Sweet pepper and onion confit


This colorful, healthy yet tasty all-vegetable mixture is a great refrigerator staple for using in your bentos, and is very adaptable. Depending on the flavors you can add later, it can taste Italian, Japanese, Chinese, or whatever suits your needs.

It’s a mixture of thinly siiced onions, sweet peppers and a little garlic, sautéed over a fairly low heat until it’s quite limp. It’s only seasoned with salt, so that it’s fairly neutral. You can then turn it more Mediterranean by adding some basil and oregano for example, or Japanese by adding soy sauce, or add some oyster sauce.

Sweet pepper and onion confit

This makes about 2 to 3 cups, depending on how long you cook it. You can scale up the quantities if you want to make a big amount, though that will increase the cooking time.

  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 to 4 large sweet peppers (mixing red, yellow and green oneswill make it quite colorful)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • Salt (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. light olive oil or other fairly neutral oil

Slice the vegetables very thinly.

Heat up a large pan or heavy pot. (I usually make this in a 5 quart cast iron enamelled pot.) Put in the oil and the garlic. Add the vegetables. Sprinkle with some salt (the salt will help the vegetables exude moisture).

Cook over a medium low heat, stirring sometimes, for at least 10 minutes, up to about 30 minutes. The longer you cook it the the more intense and sweet and brown it gets. The shorter cooking time will yield a still crispy and nice vegetable sauté mix.

It keeps well covered in the refrigerator for about a week. You can freeze it too.

When you use it, you can add your cuisine-specific herb and flavorings if you like, though it’s tasty as it is.

Variation: Add a thinly sliced fennel bulb for a slightly aniseedy version.

Just a few ideas for use:

  • Mixed with pasta
  • Heat up and add some cold rice; stir-fry for a quick vegetable fried rice. (No added oil needed since there’s enough in the confit)
  • As an omelette filling - great for a Spanish omelette or tortilla
  • Wrap with rice paper
  • On a sandwich (e.g. feta or fresh goats cheese, the confit, and some arugula on a crusty roll)
  • Just tucked into a corner of your bento box!

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Wow that looks delicious!

Wow that looks delicious! What a great idea. It’s a pain to eat cold salad in the winter, so this looks like it will make an amazing and healthful side dish. I especially like the fried rice and sandwich ideas. For a sandwich, I’d go with the fennel, and some soft goat cheese on hot toasted bread… for the rice, I’d add chile pepper, carrot, bok choy, soy sauce, scrambled egg, and I’d sub some sesame oil in for the veg sautee. We LOVE onions, garlic and bell peppers at my house so I get the feeling this will become a staple very quickly.

Um... yes.

This looks like a perfect thing to add to my bentos. Thank you so much for this tip! :0)


I made this the other night to use in my bentos… I stir-fried it with rice, a bit of ham and a few splashes of soy sauce, which was delicious, but it’s great by itself too! Thank you for posting such a tasty and versatile recipe; I’m sure I’ll be making this quite often! :)

I love this one

I love this as a bento staple. I’ve already used it in two featured bentos :) (no. 13 and no. 14)

Just made this...

…and it is wonderful.

“It keeps well covered in the refrigerator for about a week.” Somehow I don’t think it will last the week around here. :)

Surprisingly sweet

Just made this, letting it cook for a while, and it came out incredibly sweet, unexpected but delicious.

Loved it

Hi Maki,

Thanks for another delicious recipe. Very simple, but I just hadn’t thought of it. Actually I was quite busy yesterday in the kitchen. Made the onion confit, but also the lotus roots in dashi, and the lotus roots with the green onion recipe. All came out pretty good. I will leave feedback on those at the appropriate posts.

I let the onion and peppers (used red and yellow) cook for quite a long time, probably the full 30 minutes. Could not resist to add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end. It was good last night, but even better today. Loved it.

This recipe is definitely a

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I am kind of a pepper fiend, so I make things similar to this all the time but I never would have thought to freeze cooked bell peppers. In fact, I generally don’t think about freezing anything because I usually HATE frozen/reheated food. :P

I used this in my obento today and it worked out very nicely! Here’s some photos:



I’m just starting to experiment with bento style lunches, and this was my first recipe of yours. It was great! Keep up the good work.

Good stuff!

I've had this forever. My heritage is half italian, half french. My grandparents grew up in Italy and moved here (Canada) when they were about 18. Honestly, the recipe without the basil and oregano is more like the italian-style, than putting the spices in it. I've always had it with garlic and olive oil.

Also! Another yummy tip. For this, you can always roast your red peppers ahead of time. If you have a gas range, you simply place it on the flames, and let the outside blacken. If you don't have a gas range, you can do the same thing in the oven. Then after cooling a little, peel the blackened outsides off. It is delicious this way!

Re: Good stuff!

Just another note about roasting the peppers. You want to roast the whole thing, without cutting it. Then you can cut it open after blackened and cooled, peel off the black outside skin and take out the seeds and stem. Simply slice it after this to desired length and thickness.

Re: Good stuff!

I don't often have time to roast up a big batch of peppers so I pick up a jar of Trader Joe's roasted peppers and keep it in my refrigerator. Even though I miss the smokey flavor, all the messy work has already been done for me. But I crank it up a bit by draining, slicing, and covering the TJ's peppers with garlic-infused olive oil. I add a splash of basalmic viinegar if I think of it. I learned the hard way that adding fresh garlic isn't a good idea. The jar went moldy even though it was in the refrigerator.

Re: Sweet pepper and onion confit

Looks delicious, i've just gotten in to the bento way of life so its nice to see a really easy and tasty recipe like this. Thank you so much :D

Re: Sweet pepper and onion confit

How simple and tasty! I almost always have onions and peppers in my kitchen. But what I really love about this recipe is that in addition to being a great side dish by itself, it is also half way to so many recipes -- ratatouille and sausage & peppers immedidately come to mind. I can also see it being tossed in to some cooked beans, a sandwich, and shrimp creole. Mmmm... I think I'd better get cooking!

Re: Sweet pepper and onion confit

Tried this twice in the past six weeks. The first time, I cooked a small portion for 30 min and it was really soft and yummy - gone in two days! But I prefer my second try where I cooked a bigger portion for about 15 min. When I heated it up for bento on subsequent days, the confit got cooked and softened a little bit more each time :)

Re: Sweet pepper and onion confit

Cooked it today and I don´t think that it needs any more seasoning than salt! The sweetness is just subtle and great.
I cooked it 30 mins, I love super soft vegetables. Reminds me of ratatouille or those wonderful balkans-style cooked vegetables. Tasty and simple!

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