If you’re wondering what to do with extra bell peppers, let them starring role in this succulent side dish. Tossed in a vegan black bean sauce, this has enough umami to melt in your mouth.
The BEST Bell Pepper Recipe
As the weather turns warmer, the bell peppers appear in a greater variety of colors and the price declines makes them more affordable.
This is my all time favorite way to eat bell peppers. Cooked al dente whether on a grill or seared on a hot pan then tossed in the fermented black beans sauce brightened with fresh ginger and onion.
The Secret Sauce
You could buy a pre-made black bean sauce, or you can easily make this one @home. You will need:
- Chinese fermented black beans
- Healthful oil with a high smoke point – such as coconut, avocado, peanut, or grapeseed
- Green onion
Chinese fermented black beans are an incredibly rich source of umami. They have a funk to them almost like cheese.
And like cheese in American dishes, they are sprinkled on a number of Chinese ones. Fermented black beans add an uncharacteristic funky flavor that is in a category all its own.
If you are unable to find them, you can use a jarred black bean sauce. If you do find them, they will last quite awhile stored in the fridge.
How to Make the Best Bell Pepper Recipe
Step 1: Chop
- Slice the bell peppers into about 2″ pieces. This can be done shaving off sections around the stem and scraping away any excess white membrane on the inside with a spoon.
- Slice the green onion, keeping the white and green parts separated, since they will be added to the sauce at different times.
- Mince about 1/2 Tb of fresh ginger.
- Mince the fermented black beans into smaller, manageable flecks to melt into the sauce.
Notice how we cut the vegetables in order from cleanest to dirtiest, just so there wouldn’t be fermented black bean on everything.
Step 2: Make sauce
Put the oil, ginger, and white part of the green onion in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and turn off. Add the green part of the green onion, but do reserve some for garnish if desired.
Step 3: Sear
A cast iron pan works best for this application, or even a non stick one.
Heat the pan to medium high. Toss the bell peppers with 1 Tb oil and salt. They really do need some salt before they start cooking.
Spread an even layer of peppers into the pan. Sear for 1-2 minutes until there is just some charred black color appearing. Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes on the other side.
You want to keep the peppers al dente rather than soggy. If cooked too long, they will start to look weepy.
That’s not the end of the world, but they just taste better with a little bit of crunch left to them.
Step 4: Toss
Toss the cooked peppers with the black bean sauce. Season to taste with additional salt if needed.
Step 5: Serve
Garnish with reserved green onion and serve hot or at room temperature.
This can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. The bell peppers will get softer as they sit.
Ideally, this dish is best served the same day for al dente peppers for a great make ahead Chinese dish.
- This also makes a wonderful bbq side dish. The bell peppers would taste so nice seared on a charcoal grill outdoors.
- If you don’t want to purchase Chinese fermented black beans, you can substitute the black beans with the same amount of jarred black bean sauce.
Blistered & Blackened Green Beans
- 1/4 c oil
- 1 lb green beans stems removed
- 2 Tb Chinese fermented black beans minced
- 1 Tb ginger minced
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- Heat oil to medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add an even layer of green beans and fry for 1-2 minutes until the skins are blistered and slightly wrinkled. Remove from pan and set aside on a separate pan. Keep frying green beans in a single layer until all the beans are fried. Add additional oil to the pan as needed.
- Heat 1 Tb oil to medium heat, using the same pan the beans were fried in. Add black beans and ginger and stir fry for about 1 minute.
- Return blistered green beans to the pan. Season with sugar and salt to taste. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until beans are heated through.
Do you love colorful veggies like bell peppers? Please spread the Asian ♥ and share!