Basque-inspired recipe any time of year; it adds color and flavor to almost any kind of meal.
What is piperade? It’s a classic dish originating from the Basque country of Spain that includes, in addition to bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, and garlic.
It’s a cousin of the Italian classic pepperonata. You might even say that it’s a close relative of Hungarian Lecsó. What all these dishes have in common is the lovely mix of bell peppers and tomatoes. Here are more details about piperade.
There are many regional variations of this recipe, some of which include hot chili peppers. We’re going to stay on the mild side in this recipe, with a jolt of flavor from Spanish (smoked) paprika. Or, if you’re not a fan of spicy flavors at all, there’s always the option of using sweet paprika for flavor.
How to serve piperade
- Serve at room temperature as an appetizer with slices of fresh or toasted baguette or on its own.
- Piperade is a flavorful side dish when you need more colorful vegetables on the plate as a side dish with almost any kind of meal. It’s a great partner for almost any sort of hot or cold pasta or grain dish.
- Serve in or alongside wraps and sandwiches. It’s also a tasty embellishment for vegan burgers, whether or not you serve them on buns.
Ingredients for piperade
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onion, 1 medium
- Garlic, 2 to 3 cloves
- Red bell peppers, 2
- Green bell peppers, 2
- Yellow or orange bell peppers, 2
- Tomatoes, 2 medium firm, ripe
- Sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed or not
- Smoked (Spanish) paprika (or sweet paprika)
- Fresh parsley
- Salt and black pepper
Recipe is adapted from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
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- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 2- to 3-inch narrow strips
- 2 green bell peppers, cut into 2- to 3-inch narrow strips
- 2 yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into 2- to 3-inch narrow strips
- 2 medium firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed or not), cut into strips
- 1 to 2 teaspoons smoked (Spanish) paprika, to taste (or sweet paprika for milder flavor)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
- Add the bell peppers, and continue to sauté until they’ve softened a bit, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Stir in the fresh tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and paprika. Cover and continue to cook over low heat until the peppers are tender but not overdone, about 10 minutes. If the mixture needs a bit more moisture, add a small amount of water.
- Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Taste to see if you’d like to add more paprika. Serve warm or at room temperature.
See more plant-forward salads & sides.