Peperonata is an evergreen Italian side dish that originates in Sicily, and is usually prepared during summer time. At this time of the year,in southern Italy, bell peppers are at their best, extremely plump and bright in color.

Moreover, this is one of the very few Italian recipes that features bell peppers as the main ingredient. I love all kinds of peppers cooked in any fashion, which is why this is one of my favorite dishes of all times! Also, for me, this is that one dish that when I was a kid taught me that eating vegetables could actually be something enjoyable.

I always thought there was something magical about taking just a few simple ingredients directly from the backyard or the farmer’s market and transforming them into something so delicious in just about 30 minutes. Also, I’m especially fond of this recipe as it comes directly from Ragusa, the southernmost Italian city and my grandma’s birthplace. To think that the city is even further south than most of Tunisia and Algeria coastline!

Peperonata is beyond simple to make and it’s very popular both hot and cold, especially in southern Italy. This said, there are quite a few regional variations. Here in Liguria for instance, it is quite common to add olives, but of course you can feel free to leave them out.

Peperonata (Sweet Bell Peppers with Tomatoes and Olives)

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Even though peperonata originates as a side dish for grilled meats, you can actually eat it in an endless variety of ways. Here are just a few suggestions to widen your imagination: you could enjoy peperonata as an appetizer on a toasted slice of bread with some ricotta cheese, in a sandwich with cold cuts, or as a topping for homemade pizza. When I visited Sicily, I’ve even seen it used as a delicious pasta sauce!


Italian Peperonata (Sweet Bell Peppers with Tomatoes and Olives)

Italian Peperonata

Giorgia Fontana
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 152 kcal


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup black olives (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp hot chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt, to taste


  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan, then add garlic and onion. Cook on medium-low heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until the onions turn soft and translucent.
  • In the meantime, prepare bell peppers. Halve them, remove the seeds and the white membrane. Then cut them into strips, a little less than 1/2-inch wide.
  • Add the peppers to the pan, along with cherry tomatoes, black olives and chili flakes.
  • Stir for few seconds, then add the tomato paste and water.
  • Mix everything together and season with salt.
  • Cover with a lid and let it cook for at least 25 minutes, adding more water if needed. In the end, the peppers should be nice and soft.


Calories: 152kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 178mgPotassium: 372mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1451IUVitamin C: 112mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.

Some of our other favorite pepper recipes:

Eggplant, Lentils and Peppers Cooked in Olive Oil (Turkey)

Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes (Crete)

Moroccan Chicken with Peppers, Lemons and Olives

Plus a video on peperonata:

Peperonata – Bell Peppers in Tomato Sauce

About the Author: Giorgia Fontana
Giorgia was born in a small town on the Italian Riviera, half the way between Genova and the Cinque Terre, just a few miles away from where pesto was invented. She has a background in psychology and neuroscience and is now completing her training to become a licensed psychologist while working as a web writer. As most of the time happens in Italy, it was her lovely grandmother that taught her how to cook and enjoy every bite of simple and genuine food. Giorgia loves preparing meals for family and friends and her specialty are authentic Sicilian and Ligurian dishes. Other than cooking, her greatest passions are traveling and trekking. Her biggest dream is to be able to see (and taste!) as much of the word as possible.


  1. Rebecca August 25, 2020 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Delicious! I put it on the toasted Italian bread and ricotta cheese.

  2. Faith Timipere Allison Ejiroghene August 4, 2020 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    I tried this recipe yesterday, and it tasted so good! Thanks for sharing

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. August 7, 2020 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      You’re Welcome! Glad you liked it.

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