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.
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? ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
And this? ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
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!Print
Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh banana peppers, stem and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 6-ounces tomato paste
- 28 ounces can tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2–3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1–2 teaspoon sugar
- 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.
- Add in the garlic, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Next add in the tomato paste, stir to incorporate and cook for 3-5 minutes or until you can “smell” the tomato paste start to warm up.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a low boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- 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.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge.
Recipe Reviews & Comments
Paul Lazaras says
I have noticed your ingredient list is, most often, discombobulated from the order of your instructions. Is it intentional to make the recipe follower read the recipe first? Orderly coordinating each with one another would make the recipe much easier to, first, understand, then, second, follow. Please work on that, whomever your recipe writers may be. If your first instruction is to add the oil to shimmer, then add the onion, those ingredients need not to be on the bottom of the ingredient listing. Secondly, if an ingredient is used in more than one place, be sure to add “divided use.” I did not make this recipe, though it’s got to be a winner with the meat mixture for the meatballs. Another secret — always add an appropriate amount of Red Boat fish sauce whenever you make a sauce (“gravy”) or in stock or soups. You don’t know it’s there but it just blows the flavor umami away.
You must have caught this mid-updating as I literally was going through old recipes and updating the steps for clarity and making them more user friendly.
Having thousands of recipes posted this will take me some time for older recipes. The newer ones are set up using this format. The only time it may not if it’s a sponsored post featuring client ingredients. They should always be the ‘hero’.
Oh I LOVE fish sauce and use it often at home but it’s one of those ingredients that I can’t arbitrarily put in to non-obvious recipe as many have seafood/shellfish allergies.
Hope this finds you safe and healthy!
Best Kitchen Wishes!
Becky Goodnight says
I made this sauce the summer of 2019, when we had an abundance of fresh herbs and peppers from our garden. Our banana peppers were on the mild side, which worked out fine for our taste. I froze batch after batch to use throughout the winter. It’s an easy, tasty recipe and great over Italian sausages or pasta.
Dana Back-Pack says
Has anyone calculated the nutritional values on this recipe?
I just did and updated the recipe to include it.
Best Kitchen Wishes!
Your sauce is somewhat similar to mine, Lori, except for the added chopped hot peppers and red pepper flakes. My husband adds those flakes on his food. (Mr. S. is the one with the cast-iron stomach who loves it “hot” and “spicy!”) . . . . . I’ll try your sauce recipe when I make your stuffed hot peppers.
The peppers I found added more body to the sauce. Yep, I married a cast iron stomach guy too!
Best Kitchen Wishes!
So happy we found this recipe today! Now sharing it with anyone who likes a little spice.
Thank you so much Monica!!!
Best Kitchen Wishes!
I may have made this. No, it’s not the inevitable, old age memory lapse. The peppers that I bought refused to identify themselves as anything other than “yellow”. I thanked them for that, as I was viciously shredding the life out of them.
They had a very mild flavor.
The sauce itself is wonderful, and I highly recommend it.
Had it over spaghetti, and some leftover potatoes that I fried in bacon fat. The sauce was excellent over the potatoes, though SOME PEOPLE in the family made disparaging remarks and refused to experiment.
Thanks, and I’ll be trying the 3-meat meatballs soon, most likely with the same mystery peppers.
Maria Shevlin says
Best sauce I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’m 100% Italian and this just knocks my sauce out of the water. My family and I licked our plates clean.
I added lean ground chicken to mine and I also added some of the brine from banana pepper rings I had in the jar.
The fresh peppers my friend just brought me from his garden were absolutely perfect in this.
Thank you Lori for another delicious recipe my family enjoyed.
Amazing! Omg cant get enough!
Yeah! Thank you so much Taylor! So happy you loved it!
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Unbelievable! One of the best sauces ever!
This was absolutely amazing! We couldn’t get enough of it!
Thank you so much Shawn! So happy you loved it!
Best Kitchen Wishes!