Love transforming simple everyday ingredients into a delectable recipe. This baby bell pepper salad shows how we can take advantage of the sweetness of common vegetables and make a side dish worthy of any main.
- Why You’ll Love This Baby Bell Peppers Salad
- What are Baby Bell Peppers?
- How to Prepare Baby Bell Peppers
- How to Peel Baby Bell Peppers?
- Why is Garlic Sweet After Roasting?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Baby Bell Peppers Salad
One of the things you’ll love about this salad is that it’s not affected by seasonality. You can pick up tomatoes and baby bell peppers at any time and create this recipe.
This recipe also plays on the produce’s natural sweetness, be it eaten raw, grilled or roasted. The tomatoes’ freshness mixed through with the soft grilled baby bell peppers is quite delicious, yet so simple in flavours.
The pièce de resistance of this recipe is the whole roasted garlic. Kept in its skin to keep the cloves intact and from burning, it is incredibly delicious.
I am mindful that not everyone eats whole roasted garlic, so I decided to serve it on the side. Grab your share of the salad, pick out a couple of warm garlic cloves and just mash it into the tomatoes and baby bell peppers with the back of your fork. Eat it together, and you’ll see why I love it so much!
What are Baby Bell Peppers?
Baby bell peppers or mini bell peppers are smaller versions of the bell peppers or capsicums as we know it. Baby bell peppers are usually sold in a punnet with mixed colours to include a medley of yellow, red and orange varieties.
Each pepper’s average size is about 7 cm in length with one end that has a stem that is typically removed and not eaten with the tapered, pointy finish on the other end. The skin is ever so vibrant in colour, thin but firm and glossy.
Baby bell peppers are sweet and crunchy and are fantastic for snacking. I often pack a handful in my daughter’s school lunch. I prefer these baby bell peppers to the regular ones because they are sweeter.
Luckily for us, they are available all year round, so they fall in the reliable category for me when needing to create a salad recipe.
How to Prepare Baby Bell Peppers
As mentioned, baby bell peppers can be eaten on its own so just give them a quick wash and munch away!
If you’re going to cook them, most people would remove the top stem, slice it down lengthwise and remove the small core with its minimal seeds.
You could also just remove the whole stem and pull out the core, leaving the pepper intact. This makes it the perfect cavity for stuffing which is great for canapes, appetiser or part of your grazing board.
Peppers are great for baking, roasting and stewing as they tend to hold their shape well during the cooking process. You can remove the stem, throw it in whole or chop them up to the size you require.
How to Peel Baby Bell Peppers?
The best way to peel baby bell peppers is to put it through a cooking process of some kind first to loosen the skin. In this recipe, they are placed on a grill pan and grilled on each side for about 5-7 minutes on medium to high heat.
When they are still hot, move them onto a plate and cover it with a bowl. Leave it for 15 minutes, and this becomes a natural steaming process.
The trick is to do it immediately after the peppers are removed from heat as it needs to be hot for this to work. Once this is done, you can use a small paring knife to scrape off the skin, and it will come away easily.
Why is Garlic Sweet After Roasting?
Garlic is one of the most fascinating vegetables around. Incredible how something so small can create such big flavours. How you prepare the garlic and cook it will change its texture, intensity, and aroma. Something as simple as slicing or mincing the garlic can alter its pungency.
Roasting garlic is, by far, one of my favourite ways to eat it. Cooking the garlic changes its flavour profile as the chemicals break down when put through heat.
The carbohydrates and sugars break down into simpler sugars such as fructose and glucose, giving the garlic those dreamy, sweet finishes.
Flavour/Texture: This is super, uber garlicky! That is the overpowering flavours you’ll get, but roasted garlic is incredibly sweet. If you’ve never tried it, please do. It will change your world!
The tomatoes are juicy and sweet; the baby bell peppers are grilled to perfection, bringing the recipe charred flavours while the dill adds anise-like taste.
As mentioned above, if you think eating whole garlic is too much, you can omit it altogether, and you’ll just have a very simple tomato and bell pepper salad with a basic vinaigrette.
Ease: Easy! There is a bit of grilling and roasting to be done but nothing complicated. You’re just charring the bell peppers on the grill quickly and placing whole garlic into the oven.
Everything else is just cutting, smashing and shaking. It’s also simple because the ingredients are easy to procure. No need to make a special trip to specialty stores.
Time: This recipe takes 50 minutes but don’t let the time put you off. 45 minutes is spent in the oven with the garlic roasting away beautifully. All the additional prep can be done while that is happening. Prep for your main dish can also occur to maximise your time spent in the kitchen.
Garlic: The hero of the dish. Get 2 whole garlic and make sure you get a good bulb, free of dents and bruises.
Olive oil: Any good quality olive oil will do.
Baby bell peppers: If possible, get a variety of baby bell peppers in terms of colour. They usually come in small packets of red, yellow and orange. This will just help to enhance the colours of the dish.
Truss tomatoes: Plump, red and juicy truss tomatoes are truly great for salads. Get medium-sized ones and make sure the skin is smooth and wrinkly.
Cherry tomatoes: Just offering a different type of tomato to add to the truss tomatoes. Gives the recipe different textures. You can certainly use coloured cherry tomatoes too to give it more colour.
Shallots: I love the combination of fresh shallots and tomatoes. Shallots are less abrasive in taste compared to the onion and have a richer flavour too. Thinly slice and scatter throughout the recipe.
Dill: Aromatic, anise-like herb that will help to lift the recipe. Love the smell of dill and how you can smell it a mile away!
White wine vinegar: This will help to counterbalance the pungent garlic for the vinaigrette.
Salt and pepper: To taste
How To Make Roast Garlic
Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Cut the top off the garlic to expose the cloves. Baste with ½ tbsp of olive oil.
Place the whole garlic in a muffin tray to keep it intact and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
How to Grill Baby Bell Peppers
Coat baby bell peppers with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
On medium to high heat, place the baby bell peppers on a grill pan for about 5-7 minutes on each side until well charred.
Place the hot baby bell peppers on a plate and cover it with a bowl and allow it to steam for 15 minutes.
Remove, cut off the stem and cut down one side and open it up and lay flat on a chopping board. Scrape off the skin with your knife. Then cut into 4-6 squares.
How to Prepare the Rest of the Ingredients
Cut the truss tomatoes into large wheels.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Remove the skin and slice shallot very thinly.
Pick all the leaves off the stalk of the dill.
How to Make Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
When the garlic has finished roasting, pick out 3 cloves with a small fork or knife. Keep the rest of the garlic intact.
Using the fork to mash the garlic until it forms a paste.
In a jar, add the garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and ¼ salt.
Shake until everything is well combined.
How To Assemble The Salad
Add the truss tomato wheels, cherry tomatoes, roasted baby bell peppers, shallots, ¾ of the dill leaves and the dressing.
Fold gently until well combined.
Place on a serving platter, sprinkle with the rest of the dill leaves for garnish.
Add the 2 whole roasted garlic on the side of the plate for people to help themselves. Works best if they are eaten together with the salad.
Season with pepper.
Variations and Substitutions
Baby bell pepper substitutes: If you can’t find the baby or mini variety, any bell pepper will do. A large one will suffice and try and get one that’s not red; otherwise, it will just blend in with the tomatoes.
Any tomato will work: If you can’t find truss tomatoes or they are costly, any other red tomato will be fine to use. Heirloom tomatoes are great for aesthetic reasons, but a good ol’ beefsteak is also ok.
Too many alliums: If you think eating a whole garlic is already more than enough, you can omit the shallots.
Dill substitute: The closest substitute for dill are fennel fronds. So if you happen to have fennel at home, you can use the fronds instead to save you from buying additional dill.
Otherwise, no other herb comes close, and I think this herb makes such a big difference to the salad. Another herb which would be great would be basil. Basil and tomato are a marriage made in heaven.
Great Mains for This Salad
Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken: While the grill is on, put the chicken and the bell peppers on to create that lovely charred and smoky flavours. The cilantro lime marinade on the chicken would work so well with the garlic vinaigrette of the salad.
BBQ Baked Pork Chops: These baked pork chops are rubbed with paprika and garlic powder before adding the flavoursome BBQ sauce. The whole roasted garlic with the bell peppers and tomatoes would complement this main perfectly!
Salmon Wellington: Take your salmon game to the next level and make this gorgeous salmon wellington. Cut through the richness of the fish with the bell pepper and tomato salad with a tangy vinaigrette.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can usually find truss tomatoes at any of your supermarkets. If not, head to your local farmers markets.
Most truss tomatoes are glasshouse grown, which means that they are grown in a very controlled environment. The beauty of that is that they are therefore available all year round.
To improve the longevity of this herb, wrap it loosely in a damp paper towel. Then place it inside a resealable zip lock bag and store it in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. You’ll be able to get a week or so out of it.
This recipe is a bit tricky to make in advance. You can certainly cut up the bell peppers, tomatoes and shallots in advance. However, you’d have to roast the garlic and grill the bell peppers closer to the time.
The optimum time of eating the whole roasted garlic is when it comes out of the oven. You also can’t make the roasted garlic salad dressing until the roasting process is done.
Apart from the fact that you want a good garlic, you also want to make sure you get your money’s worth. Garlic can be an expensive commodity, so knowing how to select one of good quality is essential.
Pick garlic that has it’s skin intact, and it’s taut rather than slightly wrinkly. When you hold the garlic in your hand, there should be no indentations or soft spots which may indicate spoilage.
The weight of the garlic is also a good indicator. A solid, dense garlic is what we’re after. If it’s overly light, it may mean the garlic has dried up and no longer plump and meaty.
Drizzling the roasted garlic vinaigrette on top of the tomatoes and grilled baby bell peppers just makes for the best finish for this recipe. The dill adds anise-like flavours as it adds a tinge of warmth. Really delicious and an easy side dish to serve up any time of the week.
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Baby Bell Peppers Salad with Roasted Garlic
- 2 garlic, whole
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 8 bell peppers, baby
- 3 tomatoes, truss, medium
- 150 g cherry tomatoes
- 1 shallot
- 4 stalks dill
- pepper, to taste
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Cut the top off the garlic to expose the cloves. Baste with ½ tbsp of olive oil. Place the whole garlic in a muffin tray to keep it intact and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Coat baby bell peppers with 1 tbsp of olive oil. On medium to high heat, place the baby bell peppers on a grill pan for about 5-7 minutes on each side until well charred.
- Place the baby bell peppers on a plate and cover it with a bowl and allow it to steam for 15 minutes. Remove, cut off the stem and cut down one side and open it up and lay flat on a chopping board. Scrape off the skin with your knife. Then cut into 4-6 squares.
- Cut the truss tomatoes into large wheels.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
- Remove the skin and slice shallot very thinly.
- Pick all the leaves off the stalk of the dill.
- When the garlic has finished roasting, pick out 3 cloves with a small fork or knife. Keep the rest of the garlic intact.
- Using the fork to mash the garlic until it forms a paste.
- In a jar, add the garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and ¼ salt.
- Shake until everything is well combined.
- Add the truss tomato wheels, cherry tomatoes, roasted baby bell peppers, shallots, ¾ of the dill leaves and the dressing.
- Fold gently until well combined.
- Place on a serving platter, sprinkle with the rest of the dill leaves for garnish.
- Add the 2 whole roasted garlic on the side of the plate for people to help themselves. Works best if they are eaten together with the salad.
- Season with pepper.
- You can use any tomato you wish. Doesn’t have to be truss tomatoes.
- A medley of cherry tomatoes would certainly amp up the colour aesthetic of the recipe.
- If you can’t find baby bell peppers, you can use any bell peppers. However, select the smallest ones you can find for ease of grilling.
- The whole roasted garlic is only served on the side as not everyone likes to eat them whole. Serve with a couple of small forks so it’s easier to pry them out.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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