Sneaky Pepper.

on January 30, 2014 in That's delish. with 14 comments by

Well. You’re just gonna love this story.

Let me give you some backstory. I hate peppers. And everyone has a pepper opinion, as evidenced by the fact that this post gets a new comment more often than any other old post. WEIRD and I GET IT.

Last week, I wanted to make chili for my small group girls because the world is cold and winter is the meanest. (I have strong emotions right now about it all.) As I’m trolling through the grocery store, I start thinking about how I should maybe BUY A PEPPER (who am I?) to put in the chili. I’m always looking for ways to sneak veggies into my life, so this just sounded right. And yet, very wrong.

I rolled my eyes at myself knowing I would hate the red pepper, but then I put it in my cart.

I collected all the ingredients I needed for chili, baked potatoes, and gluten-free cookies, paid at the grocery store, and headed out. When I looked down in my cart…


Holy cow. Somehow I managed to NOT PAY FOR THE PEPPER. I considered it fate and I thought God would give me the veggie points even though I didn’t buy the pepper so I wouldn’t be having it in the chili, and I wheeled my cart around and took the pepper to the customer service.

I handed it to the guy, explained the situation, and said, “so I don’t need this pepper, thank you though.”

Then. The young customer service man asked for a dollar and told me to take the pepper. He said I needed to put the red pepper into the chili because I would never taste it and I needed the vegetable intake. Mildly stunned as his bossy ways (just like the flavor of a pepper), I handed him a dollar and left with the red pepper.

I got everything together and got to cooking. (The recipe I use is very top secret… and also on the back of the McCormick’s Chili Seasoning package.)

pepper 2

I cannot tell you how tiny I chopped that pepper. I think peppers invade every dish, so I wanted them so tiny that I couldn’t tell the difference between a pepper piece and a diced tomato.

The girls showed up. I never mentioned the tricky attack pepper that ended up in the chili even though I tried to leave him at the grocery store. They got their baked potatoes and loaded on chili and I absolutely cannot believe I am saying this, but I genuinely didn’t taste it. And, per usual, the girls ate the mess outta that chili. It was goooooood.

pepper 3

Listen, this is not me becoming a pepper fan. Be ye not deceived. I still hate peppers. I just feel like this sneaky pepper may have been a unique one, sacrificing itself for the chili that me and my gals completely enjoyed.

Ok, go for it. Just tell me other recipes into which I should attempt to sneak a pepper. 

(Proper English for the win, y’all.)


  1. Elisabeth
    posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 4:13 AM  |  reply

    This story makes me smile!

    I am not a fan of green peppers. (Because they’re often bitter: ew). Here’s how to turn red peppers (and green, if you’re a masochist), into something Much Better. Roast them! Until they are tender. No oil needed. I cut mine in flatt-ish chunks and do it in a dry cast iron pan, until they are blistery and soft. I leave them mostly on the skin side, so they don’t dry out too much. Peel the skin off if you like. This is AMAZING pureed into salad dressing or tomato sauce or a white sauce for your pasta. Really, it almost tastes like you put parmesan in there. (All this is with RED peppers. Green peppers just become more palatable). ;O)

  2. posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 6:57 AM  |  reply

    Weirdly timely post, I decided about 2 weeks ago “hey I’m going to start using pepper more” so now I put them in everything…sautéed with onions for scrambled eggs, grilled with chicken and pasta, chopped up and put in quinoa…you name it. But I haven’t been very sneaky at all…so maybe don’t follow my lead.

  3. Pam
    posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:52 AM  |  reply

    I know all about sneaky cooking : ) I have some non-vegetable eaters at my house that have encouraged my sneaking of vegetables into my cooking. I don’t have any recipes with peppers, but I have some others that have left my gang none the wiser : ) Here’s a link to a few:

  4. posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:33 AM  |  reply

    …and some peppers seem stronger than others. Maybe you got one of the weaker strong ones.

  5. Hillary
    posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:42 AM  |  reply

    I am totally with you on this Annie. Peppers really do invade whatever they are in. And onions. I’m trying really hard to like onions b/c I don’t want to be THAT person, but you know. The onion has to give a little too. I’d be interested to see how to sneak more peppers into things.. I know they’re good for you and such. I just don’t want that over-whelming pepper taste in my mouth which will then mask the deliciousness of the rest of my food.

    • posted on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:20 AM  |  reply

      Yeah, sometimes peppers overmask the flavor of the other things, and it just tastes like peppers.

  6. Heather
    posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 1:03 PM  |  reply

    Well, I’ve read the previous post and comments and here’s my two bits 🙂

    Definitely if you’re going to sneak a pepper in, go red, and cut it up tiny. I like peppers of all colours (oh, my Canadian spelling is getting flagged as incorrect…) but if you’re a non-pepper lover red is usually the sweetest and easiest to tolerate. Try it in spaghetti sauce too – I like green, but red will blend in better.

    But hey, I totally get the HATE/must avoid issue with certain foods. For me it is RICE! I have tried to sneak it in but it’s just not gonna happen. Part of me thinks it may be an undiagnosed allergy. Who knows? I’m all about listening to my body when it comes to choosing something to eat. Why eat things I don’t like?

  7. posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 1:44 PM  |  reply

    1) i hate peppers too!
    2) i use the same top secret chili recipe 🙂
    3) the only time i buy peppers is when i make panzanella. honestly, it just makes it look pretty but i still do not eat the sneaky peppers:)

  8. posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:34 PM  |  reply

    “…because the world is cold and winter is the meanest.”

    Preach. It. Can that dear groundhog make something happen this weekend?

  9. JoAnn S.
    posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:38 PM  |  reply

    I second peppers in spaghetti, yummy!! I like green normally, but red would be good too.

  10. Lisa
    posted on Feb 02, 2014 at 5:09 PM  |  reply

    I happen to like peppers, so I don’t know if it would affect the taste too much for you. But, my husband puts it in spaghetti sauce and it is delish.

    2 other vegetables that my husband has used in chili are celery (which yes, you can taste, but add an interesting taste) and avocado (which you can’t taste, but gives it an smooth texture).

    • Emily
      posted on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:15 AM  |  reply

      Avocado in Chili!! That’s crazy! (And delicious sounding, I shall try that)

  11. Emily
    posted on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:14 AM  |  reply

    This is funny Annie, Really funny. This is how I feel about some veggies as well, they somehow manage to sneak into dinner.

  12. Angelica
    posted on Feb 25, 2014 at 3:03 PM  |  reply

    Lets just be real, this is hilarious and I miss your funniness!

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