Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers



listen to the audio of this blog posting

Listen to how we did Mushroom Tapenade on the grill!

I’m the type of person who likes to put their own spin on a traditional recipe and make it my own.  I’m also one to take liberties with traditional ingredients in that recipe.  That’s why I found a great way to use all those peppers I have growing in my vegetable garden in a recipe take on the traditional tapenade.

I’m using a combination of Hungarian and cubanelle peppers in this great topping that will include portabella mushrooms as well.

Grab some of your favorite peppers and learn how easy it is to make great recipes on the gas grill with hardwood for another flavor level.

Where to Start

Fresh Mushrooms are a must for Tapenade

Normally, tapenade is made with very precise cuts to the olives, usually a fine dice.  I’m not going to be as precise with my cuts but will be doing a dice on the peppers and a rough chop on the portabella mushrooms.  Before getting the main vegetables started for the tapenade, I want to heat up the grill so my wood chunks will already be smoking.  I turn the burners on medium for one half of the grill only.  On that side, I place a metal smoker box that has a couple of hardwood chunks, directly on my heat shield of a hot burner.  Close the lid and let the grill get to 325°F.

Meanwhile, I’ve picked some fabulous sweet and hot peppers from my garden and purchased some great looking portabella mushrooms to be the main component of my tapenade.  I carefully remove the seeds and membranes from about ten peppers and dice fine.  I coarse chop the mushrooms and add this to a pan.   Then I drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil, I’m using avocado oil, on the vegetables and one stick of melted butter to the pan.  I season with a little salt and fresh ground pepper and mix.  This pan will go on the unlit side of the grill.  Close the lid and allow to wood grill for 45 minutes.

Tasting Notes: Since I’m taking liberties with what can go in a tapenade, feel free to experiment with other vegetables you may have available like eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, etc.

Tapenade Sauce

Although tapenades are usually oil based, I’m making mine with more of a creamy undertone to balance the hot pepper flavor.  I start by placing 1 cup of ricotta cheese in a bowl.  I add about ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar – I’m using a tangerine flavor.  Then in go my fresh herbs – rosemary, tarragon, and oregano.  Mix together and prepare to add to the grilled and wood smoked vegetables after they’ve cooked for about 45 minutes.

Mixing the ingredients

With the sauce constructed, it’s time to add it to the buttery wood-fired vegetables.  Place the sauce in the pan of vegetables and mix it well.  Let this cook on the grill for another 15 minutes.  The creaminess of the ricotta will counter the spicy peppers to make this a refreshing topping.  Obviously, this basic recipe can be used with a variety of vegetables.  Simply alter the sauce ingredients to balance what your vegetable focus is.  I prefer this tapenade version on crostini for an appetizer, directly on animal proteins whether beef, turkey, chicken, pork or game.  It also works extremely well on an animal protein sandwich such as brisket and pork shoulder.  And, on pasta – well, let’s just say, make a lot!  This is just another example of how easy the two-zone method using wood for flavor is on just about any food.

Tasting Notes:  If you prefer not to use a cheese in the sauce, you can make this with Greek yogurt.  I recommend you add about 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or another thickener to bring the consistency in line with a cheese-type sauce.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:




Dr. Smoke this recipe Mushroom tapenade is a keeper! try it!

Dr. Smoke this recipe Mushroom tapenade is a keeper! try it!

Our fire Roasted Pepper make the perfect Salad with these white beans!

Our fire Roasted Pepper make the perfect Salad with these white beans!



Fire roasted peppers by ember cooking on hot coals in our open pit or charring peppers on the grill for this roasted peppers salad. Fire roasted pepper make the perfect salad blog and should be in you roasted peppers salad recipes under healthy foods! The fresh parsley, arugula, added to the white beans are refreshing! You must try this!

listen to the audio of this blog posting


If you are a follower or subscriber of ours, then you’ve likely seen our recommendations for charring peppers on the hot coals using an open pit, fireplace, charcoal grill or even gas grill.  It’s so easy yet gives such a flavorful outcome to use in all types of recipes.

I’m giving you a salad recipe that is hearty enough to be a salad entrée or the perfect side for your favorite protein.

Gather Simple Ingredients

Simple ingredients make this wonder salad

I truly believe anyone can do both the charred pepper technique and make this salad without any difficulty.  Here are the ingredients you’ll need to bring the salad to life:

6 charred peppers, skinned, seeded, and quartered

2 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed

¼ ounce Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup packed spicy baby greens like arugula or watercress

In addition to the ingredients, you’ll need salt, pepper, a bowl, and whisk.

Vinaigrette Is Key

Making the Vinaigrette

You’ll want to get any larger pepper slices cut down into thinner slices.  Once the peppers are evenly sized, it’s time to season them with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Do this by laying them out on a platter.  Taking a small bowl, it’s time to make the vinaigrette. Start putting the anchovies, garlic, vinegar, oil, and parsley in the bowl and whisk together.  Add the beans and toss to coat with the vinaigrette.  Season the mixture with salt and fresh ground pepper.  You can taste and adjust the vinegar and seasonings until it fits your taste.  Now prepare the serving dish to assemble the salad.

Simple Layers of Flavor

our finished pepper and bean saladWith the peppers charred and vinaigrette made, it’s time to assemble the salad.  Start by laying out the peppers on a platter or serving dish.  Spoon the bean mixture over the top of the peppers and top with spicy greens like baby arugula or watercress.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  That’s it!

This is a perfect side with a great steak, ribs, chicken or fish.  It’s hearty enough to use as a main entrée as well for those looking for a healthier meal.  It’s especially refreshing during the warmer seasons.  Remember, char extra peppers and freeze them so you can pull them out for this fabulous recipe any time of the year.


Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Related reading:




-Ember Cooked Sweet Peppers


Dr Smoke-Our fire Roasted Pepper make the perfect Salad with these white beans!

Dr. Smoke- Our fire Roasted Pepper make the perfect Salad with these white beans!

Our Ember roasted peppers make an awesome Charred Pepper Dip

Our Ember roasted peppers make an awesome Charred Pepper Dip



A great smoked appetizers for your charred peppers recipes; our ember bed cooking of peppers provides great flavor. How to roast peppers in a grill, cooking on coals directly, cooking in embers, gas grill, charcoal grill, even cast iron skillet cooking will work for peppers.  Try this charred pepper dip topping.

listen to the audio of this blog posting

Peppers are one of those thick-skinned vegetables that release their ultimate flavor when they are introduced to hot coals.  Many people think that you need special equipment to cook foods in hot coals but really, it’s as easy as having a disposable pan available and a grill.  I’ll give you some options for roasting the peppers and then provide a great recipe to be used as a dip or topping that is quick and so easy.

Multiple Charring Methods

The ember cooking of our sweet peppers

Although you will see me using an open pit method of charring my sweet peppers, you can do this on a gas grill set up with either a disposable foil pan or a cast iron pan or skillet.  You can also use a charcoal grill, lighting a fire and allowing it to reduce to simple hot embers.  A portable fire pit works if you clean out all previous ash and wood pieces to keep the final flavors clean.

Here’s the key to making perfect charred peppers, whether sweet or hot.  You must only use hot embers and you need to have additional hot embers available to keep a consistent temperature and a full bed of coals.

Because peppers are loaded with water, it is easiest to clean the skins and seeds from them once they are fire roasted.  If you cover the charred peppers placed in a bowl with plastic wrap, the skins will pull away easily.  Then you’re ready for your favorite recipes.

Fresh Ingredients Make This Dip

What makes this recipe so great is that there are only a few flavorful ingredients that balance out the charry, smoky flavor of the peppers.  For this recipe, you’ll need the following:

the simple ingredients need

  • 6 charred peppers
  • 1 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped (6 ounces)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and well drained
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
  • A coarse salt such as sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Red-wine vinegar

Once the peppers are charred, I like to quarter them before placing in a food processor.  You can use a blender as well if you have a control to pulse the ingredients as you don’t want to thin them too much.  After pulsing the 6 charred peppers, add the raisins, oil, capers, and oregano.  Pulse to combine everything.  Season with salt and vinegar.  This dip can be refrigerated for one day prior to use.

Endless Uses

This dip/topping made from ember-roasted sweet pepper contains all vegan ingredients so its super flavorful while being healthy too.  Here’s the best part – it has so many uses and can be altered for a specific taste.  Use it as a topping for fish, chicken filet sandwiches, or sausage patties and links.  It can be heated providing an option to use it as a hot appetizer or cold.  I’ve served this will flatbread or Naan slices for a snack, appetizer, or lite lunch.  Want some kick to it?  You can add ember fired hot peppers as well or just add a few drops of hot sauce to the mix.  Because this is oil based, it is best to use up any leftovers within a few days, keeping it refrigerated until gone.

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®, Minuto®, & Piccolo®

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:


Ember cooked Sweet Peppers

-Ember Cooking/Roasting Garlic In An Iron Skillet

Dr. Smoke- I love ember roasted peppers because they char well! Making a yummy Charred Pepper Dip

Dr. Smoke- I love ember-roasted peppers because they char well! Making a yummy Charred Pepper Dip

Spicy-char hummus is made by grilling/smoking the hot peppers and then add to your Hummus! Great way to keep the grill flavors when the weather turns colder! Our photo collage shows the different steps to make spicy-char hummus.

Spicy-char hummus is made by grilling/smoking the hot peppers and then add to your Hummus! Great way to keep the grill flavors when the weather turns colder!



The centuries old Arabic bean dip has gained in popularity substantially over the past few years in United States.  Part of the draw is the fact that hummus is high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.

Give It A Flavor Twist

I thought I’d take this popular snack and appetizer item and give it a new twist by first showing you how to add a wonderful smoky, char flavor to it.

There is nothing like the flavor of peppers on hot coals.  One of my favorite varieties of pepper are Hungarian, especially the hot ones.  That’s why I’ve elected to bring out my kettle grill, specifically, the Stok brand, and char or ember cook Hungarian hot peppers.  Using a chimney starter, I set up hot coals down the center of the charcoal area and add just one chunk of wild cherry wood from SmokinLicious®.  Once the coals are vibrating heat, I will add my cleaned peppers directly to the coals for a quick method of charring.  The time investment is really in the grill set up, not in the cooking, as peppers cook quite fast on hot coals.

A Spicy-Char Hummus Recipe Like No Other

Once the coals and wood have flavored the peppers, I take these charred beauties and make a Smoked Hungarian Pepper Hummus bursting with the flavors of pepper, fresh parsley, garlic, and cumin.  Whether you elect to use hot or sweet Hungarian peppers, this is sure to become one of your favorite humus recipes.

With the charcoal burning down to hot embers, I prepare the Hungarian peppers.  First, a simple wash the peppers and pat dry.  Then I cut off the stem end and pull out the membrane and seeds. Remember, the more membrane and seeds you leave in a hot pepper, the hotter the flavor will be.  Once de-seeded, these peppers are ready to be nestled in the hot coals.

To The Coals For Char & Flavor

With the Hungarian peppers de-seeded and membranes removed, on to the hot coals they go.  I’ve kept some unlit coals banked to each side of the kettle grill just in case I want to bring in more heat.  Plus, this will allow the coals to be used for other food items while the grill is still hot.  These peppers will only take 5 minutes or so on each side.  I do not disturb the peppers when first placed on the coals for at least 5 minutes, then gentle turn them with tongs until charring occurs on all sides.  Don’t be concerned if the skin becomes very black as it can be easily removed.  Plus, for our spicy-char hummus recipe, these charred beauties will be pulsed to a smooth consistency where the blackened skin won’t be revealed.

Once removed from the grill, I take the peppers and put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  This will help produce moisture to remove any skin you don’t want as part of your recipe.  And speaking of recipes, it’s time to gather our ingredients and start assembling our Smoked Hungarian Pepper Hummus.

Traditional Ingredients Meet Char Flavor

We are stepping up the flavor of hummus by featuring our perfectly charred Hungarian peppers.   To make Spicy-Char Hummus, gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2-3 charred Hungarian peppers, depending on size
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely diced (you can use minced garlic as a substitute)
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons Tahini
  • 3 whole lemons, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ cup oil
  • Hungarian sweet paprika or smoked Spanish paprika for garnish

Creamy Hummus Starts With A Boil

Here’s the secret to a truly creamy hummus consistency: cooking the chickpeas before processing.  Take your 2 cans of chickpeas and rinse well under running water.  Then pour into a saucepan and cover the chickpeas with water.  Place on high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the chickpeas to soften for 40 minutes.  Add more water if needed to keep the chickpeas covered in liquid through the boiling time.  Then remove from heat, strain the water, and set aside to cool.

Time To Process

To start our spicy-char hummus, first place the rough chopped charred peppers into the food processor.  Add the garlic, parsley, onion and rosemary and process until finely combined.  As soon as the processor starts, you’ll be hit by the strong aromatics in this recipe, which is trademark for traditional hummus.  The total processing time will be just minutes.  Then remove the cover and prepare for the next round of ingredients.

The final ingredients of our spicy-char hummus are added to the food processor: the boiled chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, and tamari.  At this stage, we will process until the ingredients form a thick paste,  which will take about 10 minutes.  I always keep water or oil available to thin down the mixture if it should go too thick.  Remember, you want this to be thick but not to the point where it can’t be easily spread.  Once combined, the flavors will reveal themselves best if you store the mixture in an air tight container for at least 24 hours.

Serving Options Are Endless

After letting the processed hummus mixture that includes charred Hungarian peppers, garlic, parsley, onions, rosemary, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, and tamari rest for 24 hours, it’s now time to serve this highly aromatic recipe.  If using as an appetizer, I like to put the hummus into a bowl, sprinkle with a sweet or smoked paprika, drizzle with olive oil, and add some finely chopped charred Hungarian peppers to the center. I then surround the bowl with slices of baguette, pita chips or triangles, and vegetables.

This hummus goes with so many different things.  In fact, I love to use it as a topping to an Angus burger, or grilled chicken and fish.  It is so versatile that you’ll be sure to find all types of uses for it.  The best part, you’ll have a satisfying, full of flavor healthy alternative that will make this a favorite anytime of the year.


Additional reading you may enjoy:

-How To Turn Your LP/Gas Grill Into A Smoker

Ember cooked Sweet Peppers


Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke- “Liven up your hummus flavors with the smoking/grilling of the Hungarian peppers, especially on a cool temperature day.”

Add a new twist to your Hummus- grill/smoke the hot peppers and then add to your Hummus! Great way to keep the grill flavors when the weather turns colder!

The bowl of finished ember cooked sweet peppers

The bowl of finished ember cooked sweet peppers

Ember Cooked Sweet Peppers

There’s nothing better than ember roasted sweet peppers in the outside fireplace or pit.


  • An Outside fireplace or pit that is clean of ashes
  • Cast iron skillet, if you prefer to cook in a container rather than directly on the embers
  • Sweet peppers- medium to large size, any color though multi colored ones provide for a better presentation, 10-18 quantity
  • SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® wood chipsAsh wood or your favorite wood species
  • Herbs – optional
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil

Building The Fire

My plan is to roast the peppers directly on the embers in my outdoor fireplace. So first, I need to clean out the fire box from any ash and debris.  Then I select the hardwood for the actual cooking.  I’m going to use Ash wood because it is one of the best hardwoods for producing evenly sized coals and heat level when it burns.

Bed of ember coals from ash woodWhile I am using pieces of the SmokinLicious wood chunks, the Grande Sapore® ash chips will produce the same great results.  In fact, use of the Ash Wood Chips will likely save some time as their pre-ground state would allow for quicker coal build up due to their faster burn rate.  Remember, the need with ember cooking is to ensure that you have a 2-3” buildup of coals so the cooking process is uninterrupted.

The Ember Bed

I now have a bed of coals establish in the bottom of the fire box.  Spread them out to provide a wider cooking area and facilitate an even heat level.  I will be increasing the depth of the coal bed over the course of my cook by maintaining a perimeter of newly lite wood product.   I would suggest using Grande Sapore® SmokinLicious Gourmet Wood chips for the additions as the bed can be built up much quicker and keep the cooking process moving forward.

Adding the peppers on top of the bed of coalsAdding The Peppers

Once the Ash Wood develops into a great bed of coals you’ll understand why I love to use Ash Wood for ember cooking.  The uniformity of the coal bed is so precise! Remember, Ash tree is part of the olive family of trees so it is known for its mild smoky flavor making it an ideal choice.

I begin adding my peppers to the embers with the stem and seeds intact.  It is so much easier to rid the peppers of its seeds once fully cooked so don’t be concerned about them now.  I seat each pepper well into the hot coals to ensure that the base is enveloped in that consistent heat level. As the pepper begin the charring process, you’ll see them wrinkle a bit as this is the sign of the dehydration that takes place in this water rich vegetable.

Ember Cooked Sweet Peppers Technique

Once the pepper are in place, I allow them to cook and char before touching them.  Once I see some char marks develop, I gently rotate each pepper around the coal bed, sliding over some new coals to the cooking area with each rotation.

After about 20-25 minutes of ember roasting, the peppers will begin to tenderize.  Remember there is a lot of moisture in sweet peppers so you may even hear them whistle a bit!  Feel free to pierce them with a knife to release some water/steam.  I like to do that step about ¾ of the way through the cooking process.

Turning the peppers over the embers for complete cookingI want to remind you that this ember cooking technique requires a tempered hand but also some attention throughout the cooking process.  You will need to rotate the peppers frequently to ensure even char.  Remember, our heat generation is developing from the bed of embers and then radiating to the walls of our cooking area as well as the food. Once removed from the heat source, the peppers will have wilted a bit as they enter an immediate change in temperature and humidity.

The Finishing Touch

Once the peppers are completely charred and tenderized, remove them to a mesh or other tray to cool.  Then you can use them in a variety of ways – cut into strips and drizzled with a lite coating of extra virgin olive oil, a hint of salt, fresh pepper and fresh mint.  Or, use these beauties whole as a container for a ground turkey, beef, or lamb stuffing that includes fresh ricotta cheese, parsley, a hint of chili pepper flakes, and a topping of fresh mozzarella.  The recipe options for Ember Cooked Sweet Peppers are endless so start experimenting or look to your favorite cookbook for inspiration!

Bon Bar B Que

Dr Smoke


Purchase Products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

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Dr Smoke- "This is a fun cooking technique and a great recipe for sweet peppers."

Dr Smoke- “This is a fun cooking technique and a great recipe for sweet peppers.”