What You Need to Know About Cubanelle Pepper Substitute
Cubanelle peppers are a variety of sweet peppers that are popularly used in Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
The cubanelle pepper is particularly an important ingredient if you’re exploring the Cuban cuisine. The Cubanelle pepper is an excellent choice if you’re looking a sweet pepper with milder heat and flavorful taste.
Cubanelle Pepper: The Basics
Cubanelle pepper is a versatile pepper that can be used in some dishes. It is excellent when topped over pizza or mixed with salad.
The pepper imparts a delicious peppery flavor without the intense heat. You can also use them in stir-fry vegetables, soups and stews to get a more distinct spicy yet sweet taste.
1. The Look
Visually, yellow cubanelle peppers look so much like banana peppers. However, cubanelle peppers are fatter but shorter than banana peppers. These peppers typically measure 4 to 6 inches in height and 2 inches in width.
The cubanelles also have a distinct tapered feature at the tail-end. Additionally, cubanelle peppers have thinner skin than banana peppers.
Cubanelle peppers typically come in green and yellow colors. They turn vibrant red when they mature.
2. The Taste
As a member of the sweet pepper family, you can expect cubanelle peppers to be less fiery and hot than other peppers like jalapenos. Cubanelle peppers have Scoville heat units of 100-1000 which make them are up to 80 times milder than Jalapenos.
Despite the mild pepper flavor, these peppers are more flavorful than the typical bell pepper. They have a more distinct sweet flavor that they can easily be eaten in salads, pizzas, stews and soups without setting the taste buds on fire.
Cooking with Cubanelles
The skin of cubanelle pepper are thinner than a bell pepper, but they still work well with most stuffing recipes. You can enjoy halved grilled cubanelles stuffed with chorizo and cheese add it to a melon salad along with basil and cheese.
But perhaps the easiest preparation for cubanelle pepper is to season them with salt and pepper and saute in olive oil. You can enjoy the dish as it is or uses in your favorite stir-fry recipe.
These characteristics give cubanelle peppers a great amount of flexibility in cooking. You can use them in pretty much anything a mild peppery flavor is called for.
Cubanelle Pepper Substitute
Since cubanelle peppers are more popular in Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, some people may find it difficult to get them from their local supermarkets.
So what are the appropriate cubanelle pepper substitute if such peppers are not available? Here are your options.
1. Anaheim Pepper
Anaheim pepper is the closest alternative to cubanelles because of their almost similar level of flavor. Like cubanelles, Anaheim peppers are also sweet and mild. On the Scoville scale, they have around 500-2000 units.
These peppers are milder by 16 times to jalapenos. That is, Anaheim peppers are sweet yet carry slightly more heat than cubanelle peppers.
You can substitute cubanelle with Anaheims for almost any dish. To get the best flavors, roast the peppers first until they develop a nice char.
Then, add them to various dishes like soups and stews, stir-fry and sauteed dishes. If you’re looking for a little kick in flavors and heat, Anaheim peppers make the best substitute.
Just a word of warning, though, Anaheim peppers can still vary in temperature depending on where they come from.
Peppers coming from Anaheim, California are milder and sweeter, but those that are grown in New Mexico tend to be a little fiery and hot. The latter variety is the perfect pepper of choice for making family-friendly salsas and chilis.
2. Poblano Pepper
Poblano peppers look so much like a bell pepper but with some heat. According to the Scoville Scale, a poblano pepper has 1000-1500 units and is around 2-8 times milder than jalapenos.
Still, poblano peppers are considered mild and can substitute cubanelle peppers if you like to give your dish some degree of heat and punch.
Poblano peppers are most popular in Mexico. It came from Puebla, Mexico where people are called Poblanos. These peppers can give a wide variety of dishes some mild peppery heat, especially in dishes called Chile Rellenos.
If you like your stuffed peppers to be a little hot, but not as hot as jalapenos, then the poblano pepper is the best choice.
Apart from being used fresh, poblano peppers are also dried and smoked. Dried poblano peppers are called ancho chili while smoked peppers are called chipotle.
3. Bell Pepper
Bell peppers are probably the most popular variety of pepper. They come in green, yellow, orange, red and sometimes even purple. These peppers have sweet flavors and are also a suitable substitute for cubanelles.
The color of the bell pepper is often indicative of its flavor. For instance, green bell pepper is a little bitter are ideal for cooking than in raw dishes. Yellow bell peppers are sweet, mild and delicious. You can eat them raw in your salads or cook in your dishes.
Orange bell peppers are less sweeter than yellow ones but are just as mild. Lastly, red bell peppers are sweetest of them, as well as the juiciest. Red bell peppers are also the most mature and carry the most nutrients.
But unlike cubanelles, bell peppers have thicker skin. These make them perfect for stuffing recipes. On the other hand, cubanelle pepper’s thin walls make them very ideal for stir-fry and sauteed dishes.
4. Banana Pepper
Banana peppers have long slender bodies with tapered ends that resemble real bananas. They are under the sweet pepper variety like cubanelles and very mild levels of heat. In the Scoville scale, banana peppers carry only 0-500 units.
These peppers are sweet with a unique tang. If you’re after the sweet and mild flavor instead of the heat, then banana peppers certainly fit the bill.
Take note that while banana peppers are sweet and even milder than cubanelle peppers, there also exist the hot variety.
The hot variety, called the Hungarian wax pepper, comes with a great range of heat. These hot peppers can go as high as 4,000 units on the Scoville scale, making them as hot as jalapenos.
What you’d like to substitute cubanelle peppers with is the sweet variety of banana peppers. Banana peppers are often mild while young, but the heat intensifies when they mature. Be careful to pick the right type to avoid getting an unexpectedly hot pepper.
Banana peppers are often a significant ingredient in salads and sandwiches. They’re also popular as a pizza topping. Since these pepper also has thick walls, they fare well when used in stuffed pepper recipes.
Cubanelle peppers are unusual ingredients to use in recipes that require sweet and mild peppers. But if you can’t easily get cubanelles in the farmers’ market or supermarket, it’s worth substituting them with other pepper varieties.
When it comes to substitution, Anaheim Peppers are the leader of the pack. But you can also consider other types of pepper depending on the sweetness and mildness required by the dish.
The Bell Pepper is always a safe and familiar choice, but if you’d like to be a bit more adventurous, you can add Poblano and Banana Peppers to your list.