Roasted Bell Pepper Salad
on May 22, 2023
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This roasted bell pepper salad has a mix of red, yellow and orange peppers with Kalamata olives, cucumbers and red onions. The toasted bread gives the salad something crunchy and is inspired by a classic panzanella. Try vegetables as a base for your next salad instead of lettuce. No offense to leafy greens, but this salad delivers on crunch and flavor in the best way.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This salad is like a panzanella except it has peppers instead of tomatoes. I love a bread salad. And that bread needs to be toasted into croutons, so you get crunch and texture able to hold up to the dressing and the rest of the ingredients.
You might never go back to buying jarred roasted peppers. The recipe calls for roasting peppers under the broiler in the oven. Yes, you can buy them at the grocery, but you should try this at home. It’s much less expensive, and the flavor of freshly roasted peppers is excellent.
It has a fantastic Italian vinaigrette. With a mix of garlic, oregano and other dried seasonings and red wine vinegar, this simple dressing really makes the salad. The acidity and herby taste of vinaigrette is beautiful with the sweetness of the roasted bell peppers.
How To Roast Bell Peppers
If you’ve never roasted peppers at home, the best way to do this is under the high heat of the broiler in the oven. I know I can’t be the only one who’s seen chefs on TV do it right on the flame of a gas burner on the stove, but the oven is less messy and more consistent. Also, you can roast all the peppers at once.
To roast bell peppers:
- Preheat the broiler on high heat. Before you do this, you should adjust the oven rack, so it is close to the broiler. You want the peppers to be right under the flame.
- Put the peppers on a foil-lined sheet pan. I do this for easy clean-up.
- Broil the peppers. Turn them every few minutes, so they are charred on all sides.
- Put the peppers in a large bowl and cover it. When you let the peppers sit for 15 minutes, the condensation will do the work, which makes the skin easy to rub off.
This is what you need:
- Bell peppers: I use red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers and orange bell peppers. They are always my go-to colors because I don’t care for the bitterness of green ones.
- Bread: You can toast whatever crusty loaf you have like ciabatta, sourdough or country bread. Just be sure to tear it into pieces rather than cutting it into cubes, so you have those nice uneven edges.
- Olives: Pitted Kalamata olives are excellent for their their salty flavor and meaty texture.
- Cucumbers: I dice the cucumbers to a size that’s similar to the olives. They add crunch along with the toasted bread. English cucumbers are great because they have fewer seeds.
- Red onions: Make sure they are very thinly sliced, so you don’t end up with any overpowering, oniony bites.
- Parmesan: I thinly slice Parmesan and stir it into the salad. You can substitute with crumbled feta cheese because it is also good with roasted peppers.
- Basil: To finish the salad, I add torn basil leaves taking inspiration from a traditional panzanella salad. Fresh herbs are important. If you aren’t a fan of basil, you can substitute with chopped parsley.
- Italian vinaigrette: The vinaigrette is a combination of minced fresh garlic, mustard, honey, oregano, red pepper flakes, extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
How To Make this Roasted Bell Pepper Salad
Preheat the broiler on high.
1. Roast the bell peppers under the broiler. Turn them every 2-3 minutes until they are charred all over. Then put them in a bowl and cover it. Wait 15 minutes before you rub off the skins, deseed them and slice them into strips.
Switch off the broiler and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toast the bread in the oven. First toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread it across a sheet pan. Toast it until it’s golden brown and crispy, about 12-15 minutes.
3. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk the garlic, mustard, honey, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil in a small bowl.
4. Assemble the salad. Combine the peppers, olives, cucumbers and onions in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in the vinaigrette, stirring to combine. Then fold in the bread, Parmesan and basil.
Since it’s base is veggies and not lettuce, you can serve this recipe like a salad or the perfect side dish with roasted or grilled chicken, salmon or steak. It’s also great with vegetarian pastas such as Fresh Herb Pappardelle, Arugula Pasta, Lemon Garlic Mushroom Spaghetti, Mushroom Corn Pasta and Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta.
Storage & Leftovers
With any salad that has croutons, leftovers can be a challenge, but they don’t have to be. You just need to think ahead. If you are planning to save some of the salad to eat another time, don’t add all the toasted bread. Instead, store the rest of the croutons in an airtight container at room temperature.
The salad will stay fresh in the fridge up to 3 days. Again, don’t add all the croutons if you want to save the salad. If you do unexpectedly have leftovers, try to spoon out as much of the toasted bread as you can. You can re-toast it in a 350-degree F oven for a few minutes to remove any moisture that got on them from the dressing. Then store them separately from the salad.
You can roast the peppers up to 2 days in advance. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the salad.
The bread can be toasted up to 5 days in advance. Keep them in a sealed container in your kitchen, so they don’t lose their crunch.
As much as I recommend roasting your own for this pepper salad, you can use store-bought roasted peppers. They are in the Italian food section at the grocery with the olives and other antipasti.
Yes, you can grill peppers instead of roasting them. They will be more crisp, and they will have good smoky flavor.
More Salad Recipes
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Roasted Bell Pepper Salad Recipe
- For roasted peppers
- 4 large bell peppers red, yellow and orange
- For toasted bread
- 3 cups torn crusty bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- For vinaigrette
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- For salad
- 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 cup diced cucumbers
- 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
- Torn basil leaves for serving
- Preheat the broiler on high with the oven rack right underneath it.
- Place the peppers on a foil-lined sheet pan and broil until charred all over, turning the peppers every 2-3 minutes. It will take 10-12 minutes.
- Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover it. Let the peppers sit for 15 minutes before rubbing off their skins, removing the seeds and cutting them into 1-inch wide strips.
- Turn off the broiler and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- On a sheet pan, toss the bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Spread the bread into a single layer and toast it in the oven until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk together garlic, mustard, honey, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.
- To assemble the salad, combine the peppers, olives, cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Drizzle in the vinaigrette, stirring to combine.
- Fold in the toasted bread, shaved Parmesan and basil leaves.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe originally published May 31, 2021. Updated: May 22, 2023.