This Sheet-Pan Vegetarian Dinner Can’t Get Much Simpler

There’s a time-honored technique for roasting bell peppers. This recipe isn’t it.

The tried-and-true method produces lissome, velvety peppers with a concentrated, sweet flavor. But it’s also a pain.

Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas
With Peppers and Goat Cheese

Charring the whole peppers over an open flame, then steaming, cooling, peeling, seeding and deveining them, is time-consuming and messy, and it leaves sooty flecks of pepper skin clinging to everything they touch and even some things they don’t. I’m happy to occasionally trot out the whole process when I’m making something special, but it’s a lot of hoops to clear on any given Tuesday.

Here, then, is my Tuesday night pepper hack, with a streamlined yet effective technique that gives great results any day of the week. Any week peppers are in season, that is.

You need only to slice the peppers and mince the garlic and herbs here, meaning minimal chopping time.Credit…Armando Rafael for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Cyd Raftus McDowell.

Not peeling the peppers saves you the most time here. I’ve learned that if you slice them thin and roast them long enough, they collapse into tender strands that caramelize at the edges — and taste so good you’ll never even notice the skin.

Slicing peppers lengthwise into strips, as opposed to crosswise into rings, look elegant, and make the veins and seeds easy to cut away as you go. That is the only knife work involved, apart from mincing some garlic and herbs, so chopping time is minimal.

Canned chickpeas add heft to this mix, but you can also pair the peppers with another protein.Credit…Armando Rafael for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Cyd Raftus McDowell.

I like to mix fleshy, multihued bell peppers with a medium-spicy pepper (such as Hungarian wax, Jimmy Nardello or Cubanelle) for a range of flavors and a sunset of colors. Tossed with olive oil, salt and herbs, these peppers can form the base of countless sheet-pan meals. Top them with fish fillets, chicken, sausages or simply the canned chickpeas I use here, which crisp and turn golden as they roast.

If you want to keep things vegan (and simple), you can stop there, perhaps rounding out the meal with bread for plate- and pan-mopping (sticky, olive oil-infused pepper juices are so delicious).

On the other hand, a small handful of crumbled goat cheese sprinkled on top adds a lovely creaminess, tang and depth, melting slightly as it hits the warm pan. Other soft cheeses, such as feta, chunks of burrata or mozzarella, or ricotta salata, will work nicely, too. Whichever version you like, you’ll have a resplendent sheet-pan meal that captures the heights of pepper season, even in the depths of the workweek.

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