As a munchkin, when I was new to eating solid foods, my uncle sat me down in a high chair and entertained my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles with a “taste test” of foods—I was the first of many grandchildren that would entertain the fam. He’d give me a bite from a variety of items and everyone would laugh at my reaction. I’ve always had a pretty expressive face—I can’t hold back emotion worth a damn.
I remember my mom saying something about me not being too keen on green things or olives (cue the wrinkled brow and quick exit from my mouth) during the “taste test,” but if it was sweet, like canned peaches, I’d light up like fireworks. Chocolate frosting? Loved it so much I’d wear it.
(Chocolate eyebrows should be a thing.)
If I remember the story correctly, my uncle added something very spicy to the taste test, like a teeny, harmless bite of a spicy pepper. And whether I was ready for it or not as a wee one, I’m pretty sure he’s responsible for planting the seed that would grow into my current love affair with spicy, flavorful foods.
As the summer bumper crops make their way to my kitchen (thanks neighbors!), I’m honoring each and every edible miracle—inviting them to inspire something delicious.
Now, I know that banana peppers are usually pickled in some way, but I wanted to try something different with them. And the flavor that comes with roasting just makes my heart sing, kinda like that red-headed dolly above does.
So, I came up with this spicy/sweet vinaigrette recipe that can be used not only as a dressing for greens, sprouts and cooling veggies like cucumber, it also works great as a dressing for wraps, and as a flavoring for cooked chickpeas, lentils and buckwheat. Maybe toss some with seared kale, or use it to dress roasted Brussels sprouts. Experiment with it and be sure to let us know what you try.
Glass roasting dish
6 banana peppers
1 tbsp unrefined, virgin coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp fresh orange zest
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp raw, wild-harvested honey (can sub equal amount of any natural sweetener you like, or skip it altogether)
Fine-ground sea salt and pepper to taste
*Don’t have any banana peppers? Try this recipe with 1 roasted red pepper or 1 roasted poblano pepper instead (add 1/4 seeded, raw jalapeño for some kick) .
Let’s get started.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove stems, ribs and seeds.
3. Place peppers face up in a glass baking dish and drizzle with melted coconut oil.
Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes.
4. Transfer to blender and add olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh orange juice, orange zest, honey, lime juice, and blend until super smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. You can use the vinaigrette warm or chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours for use as a dressing for greens. Give it a good shake or re-blend if it separates (which preservative/thickener-free homemade dressings will do).
Try this vinaigrette with:
Cooked Buckwheat and Skillet-Seared Kale (make it a dinner bowl)
Remember, a little goes a long way and it’s fantastic paired with cooling veggies and sweet greens, sprouts, grains and legumes.
Now, I want to hear from YU. How will you use this Spicy Roasted Banana Pepper Vinaigrette? Tell us with a comment below.