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Apr 9, 2014 05:01 PM

Omitting Chile Peppers In A Recipe

I used to love spicy food in fact I used to be able to eat whole pickled jalapeños with no problems. That was then this is now. I don't seem to be able to tolerate spicy foods anymore. They upset my stomach really bad. I love Mexican food and am wondering if I can make the recipes and just leave the chile peppers out of it? Or is there a non spicy substitute for the chile peppers? Thanks for any help you all can give me!

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  1. I usually just toss in some diced bell peppers for salsa and things for people who can't tolerated spicy food and it is an alright substitute.
    I think more problematic things are if you require dried or smoked peppers, which may be a harder work around. I have used smoked paprika before, but the taste isn't the same...
    Otherwise, I don't see any reason why leaving them out would be a major problem :)

    1. I think it depends a lot on the flavour of the dish. Are the chiles adding heat only, or are they an integral part of the dish.

      For salsas, you can just leave them out. I make pico de galla as a salad without hot chilis, for example.

      You can substitute green or red bell pepper in some recipes to match the texture - the taste will change somewhat. Paprika can substitute for chile powder. You can make your own taco seasoning or chili powder with paprika as a substitute for example. Try a drop of two of liquid smoke and some tomato paste in recipes that call for adobe sauce.

      I'm not sure what type of Mexican food you're eating. When you get to dishes that heavily involve various dried/smoked peppers, it's harder to substitute.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        FYI...paprika is basically the same thing as chili powder, just created with a more mild pepper.

        1. re: Springhaze2

          The problem being solved for the OP is the heat of the chilis.

          1. re: chefj

            I know that chefj. Some people with particularly sensitive palates, find sweet paprika to be hot/spicy. I like hot foods so am not one of those people, but my mother thinks the regular Szeged brand sweet paprika is spicy.

      2. I can't handle spicey either- i agree with others on bell peppers, most salsas are fine without the added head but may need a little more acid or salt to have the same strong impact flavorwise.
        Smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro, and fresh lime juice all have a "mexican" flavor without the pain.

        1. There are non-spicy peppers other than bells that, IMHO, have a better taste. Look for pimentos or Italian long peppers. There are also milder chiles like poblanos and Anaheims (names vary depending on location). I find the dried varieties less picante than the green ones.

          Burpee's offers a pepper hybrid that they claim has the fruitiness of a habanero without the heat. They never set fruit for me so I can't attest to this. I once grew a variety called "Fooled You" that claimed to be a jalepeno with the heat, but it turned out to be just insipid.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tardigrade

            Second this recommendation. Anaheims have more of the chile flavor than bell peppers, with virtually no heat. Poblanos have a little more heat than Anaheims, but should still be fine (they're the standard chile for chiles rellenos).

          2. I would use mild peppers (not bell peppers - too thick-fleshed) and for dishes that call for the smokiness of chipotles, add some smoked paprika.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BobB

              I agree about the mild peppers - Anaheim or cubanelle, maybe poblanos.