Nothing makes a lunch break quite like a stuffed sandwich. For me, the highlight is the bread (obviously), preferably freshly baked and picked up from my local bakery while it’s still warm.
So it’s with confusion and growing dismay that I continue to see ‘bell pepper sandwiches’ on my social media feeds.
For those yet to be aquatinted, the bell pepper sandwich is simply two slabs of raw bell pepper, smushed together with sandwich toppings – from cream cheese to tuna. If you’re wondering if this is just a poor man’s rebrand of stuffed peppers, you’d be correct.
The bell pepper sandwich found TikTok fame last summer, when food blogger My Nguyen shared her recipe – and Gordon Ramsay declared it to be an “idiot sandwich”.
Nguyen’s version included cream cheese, Everything But The Bagel seasoning (which is popular in the US and can be bought online in the UK), turkey slices and spinach.
Despite the chef’s roasting, the trend has continued to grow on TikTok and now, it’s migrated to Instagram.
It seems this trend will not die, so with reluctance (and a nudge from our editor) I’ve agreed to finally give it a go.
I opt for an orange pepper stuffed with onion hummus, avocado, sliced chicken, feta, seasoning and a few drops of Frank’s hot sauce (a mash-up of the ingredients popular online, with a heavy focus on the contents of my fridge).
The result? I’m pleasantly surprised. The pepper has a satisfying crunch against the soft hummus and avo – and it complements the fillings well. I’m not blown away though, and while it’s nicer than I expected, the ‘sandwich’ is still no match for a regular bloomer in my book.
“It’s fine, but it doesn’t need to be ‘a thing,’” is my boyfriend’s verdict, and I reckon that just about sums it up.
It’s also bloody messy to eat – fine if you’re still WFH, but not one for the lunchbox. Still, if you fancy giving it a whirl, there’s plenty of recipe inspiration on TikTok and Instagram.
This one from Elliot Norris (aka @callmebelly) admittedly looks pretty good. He uses green bell pepper, whole grain mustard (mixed with a little mayo), turkey slices, a mozzarella slice, avocado, lettuce, onion and hot sauce.
Egg salad (or egg mayo, as us Brits call it) is another popular option on TikTok. Jen Curly (who goes by @snackqween) makes hers with an orange pepper and a dash of hot sauce.
Over on Instagram, foodies at least have the good sense to cook the pepper. This version by blogger @cookbycolour includes a grilled bell pepper alongside tuna mixed with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and seasoning. You’ll find the full recipe here.
Or, for an alternative and quick fishy option. Dawn O’Porter is a fan of red pepper with mackerel and salad leaves.
Some people are also using bell peppers in place of burger buns. This spicy creation by @mo_rod718 includes a turkey burger, avocado mayo, sriracha, cucumber, tomato, lettuce and jalapeños.
By all means, try this trend if you fancy shaking up your lunchtime routine – but don’t pay attention to the captions demonising carbs on social media. The bell pepper sandwich may have been marginally better than I expected, but there’s still nothing wrong with a good old hunk of bread.
Brb, I’m off to the bakery.