Kid-friendly Radical Red Pepper Sauce Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Radical Red Pepper Sauce

Recipe: Radical Red Pepper Sauce

Radical Red Pepper Sauce

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Katerina Iacovides/
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
20 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Radical Red Pepper Sauce

This sweet and jammy sauce is packed with flavor and loads of vitamin C! Serve it atop pasta or as a dipping sauce for croquetas.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • combine :

    to merge two or more ingredients into one mixture, like a batter of flour, eggs, and milk.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Medium sauté pan
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Liquid measuring cup


Radical Red Pepper Sauce

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C water


Radical Red Pepper Sauce

chop + measure + combine

Chop 1 red bell pepper and 2 medium Roma tomatoes into a large dice and add to a medium sauté pan. Measure 1 pinch of sugar, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and add that to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and start sizzling.

stir + count

Stir the mixture for 5 minutes while it sizzles. Count to 10 in Spanish while you stir: 1 uno (OOnoh), 2 dos (dohs), 3 tres (trehs), 4 cuatro (KWAHtroh), 5 cinco (SEENkoh), 6 seis (SAYees), 7 siete (seeEHtay), 8 ocho (OHchoh), 9 nueve (NUehvay), 10 diez (DEEehs)!

simmer + stir

Turn the heat to low. Add 1/4 C water and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring infrequently.

blend + simmer

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Blend the mixture thoroughly and return to a low simmer for at least 5 more minutes on low before serving alongside the Kid-Made Classic Croquetas (see recipe) or with your favorite pasta! Buen provecho!

Surprise Ingredient: Bell Peppers!

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Photo by Kritsada Namborisut/

Hi! I’m Bell Pepper!

"Do you like your pizza with green pepper on top? If you do, then you'll like me! I'm a bell pepper, and we come in different colors, like green, yellow, orange, and red. Plus, some of us are a bit sweeter than others. We bell peppers have colorful, glossy skin, and when you bite into one, it will taste fresh and crunchy. We're also very versatile and add distinctive flavor and texture to many dishes!"


  • Bell peppers may be called sweet peppers or capsicum in other countries. They are members of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
  • Peppers are native to the Americas. Spain imported their seeds in the late 1400s, and then they spread to the rest of Europe and Asia. Today, China is the largest producer of bell peppers and chili peppers, followed by Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
  • The most popular bell pepper in the United States is the green bell pepper. Other peppers sold in the United States are hot peppers (also called chili peppers).
  • November is National Pepper Month!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Bell peppers are actually fruits, not vegetables! They are technically berries but are most often used as a vegetable. 
  • The bell pepper is a tropical plant, preferring warm, moist soil to grow in.
  • Green and red bell peppers grow on the same plant. However, as the bell peppers mature and ripen, they change from green to red and become sweeter.  
  • Bell peppers are large and bell-shaped. Depending on the variety, they can be brown, white, lavender, or dark purple, but the most common colors for bell peppers are green, yellow, orange, and red. 
  • Bell peppers have crisp, thick flesh and smooth, waxy skin.
  • The scientific name for bell peppers is "Capsicum annuum." The scientific name for hot or chili peppers is "Capsicum frutescens."
  • The "pepper" name came when explorers introduced the plants in Europe. Europeans named them after the peppercorn or black pepper, which is unrelated. 
  • The word "pepper" comes from the Old English "piper," from the West Germanic "pipor," related to the Dutch "peper," from the Greek "peperi," and from Sanskrit "pippalī," meaning "berry," "peppercorn."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • You want to harvest bell peppers with the right color and sweetness when they're full size. You may want to use all green ones, and so you would pick them at their first stage of ripeness. Many recipes use green bell peppers. Next would be yellow, orange, and then red, the sweetest. You could pick them at each stage if you want multiple colors in your salad, for instance.
  • Bell peppers can be stored in your refrigerator's crisper drawer for one to two weeks. Then, refrigerate cut bell peppers for two to three days and cooked bell peppers for three to five days.
  • Bell peppers are a good choice for dishes where you don't want spicy pepper flavor because they don't produce capsaicin like other peppers. Bell peppers have a mild, sweet taste, but the flavors of other peppers can range from mild heat to extremely hot. A hybrid variety of bell pepper, the Mexibelle, is mildly spicy due to a small amount of capsaicin.
  • Paprika is a powdered red spice made from dried red bell peppers. People often associate paprika with Hungarian cuisine, especially since the name comes from the Hungarian language. However, cooks in many European and other countries use it regularly to color and flavor foods. For example, they add it to soups and stews, sprinkle it over the tops of meats, or add it to other seasonings to make rubs for grilling. Paprika is also often found in sausages. Because red bell peppers are mild and sweet, paprika is usually not as spicy as ground chili pepper. However, paprika can add a little heat to a dish, especially when using certain varieties.  
  • One-half of a medium bell pepper counts as one serving.
  • Bell peppers are good to eat raw or cooked. They are often chopped and added to dishes such as salads, soups, omelets, stir-fries, fajitas, and pizza, but they can also be hollowed out, stuffed with a meat, veggie, and rice filling, and baked. 


  • Bell peppers are a low-calorie food and are 94 percent water. They are also nutritious, with 97 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Bell peppers of all colors have a high amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene, but the red bell pepper contains 1.5 times the amount of vitamin C and eleven times the beta-carotene as green bell peppers.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that improves your immune system to prevent heart disease and cancer. It also helps your body to absorb and store iron. It helps remove excess fluid from your body, reducing pressure in blood vessels. In addition, vitamin C may help reduce elevated blood sugar levels, and it aids in creating collagen, which is needed for wounds to heal. 
  • Beta-carotene gives yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables their color. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant, and it converts to vitamin A in the body, which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration. 
  • Fiber improves your digestive health and, by slowing down the speed of sugar absorption by the body, helps reduce the risk of diabetes. 


What is Romesco?

Photo by Hans Geel/
  • Romesco (roh-mess-koh) is a tomato-based sauce from Catalonia, an autonomous community in northeastern Spain. Fishermen created this sauce to eat with the fish they caught. It was traditionally a purée of roasted tomatoes, sun-dried ñora peppers (small red bell peppers), garlic, toasted almonds or hazelnuts, and olive oil. 
  • Although romesco is still served with seafood, it also goes well with vegetables, poultry, and other meats.

Let's Learn About Spain!

Photo by MJTH/
  • Spain is on the Iberian peninsula in Europe. Its official name is the "Kingdom of Spain," and its capital is Madrid. Spain's government is a constitutional monarchy, with a king, prime minister, and parliament. The population of Spain is more than 47 million people. 
  • Mediterranean settlers migrated to Spain, Africa, and Europe, and a people known as the Phoenicians called the Iberian peninsula "Span" ("hidden land"), so you can see where the name Spain might have come from! 
  • Did you know there is more than just one Spanish language?! The official and most prominent language of Spain is Castilian Spanish. However, Spanish dialects are also spoken, such as Andalusian, Canarian, Castúo, and Murcian Spanish. In addition, there are six other regional, co-official languages recognized in the country, including Aranese, Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian. 
  • The Mediterranean climate in Spain means that summers are hot and dry, especially in the south. However, snow can be found in the winter, especially in the Pyrenees, mountains in the north that border France.
  • Soccer or "fútbol" is the most popular sport in Spain. Some of the other sports Spaniards participate in are tennis, cycling, basketball, and handball. 
  • Spain is known for its rich culture and exciting festivals. The Tomatina Festival is the world's biggest food fight. It's held on the last Wednesday in August every year when people throw over 100 tons of tomatoes on the streets of Buñol. The festival of San Fermin, in Pamplona, in the northern region of Navarre, is an eight-day celebration in honor of Saint Fermin, the co-patron of Navarre. The famous Running of the Bulls event occurs each morning of the festival when a small group of bulls and steers are let loose to run down fenced-off streets toward the bull-fighting ring. Young adults, often tourists, try to race ahead of the animals, dodging the bulls' horns when overtaken. Unfortunately, a few people always end up being injured during the runs.
  • Spanish art, food, literature, and music have become popular all over the world. Examples are the famous Spanish novel, Don Quixote, written in the early 1600s by Miguel de Cervantes; the painter Francisco Goya's works from the late 18th to early 19th century; and Flamenco music and dance from Andalusia, first documented in 1774. 
  • In addition to fideuà and paella, Spain is known for its "gazpacho" (a cold veggie soup), "jamón ibérico" (dry-cured ham), "olla podrida" (a meat and veggie stew), and Manchego cheese (sheep cheese from the La Mancha region). Spanish cooks use a lot of garlic and olive oil, of which they are the largest producer. 
  • "Tapas" refers to a Spanish way of eating, in addition to the name of small dishes served individually as appetizers or combined to make a meal. When friends are out together, they will often share tapas plates at their table. The Spanish word "tapa" can mean "top," "lid," or "cover," and tapas may have begun as a slice of bread or meat to cover a wine glass to keep beach sand or flies out. In many parts of northern Spain, such as Basque Country and Navarre, tapas are called "pintxos" or "pinchos."

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Spain?

  • Most Spanish children speak the Spanish language, also called Castilian, but some may speak Catalan, Galician, or Basque, depending on where they live in the country. 
  • Families are close-knit, and grandparents often take care of children if both parents work. 
  • Kids primarily play soccer but also play basketball, tennis, handball, or other sports. They may visit beaches, zoos, aquariums, museums, and amusement parks for fun. 
  • A popular breakfast is a churro with a chocolaty drink made with ColaCao. "Tortilla de patatas" (potato omelet) is also a favorite. Kids might have a snack at school since they might not have lunch until they get home, and they look forward to "la merienda," a snack between lunch and dinner that often consists of a sandwich, since dinner may not be served until 8 pm. 

THYME for a Laugh

Why didn't the bell peppers do archery?

Because they didn't habanero.

The Yolk's On You

What kind of socks do you need to plant bell peppers? 

Garden hose!

That's Berry Funny

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

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