This Pepperonata Burger makes perfect use of a wide range of peppers, from sweet to hot. It is an Italian classic that can easily be a plant-based dinner or a rich topping for proteins.
What is Pepperonata?
Pepperonata (peh-peh-roh-NAH-tah) is an Italian vegetable dish of slow-cooked, or stewed bell peppers with onion and garlic. Of course there are variations and some Italian cooks will add tomatoes, eggplant, or other Italian vegetables.
The simplest way to make Pepperonata is to cook 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 sliced onion in 1/4 cup of olive oil over low heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 5 bell peppers that are quartered and of different colors and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the bell peppers are soft.
One Low Carb Use: The Pepperonata Burger
It’s sometimes served with a frittata, steak, chicken, or over pasta. It is often served cold as part of antipasti. Today’s recipe is for a simple Pepperonata Burger.
Since I have an abundance of different pepper varieties, I wanted to try a mix of hot, mild and sweet peppers. I also wanted to make it more of a main dish to have with hamburger, as I no longer eat bread or pasta, hence the Pepperonata Burger.
A Note on Selecting Ground Beef for Hamburgers:
If you want the tastiest burger, buy some with at least 20 percent fat. If I buy hamburger from the grocery store I look for “chuck” burger that is an 80-20% burger to fat ratio. My mom cooked in a time when all fat was considered bad and meat was to be cooked a long time for safety, so she will make burgers with very lean meat and cook them to well done. There is an abundance of scientific studies out there about good fats/bad fats/animal fats/etc. It is really difficult to make good health decisions because for every study that tells you about a particular nutritional fact, there is a study available that will refute that fact. Whatever your sentiments are about fat, I can tell you one thing……the burger has a whole lot more flavor with more fat in it. And the Pepperonata Burger takes flavor a big step further.
Pepperonata as a Plant-Based Dish
A pepperonata saute makes an excellent side dish or topping for vegetables like squash. If you want it to be plant-based, just exclude the anchovies. Click here for a great recipe for pepperonata over squash topped with a Romesco sauce.
Pepperonata Saute for Bunless Burgers
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs assorted peppers mostly sweet peppers with some hot peppers, chopped
- 1 large onion coarsely chopped
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms any kind you like, sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup pitted chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup pitted chopped green olives
- 3 Tbsp capers drained and chopped
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste or 2 anchovies minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over med-high heat.
- Add the peppers and onions to the pan and saute, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to brown. **NOTE: if you want to take the time to roast peppers and remove skins, it does make this dish better, particularly if you are using a lot of bell peppers with thick skin. I usually just chop fresh peppers with skins on because I'm always short of time.
- Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the peppers and mushrooms are extremely soft (about another 10- 15 minutes). Add the garlic and saute quickly being careful not to burn the garlic (only needs about 30 seconds).
- If you are serving the pepperonata as a topping for a burger, grill or saute the burger at this time while the pepper mix is cooking down.
- Remove the skillet with the pepper mix from the heat and stir in the olives, capers, vinegar, and anchovies. Stir in more olive oil if desired to make the peperonata moist and oily.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a little more vinegar if needed. Serve over a hamburger that you grill while the pepperonata is cooking down..
Another great recipe using pepperonata as a skillet sauté over butternut squash can be found by clicking here.
Online Coaching Available:
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