Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce

When you see fresh banana peppers at the market, pick up a bunch to make this spicy, zesty, amazing tomato pepper sauce! It packs some heat but with such a great depth of flavor that will leave you wanting more!

So this time of the year in Pittsburgh, fresh banana peppers are in abundance. And for the longest time I only ever bought them to stuff with hot sausage. To eat them on a sandwich is just not something I do because raw I find them too hot. It’s funny as I love spicy foods but for some reason raw peppers like that kill me and I’m reaching for peanut butter bread to help cool my mouth off. Wait, you do know that works, right? That when you’re eating something and it’s way too spicy for you – like we’re talking your ears are on fire hot, that you don’t reach for soda or water but rather you reach for a protein and a carb. Remember?  I shared all of that stuff with you in this post. Anyway I was given a huge bag of fresh peppers from a coworker. Like where it was way too many to stuff.

But I did what I always did and stuffed them with the typical hot sausage mixture. Once it was done I had a bit more sauce in the pan than normal. And without thinking, I dipped my finger in the sauce and it was like a full-blown flavor bomb went off in my mouth! It was hot but not like I needed a drink to handle it. It wasn’t your typical marinara sauce but it was more. It kind of reminded me of an arrabbiata sauce but not quite. See an arrabbiata sauce is a combination of tomatoes, garlic, oil, some spices and lots of red pepper flakes. It was zesty and packed a zing like that but the depth of flavor was… more.

Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce

So how to describe it easily? That’s honestly I’d have to say the hardest part when it comes to running a food blog. Sure mouth-watering photographs are probably the first, and most important, thing but close after that is how you describe it. If you’ve ever watched The Next Food Network Star one of the biggest dings they get from the judges is that they don’t describe their dish. Anyone can say “OMG this is so delicious!  You must try it”. And yes I did think about that but then I was like “Lor, that’s not right. Describe the food to someone if there were no pictures of it.”

Imagine you have a pot of red, thick sauce bubbling away; so thick that it just wraps itself around your noodles like a comforting blanket. The smells of warm tomatoes and peppers fill the air with a hint of spice. The flavor is like your tomato garden and your banana pepper garden decided to have a secret rendezvous in the middle of the night and the offspring was a tomato pepper baby. You get the tang and acidity of the tomato with that luscious, creaminess it gets when you cook it down but just when you think you’re eating a bowl of Nonna’s homemade tomato sauce POW! The flavors of the banana flavor dance across your tongue and light your taste buds up (in a good way!) You get that additional sweetness that a pepper brings to the party but you also get a warm heat and tang to the sauce. It’s just enough heat and spice to make your eyes widen with delight and a smile to form on your face.

Annnnnd if I totally sucked at describing the flavors, just trust me on this guys. This is really, really, really good. LOL Seriously, it’s not overly spicy but you do have to like heat in your sauce AND realize that it’s not a tomato or marinara sauce but rather it’s a new type of tomato-based sauce. For me I add a bit more red peppers flakes and if I have them on hand, an Anaheim pepper. I tried it with a jalapeno and personally, I found that little bitty pepper just completely overtook the banana pepper flavor in the sauce. However when I make this for company, I use the recipe like I have below. And a good rule of thumb, if you’re serving this for company you may want to have a side of simple marinara sauce just in case they can’t handle the spice. Though to be honest, it’s not going to melt their faces off… well unless they are delicate little flowers or have tender bellies. Those folks get special foods as we want their bellies to be happy!  Plus it’s a bonus for us – we get to eat more of the spicy banana pepper sauce!

So hey!!!  What’s this? ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

Three Meat Banana Pepper Meatballs

And this? ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

Italian Meat Stuffed Banana Peppers

Tee hee!  Well you’ll just have to wait for the next 2 posts. The top one is my Three-Meat Banana Pepper Stuffed Meatballs in the Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce!  And the second one is my Italian Meat Stuffed Banana Peppers. I mean how could I not post another banana pepper recipe if I’m here talking about a Banana Pepper sauce, right?  But hold your gutchies and wait for these recipes to come out on the next couple of days. Just for now, go out and buy lots of banana peppers!

Oh but wait… I almost forgot. What do you serve the sauce with? DUH!  Honestly, pretty much anything you can think of. It’s obviously amazing with meatballs and banana peppers but it’s also great on pasta, rice, as a pizza sauce (No for real!  This as the pizza sauce topped with fresh mozzarella and some Italian Hot sausage… OMG!), it’s also incredible with fresh clams and mussels (well so I’m told). I hate mussels but Mr. Fantabulous loves them and he raves over this sauce with this. I haven’t tried this sauce yet with beef braciole but depending on the stuffing of the braciole I bet it would be amazing!

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Steelers game this weekend and I want to make a batch of this sauce to go with my meatballs!   How will you use this sauce?  Make the sauce and share a pic with me on Instagram (@thekitchenwhisperer) or Facebook!

Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce

Serves: 4 cups

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  • 28 ounce can tomato puree
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh banana peppers, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil starts to shimmer add the onions and banana peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add in the garlic, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Next add in the tomato paste, blend to incorporate and cook for 3-5 minutes or until you can “smell” the tomato paste start to warm up.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a low boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust for seasonings. At this point, you can leave chunky or for a smoother consistency use an immersion blender.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.


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