Irresistible Peperonata: The Ultimate Bell Pepper Delight

Easy and Delicious Peperonata Recipe - Italian Sweet Bell Peppers with Olive Oil, Onion, and Tomatoes

Discover the mouthwatering magic of peperonata – a vibrant Italian side dish that elevates bell peppers to stardom!

Ever wondered about dishes where bell peppers take center stage? Look no further than peperonata, a sensational southern Italian creation that celebrates the sweet, succulent flavors of summer bell peppers. This versatile dish is perfect alongside roasted meats or as a tempting topping for crusty country bread.

Peperonata transforms humble bell peppers into a luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth experience. Slow-cooked in olive oil with onions, garlic, and tomatoes, this dish captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine. The natural sweetness of ripe peppers shines through, creating a gentle sweet-and-sour symphony that will tantalize your taste buds.

While best made with peak-season summer peppers, don’t let that stop you from enjoying peperonata year-round. A tiny sprinkle of sugar can help balance out-of-season peppers. Just remember – green bell peppers need not apply! Their lack of natural sweetness makes them unsuitable for this pepper-centric masterpiece.

Crafting the Perfect Peperonata

Begin your peperonata journey by slicing vibrant red, yellow, and orange bell peppers into strips, carefully removing any white ribs. Gently sauté sliced garlic in a generous pool of olive oil until it hints at golden perfection. Next, introduce sliced onions to the mix, allowing them to soften slightly before welcoming the star of the show – those glorious pepper strips.

As the peppers begin to soften and compress, introduce a splash of tomato puree (easily made by blending canned whole tomatoes) and your choice of aromatic herbs. Basil brings a fresh, summery note, while oregano or marjoram offer earthy depth.

Let patience be your virtue as the peperonata simmers, allowing the peppers to reach peak tenderness and bathe in their own rich, reduced juices mingled with olive oil. A touch of wine vinegar at the finish line brightens the entire dish, creating a perfectly balanced flavor profile.

While delicious hot off the stove, peperonata truly shines when served at room temperature after an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Its versatility knows no bounds – enjoy it as a vibrant side dish, as part of an antipasto spread, or generously spooned over rustic bread slices.

One bite of this pepper-packed marvel will have you wondering why bell peppers don’t star in more dishes. Even if peperonata remains their singular claim to fame, it’s a showstopper worth celebrating!

Peperonata (Sweet Bell Peppers With Olive Oil, Onion, and Tomatoes)


  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 pounds red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers (about 6 large bell peppers), stemmed, seeded, and sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup pureed tomatoes (see notes)
  • 2 sprigs basil or oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar


  1. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it just starts to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in onions, increase heat to medium-high, and cook for 2 minutes. Introduce the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add tomato and basil or oregano sprigs, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then lower heat to maintain. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until peppers are wonderfully soft, about 1 hour. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt. Incorporate the vinegar (see notes). Remove and discard herb sprigs. Serve immediately, or chill and enjoy later – reheated, slightly chilled, or at room temperature.


For pureed tomatoes, use either briefly cooked and concentrated fresh peeled and seeded tomatoes, or blend canned whole tomatoes with their juices (often the superior choice due to consistent quality). Ripe summer bell peppers should provide ample sweetness to balance the vinegar. If using less sweet peppers, adjust with tiny pinches of sugar until the flavor harmonizes perfectly.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
269 Calories
21g Fat
21g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 269
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 54mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 393mg 1,966%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 564mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Gluten free,Vegan,Vegetarian,Mediterranean,Low-carb

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