UNITED STATES—I love all things spicy, but even I have my limits. I love the habanero pepper, but that is probably the hottest that I will ever go. On top of that, the ghost pepper which I have always been tempted to cook with scares me to the death. With that being said, most Americans are more familiar with the proverbial bell pepper (green), as well as yellow, orange and red peppers. Out of those four, I really enjoy red peppers and I will share why.

Green peppers are commonly used by most Americans with cooking, and when it comes to fajitas that is perhaps the ONLY time I utilize yellow peppers. I don’t know what it is about yellow peppers, but I absolutely, and I mean absolutely hate them. They have a weird taste that is so hard for me to digest or even stomach. So this turns my attention to the red pepper. Let me point this out because people automatically think the red pepper of the bunch is spicy, but that is not the case. It has a little bit of heat, but it’s actually on the sweet side if you roast them or sautéed them with a little butter in a skillet.

On a whim, I decided to make chicken quesadillas one day and utilized Smoked Gouda (one of my absolute favorites), and I diced up some red peppers and sautéed them. I combined the grilled chicken with the red peppers, let them simmer for a distinct time frame and viola, history was in the making. I cannot recall the last time I made a dish where I barely got to taste it because it was eaten so quickly. It was like the perfect combination, with the smoky and sweetness of the red pepper pairing perfectly with the chicken and the Smoked Gouda cheese melting to perfection.

I created a dish that I adored and has become a staple in my culinary arsenal. However, I don’t just limit myself to utilize the red pepper for a Mexican feast. They work great in a pasta salad, I know green is the go to pepper, but red is just as great and it adds another vibrant color to the dish. Red peppers pair well with seafood, pork and even beef. It’s quite versatile in my opinion, and provides that extra touch of genius if you ask me. They can be used to create delicious sauces if you throw in some garlic, ginger, lemon juice, lime juice and a few other things.

Be aware that you can utilize red peppers with other vegetables to make a vegan dish that teases the palate, but at the same time is tasty. I mean sautéed red peppers, with broccoli, water chestnuts, carrots, sugar snap peas, honey and soy sauce. It genius! So America, do not place yourself into a box when it comes to cooking. An ingredient that might seem like a staple and can be used for certain dishes can actually be used for anything if paired correctly. Red peppers are great for meat dishes, veggie dishes and as a surprise with grains like rice pasta, or even legumes. You can take an ordinary dish and make it into something stellar. If you think a red pepper is hot, think again, it’s a far more playful vegetable than many others that don’t always play well with others.

Written By Kelsey Thomas