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The 7 Best Substitutes For Green Peppers

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Green peppers are a salad drawer staple for many home chefs. We all have a favorite recipe that includes these tangy, crisp, and flavorsome vegetables!

Green peppers bring a great taste to many dishes, including Cajun and Chinese cuisine. However, can you use anything to replace green peppers?

What are the best substitutes to use? You can use other types of pepper, such as red or yellow bell peppers or poblano peppers. You can also substitute green peppers with other alternatives such as zucchini, green beans, and celery.

Cooking a recipe that asks for green peppers, but your cupboard is bare? Don’t panic; these substitutes will make sure your dish still tastes delicious!

Let’s take a look at the 7 best alternatives for green peppers and how to use them.

What Are Green Peppers?

Green peppers are actually the same variety of pepper as the red and yellow versions! There is not a specific type of plant that produces green peppers. The green pepper is simply the unripe form of the classic red or yellow bell pepper!

So, when you see three different trays of peppers in the store, they most likely all came from the same group of plants! The yellow and red fruits are ripe, whereas the green ones have been picked before they ripen.

All of these peppers are the fruits of the species Capsicum annuum. In North America, this is called a bell pepper, whereas in the United Kingdom it is simply pepper.

Whatever you call them, these are the sweeter forms of pepper, not to be confused with the hot and spicy chili pepper!

Bell peppers are large and plump fruits, packed full of flavor. The texture of the flesh of these fruits is crisp, with a thin outer skin. Almost all of the fruit is eaten, apart from the stalk and seeds.

All three colors of pepper can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked the texture of the pepper softens, but the flavor is not greatly changed. Famous recipes for cooked pepper include Chinese stir-fries and Hungarian goulash.

What Do Green Peppers Taste Like?

Of the three colors of pepper, green peppers are the most commonly used. This may be because a green pepper is easier to transport and store, whereas a ripe red or yellow pepper has a shorter shelf life.

Whatever the reason, many of us have been enjoying green peppers as part of our dinnertime recipes for many years, and we are not about to give them up!

So, why are green peppers so popular? Basically, it is because of their incredible taste! No other vegetable gives quite the same tangy flavor, either raw or cooked.

When eaten raw, green peppers have a slightly bitter taste. This is because they are not completely ripe, unlike their red and yellow counterparts.

You might detect a hint of sweetness in green pepper, especially if it was picked as it was beginning to ripen.

Many people enjoy raw green peppers as part of a salad, but you might find that others will turn their nose up at them!

Not everyone enjoys the bitterness of these unripe peppers, but they can be sweetened up with some flavorsome hummus or sweet chili sauce.

But when cooked, green peppers really come into their own! They are much more spicy and aromatic than a ripe red or yellow pepper and lend their flavor well to sauces and casseroles.

The 7 Best Green Pepper Substitutes

So now we’ve got you all excited about green peppers, we need to turn our thoughts to what you can use as a substitute for this delicious fruity pepper.

There are plenty of options available, so don’t be disheartened if your local store has run out of green peppers!

Here are the 7 best substitutes for green peppers:

1. Red Or Yellow Bell Peppers

Since green peppers are simply red or yellow peppers that are not yet ripe, it makes sense that our first substitute is the more colorful form of these bell peppers!

Ripe bell peppers will give you a very similar flavor to green peppers, but without the bitter tang. They will also maintain the same texture as green pepper when cooked.

Red and yellow peppers are slightly sweeter than the green version, so you may wish to adjust your recipe accordingly.

However, if your family is not keen on the bitterness of green peppers, then a simple swap to red or yellow peppers may be enough to keep them happy!

2. Poblano Peppers

The poblano is a chili pepper, so only opt for this substitute if you are looking for a little bit of heat in your recipe. We wouldn’t recommend adding raw poblano pepper to a summer salad, as your guests may not thank you for it!

However, when it comes to heat the poblano is relatively mild, and most people will be able to handle this spicy pepper.

The poblano is a deep green color and will work perfectly as a green pepper substitute, particularly if you are making a spicy dish or want to jazz up your midweek stuffed pepper recipe.

3. Celery

Looking for a bit of crunch in your salad, but your family keeps picking out the green pepper? Try some diced celery next time!

Celery has a mild and subtle flavor and will not overwhelm the other ingredients in your dish.

It can be substituted for green pepper in both raw and cooked dishes and is a great way to get some vegetable goodness into your family dinner.

4. Jalapeno Peppers

A word of caution here: the jalapeno pepper is a chili pepper, and is much spicier than any of the other substitutes on our list!

However, we’ve included it as the base flavor of the jalapeno is almost identical to green pepper, just with an extra layer of hot spiciness.

So, if you’re cooking a hearty vegetarian chili or spicy fajita mix, jalapeno peppers can make a great substitute. Just remember that you might not need as much chili powder to avoid making a dish that will be too hot to handle!

5. Zucchini

Diced or sliced zucchini is a good substitute for green pepper in cooked dishes. It will soak up other flavors well, and add a splash of green to the finished recipe.

If you are making a stir-fry, green pepper and zucchini take about the same length of time to cook.

For dishes that are slow-cooked over a longer period of time, add the zucchini at a later stage, otherwise, this delicate vegetable may become overcooked and mushy.

6. Green Beans

Green beans can make a great substitute for green pepper in cooked dishes.

They work particularly well in recipes such as a Chinese stir-fry or Thai curry, as the color and texture of the green bean will be very similar to green pepper when lightly cooked.

This substitute is not all that similar to green pepper in terms of flavor, but if you want to get some nutritional goodness into your family’s dinner then this is a great place to start!

7. Roasted Peppers

In the mood for some pepper on your pizza or in your fajita wraps? If you don’t have any green pepper then reach for that jar of roasted peppers that have been lurking at the back of the pantry shelves for months!

Roasted peppers are perfectly preserved in oil and are ideal if you need sliced pepper in a hurry. And best of all, they are already cooked, so can be added to any dish at the last minute.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the best substitutes for green peppers, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

What spices can be used as a green pepper substitute?

If you don’t have any other vegetables to use in place of the green pepper, you can try to mimic the flavor by using spices from your cupboard.

The obvious place to start is with a generous dash of dried bell peppers. These are a great store cupboard staple and will work well in a wide range of dishes.

If you don’t have any dried bell peppers, then remember that many of your commonly used spices are made from pepper! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Paprika—mild, made from dried bell peppers. Available either smoked or unsmoked.
  • Chili powder—a blend of dried bell peppers and chili peppers. Available in a range of different heat levels.
  • Cayenne pepper—hot, made from the super-spicy Cayenne chili pepper.

What seasoning is good on green peppers?

Looking for ways to make your green peppers a bit zingier?

This slightly bitter vegetable sometimes needs a bit of help to bring out its best side, but luckily it pairs well with many other spices and flavors.

From your herb and spice rack, try using smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, and garlic powder to bring your green pepper to life.

Liquid marinades that work well with green pepper include balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and soy sauce.

Green pepper goes very well with anything salty, such as feta cheese, ham, or bacon. It will also add a great flavor to milder foods such as lentils, couscous, and eggs.

Try a green pepper and bacon omelet sprinkled with thyme and oregano—we promise you won’t be disappointed!

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