I love to roast bell peppers inside a covered gas grill. It’s the least fussy, least messy way to roast peppers, and you can do a bunch at one time. Set all your burners to high, pop the peppers right on the grates, cover, and turn with tongs every four or five minutes. They’ll be blistered all over in anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes (depending on your grill.) Set aside in a bowl covered with foil, let steam for a few minutes, and peel. 

I like to take advantage of how delicious the peppers are when they’re still warm, so I split them after peeling, take out the seeds, and fill them loosely with some softened goat cheese. I spoon a beautiful cherry tomato dressing over the top and serve these as a first course or a side dish.

Take note: Use medium or small bell peppers for this recipe, not the huge blocky ones. After peeling, you can cut medium peppers in half completely to form six halves. With smaller peppers (like the ones from my garden), I only slice a slit in one side and gently fold back the halves to fill with the goat cheese. (Therefore, start with a higher quantity of small peppers for the same amount of goat cheese.) You can certainly take this idea and scale it up or down – there’s nothing set in stone here!) 

Serves 3 to 4

  • 3 medium or 4 small bell peppers of uniform size (red, yellow, orange or a mix)
  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 recipe Summer Cherry Tomato Dressing (see below)
  • Basil or other tender herb sprigs or leaves for garnish  

1. Heat a gas grill on high. Put the whole peppers directly on the grate, lower the lid, and cook, turning with tongs every few minutes, until the peppers are well-blistered and blackened in places, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your grill and the size of your peppers. (Blistering is enough to release the skin—do not completely blacken all over or the skin will begin to stick to the pepper. Some blackening is fine, though.)

2. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with foil. (Or wrap the peppers loosely in foil.) Let sit for eight to 10 minutes. Over a colander set in a bowl, peel the skin away from the peppers. Leaving the stems in, split the peppers in half or, if the peppers are on the small side, just cut a long lengthwise slit down the middle of one side (or more specifically, the top half). Gently remove the seeds. Let any liquid drip through the colander into the bowl beneath. (The pepper liquid has lots of flavor; add it to the tomato dressing.)

3. Arrange the peppers on salad plates or a serving plate. Spoon a portion of softened goat cheese into each pepper half. Flatten the cheese and spread it out just a little.

4. Spoon a portion of the tomato dressing over each of the pepper halves, crossing from one side of the plate to the other. Garnish with herb sprigs or leaves.


Summer Cherry Tomato Dressing

Yields about 1 ¼ cups

This lovely dressing is really more like a fresh compote or a loose salsa. It’s the place to use your prettiest, most colorful cherry tomatoes. While this is delicious paired with the Grill-Roasted Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese, it’s also good over grilled eggplant, grilled skirt steak and lots of things!

  • 8 ounces small cherry or other tiny tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons very finely sliced, drained, oil-packed sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers, very lightly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon teaspoon kosher salt

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir gently to combine. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes (or up to 30 minutes) to let the flavors mingle and to let the tomatoes marinate a bit. Stir gently again before serving.