The beauty of this Tricolor Bell Pepper Salad Recipe with Cilantro Lime Dressing lies in its variety. The subtle flavor nuances of the different color bell peppers and one jalapeño make it taste somewhat complex... A little sweet... A little spicy... And visually stunning. Plus it's such an easy, nutritious recipe that can serve 8. The perfect side dish for impressing dinner guests or bringing to backyard BBQs.
Though this recipe is delicious all year long, it's especially refreshing during the summer months when bell peppers and jalapeños flourish. So for the freshest bell pepper salad possible, use peppers from your local farmers market during the summer. But for the rest of the year, feel free to use the peppers your grocery store sells.
And like I mentioned before, this recipe is very simple in its flavors and ingredients. But it's certainly a labor of love that requires some slicing! Make sure you have a good sharpened chef's knife that can handle the bell peppers' skin, and strive for extra thin slices for the best results. The final texture should be somewhat similar to a slaw... A bell pepper slaw!
How to make Tricolor Bell Pepper Salad
Just like with cole slaw, this colorful bell pepper salad recipe requires a lot of chopping, but that's as difficult as it'll gets. You just slice up the red onion, jalapeño, and green, red, and orange bell peppers, then toss it all up with a simple cilantro lime dressing.
This bell pepper salad calls for just a few simple ingredients that you can almost always find in grocery stores.
- 1 Red bell pepper
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- 1 Orange OR Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- ½ of a red onion
- Fresh Cilantro
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt and black pepper
See Recipe Card for exact quantities
Step 1: Wash bell peppers, jalapenos, and cilantro thoroughly before beginning to chop. Dirt can linger around the pepper stems and all over the cilantro. No one... and I mean NO ONE wants to crunch on gritty dirt when enjoying a refreshing meal.
Step 2: Slice the bell peppers, jalapeño, and purple onion into very thin strips. Make them as thin as you can for the best results! Then place all the sliced vegetables in a large bowl.
Step 3: Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl combine fresh lime juice, finely chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to combine.
Step 4: Add the dressing to the large mixing bowl containing the onion/ pepper mixture and toss it all together.
Make sure to taste it and adjust for salt and pepper as needed!
- Make it even spicier: This Bell Pepper Salad Recipe already has a slight kick, but if you like extra spicy foods, add a second jalapeño pepper and a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes to the cilantro lime dressing.
- Less Spicy: If the jalapeño is too spicy for you and your guests, you have 2 options:
- You can stick to just sweet peppers. Leave out the jalapeño all together.
- Or you can remove all of the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño. This way you still get some of its earthy green flavor without all the heat.
- Don't like cilantro? Use Fresh parsley or mint instead. Or use a combination of whatever fresh herbs you like. The herbs really add a nice pop of freshness to this simple side salad.
- Use a poblano pepper: The recipe calls for the green bell pepper because of its earthiness. It gives the other sweeter bell peppers some edge! However, you can achieve a similar goal but with a slightly more smoky flavor by using a poblano pepper instead of a green bell pepper.
What to serve it with
I can think of endless main dishes to serve with this bell pepper salad recipe. Because its so bright and crunchy, it makes a perfect accompaniment to hearty meats like grilled steaks, pork chops, and chicken.
It's also is a great side dish for slow cooked meats like pulled pork and brisket.
And you can use some of this tricolor bell pepper salad like you would a slaw on sandwiches and tacos. It adds so much color, flavor, and crunch!
Since this bell pepper slaw makes a lot, you may end up having leftovers. Simply store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to a week.
The lime juice and salt act as a natural preservatives, so the salad will stay pretty crunchy after several days. Leftover peppers may have lost some of their water, which you can drain out, then add a squeeze more lime juice and a pinch of salt.
This recipe doesn't freeze well! Try to eat it while it's still fresh.
I recently used up some of this leftover bell pepper salad by tossing it into a bowl of cold ramen noodles for a tasty cold ramen salad. I just added some extra lime juice and olive oil so the ramen was well coated. It totally transformed the leftovers into something new and exciting.
If you like simple salads like this one, you'll love my sweet and spicy cucumber salad recipe. It's another amazing summer side dish you can make to brighten up any meal.
Bell Pepper Salad RecipePrint
An easy, delicious, refreshing side dish thats loaded with color and nutrients.
- Three bell peppers: 1 green, 1 red, and 1 orange OR yellow, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
- ½ of a red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup of cilantro, coarsely chopped
- The juice of 1 and a half limes
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the thinly sliced peppers and onions in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl make the cilantro lime dressing by combining the chopped cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.
- Add the dressing to the pepper mixture and toss to combine.
Keywords: bell pepper salad recipe, bell pepper slaw