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Do as the French do, and load up your grilled cheese sandwich with sweet roasted peppers.

Few things pack more flavor into a smaller package than the roasted red pepper. Earthy and smoky, vegetal and bright and texturally unique, roasted red peppers add umami, vitamins and color to anything they touch. Learn how to make roasted red peppers at home, then check out six of our favorite ways to cook with roasted red peppers, and add a little bright red pop to dinner tonight.

French Grilled Cheese (above)

The most well-known French grilled cheese sandwich is the croque monsieur, made with ham and Gruyère on pain au levain, with a béchamel sauce covering it all. My sandwich here captures the spirit of that classic, with roasted red peppers standing in for the ham and no sauce. I love béchamel, but sometimes it’s nice to skip that extra step.

Photo: Penny De Los Santos

Roasted Red Peppers with Anchovies and Tomatoes

My take on the pepper-and-anchovy antipasto that is so deservedly popular with Italian cooks is a little different from the usual, and very easy to throw together. Serve it as an antipasto, or as a contorno to go with grilled meat or fish, or chop the finished peppers with all the other ingredients and use it to top a dish of pasta. I use big late-summer peppers, mostly red but throwing in a few yellow ones for a colorful touch.

Photo: Kate Sears
Go meatless in the morning, and don’t regret it.

Broccoli, Smoked Mozzarella and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata 

Smoked mozzarella (which has a savory, meaty quality), salty Parmigiano-Reggiano, sweet roasted red peppers, and broccoli (with its vegetal and slightly bitter flavor) add up to a complex, balanced, and satisfying breakfast or brunch dish. Save the broccoli stalks for soup or salad.

(Photo: Kris Lindenmuth)
Hearty and savory, with a satisfying acidic bite, this pan bagnat is the best way to honor those leftover green beans. No microwave involved.

Green Bean Pan Bagnat

Nobody eats the leftover green beans after Thanksgiving, and let me tell you why: They’re either properly cooked or overcooked by the time they get to the table. If you reheat them, they’ll turn to mush. The solution: Don’t reheat them! Let them come to room temperature (it’ll take about half an hour), then stick ’em in your leftovers sandwich. This isn’t your typical leftovers sandwich in that we’re leaving pretty much all the other prepared food for other (equally delicious) leftovers sandwiches. The pan bagnat is a French-Mediterranean baguette sandwich that stars tuna, hard-boiled eggs, roasted red peppers, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and any riff on a vinaigrette. Crisp (or at least moderately crisp) green beans, no matter how they’re prepared, are a great addition.

grilled scallions
Simply peel away the charred part to reveal sweet, smoky, tender scallion beneath. With a dip in romesco sauce, it’s about as good a grilled vegetarian bite as it gets.

Grilled Scallions with Romesco Sauce

This grilled scallion recipe, served with homemade romesco sauce, is a much-anticipated dish each spring in Spain. Romesco is a very simple sauce made by blending almonds, roasted red peppers (which you should definitely do yourself), garlic and olive oil into a thick paste. I love the way it holds onto anything you dip into it.

High-Energy Snacks
Spending some time standing outside this weekend? These high-energy snacks will keep you fueled up.

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Focaccia

The secret to my chewy, airy, hearty focaccia lies in the addition of whole-wheat flour in the dough. Whole wheat contains wheat germ and bran, lending a deeper, more complex flavor and structure to the dough, and when paired with softer all-purpose flour, the baked texture of this Italian classic is the perfect combination of airy and hearty.