A Multipurpose Roasted Red Pepper Salad

A simple dish for any occasion


There is no substitute for the real thing. This is especially true when it comes to food. How often have you tried to save time and gotten something pre-made that either had a weird aftertaste because of the preservatives, salty because of…well…too much salt, or had the consistency of soggy cardboard?  

This was the experience I had when I tried to save time and was going to friends for a barbecue. They asked me to bring some extras. I had put together some fun appetizers, but wanted to save a little work for myself.  I decided to pick up some jarred roasted peppers. Bad move. They were sitting in liquid and had no crunch and no flavor. As a chef, I was pretty embarrassed. So much for shortcuts.
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I decided to make up for it and cook up some of my own roasted peppers. I had another dinner party to go to with an Italian theme, and since I had to make a side dish, I thought I could try my hand at making them and put in my own twist.

Usually, if you’re just making a few peppers, you can literally roast them over your stove top flame to get the skin black and bubbly so they’re easier to peel. I had to make enough for 20 people, and it was much easier for me to put them on multiple pans to roast in the oven. I prefer to clean the peppers beforehand, then cut them in half and take out the seeds and stem. I find they’re easier to peel after they cool.

I’ve used these as a side dish, on hamburgers, chopped small and added to a meatloaf, even as a pasta sauce. For the sauce, I chopped the peppers small and I added some pesto. Wow!

Oh, by the way-try to make these the night before you use them. They're amazing when they really get the chance to marinate!

This recipe is enough for about 10 people.  

Roasted Red Pepper Salad


5 red peppers, cleaned and cut in half
1/3 C olive oil, plus 3 tbsps
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 oz pine nuts
2 oz golden raisins
2-3 tbsps balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On foil wrapped baking pans lightly coated with 1 tbsp oil, place the peppers cut side down. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, turn over, roast for another 20-25 or until the skin is black and bubbles.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tbsps olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add pine nuts and raisins and cook until nuts just start to toast. Take off heat. Let cool. Pour into a bowl large enough to hold peppers. Add balsamic, salt and pepper.

Take peppers out of the oven and cover with another pan or a damp, clean tea towel for 15 minutes until cooled. Peel and slice them length wise, about ½” wide. Add to mixture in bowl and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Can be served hot or cold, but I like them best at room temperature.

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