Get to Know Shishitos

This tender, smoky pepper is a restaurant favorite — here’s how to use it at home.

The good kind of summertime blister.

Shishito peppers are having a moment, and not just because they’re currently in season. In recent years, the vibrantly green and slightly smoky Japanese chiles — shaped a bit like wrinkled fingers — have become a late summer and early fall staple on restaurant menus across the country. It’s for good reason: they’re delicious, super snackable, and, despite their fancy appearance when blistered and sprinkled with flaky salt, incredibly easy to prepare.

Luckily for home cooks, more time in the restaurant spotlight has increased demand for shishitos at grocery stores and farmers’ markets alike. These days, you can find them anywhere top-notch produce is sold. Make shishitos part of your seasonal home cooking repertoire with these tips and tricks:

  1. Easy prep. Leave those ribs and seeds alone! Shishitos can be eaten whole, so all you have to do is cut off the stem — unless you serve them as finger food, where the stem can act as a nifty handle. Each pepper contains a lot of seeds (more than you might expect), but they’re totally edible and don’t need to be removed.
  2. Spice roulette. While most shishito peppers are mild, about 1 in 10 is spicy. The occasional hot one is the result of over-exposure to the sun. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re a thrill seeker) there are no visual cues for spiciness; while the peppers turn red as they ripen, that’s not indicative of flavor, so bite carefully!
  3. Char master. Shishitos are easy to sub in wherever you’d use mini sweets or other small, mild peppers in your cooking, but they shine brightest when given undisturbed time in the pan to char, drawing out their smoky flavor. Leave them whole or cut them crosswise into smaller pieces, then add to a pan with a bit of hot oil; cook for at least 2 to 3 minutes before stirring or adding any additional ingredients

Ready to get cooking? Try one of these recipes, featuring some of our favorite uses for shishito peppers, tonight.

As a smoky pop of color in a homey pasta dish:
Pork Ragu & Fresh Basil Fettucine with Shishito Peppers

As a playful side with a bright and punchy topping:
Spanish-Spiced Burgers with Charred Shishito Peppers & Lime Salt

As a play on the vegetarian pizza parlor classic:
Shishito Pepper & Onion Pizza with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Greenmarket Inspo: Cauliflower Steaks with Chermoula

Every week, our test kitchen team pays an early morning visit to New York City’s biggest farmers market: the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. Comprised of over 70 stalls bursting with flowers, local products, and beautiful seasonal produce, it’s the perfect place for a hit of mid-week inspiration. Follow us on Instagram to tag along (bring a tote bag, it’s impossible to leave empty handed!) and see what we decide to make with our market haul.

Nearly every global cuisine has its own herb-based sauce, from salsa verde and chimichurri to pesto and zhoug. In North Africa, the green condiment of choice is chermoula, a version spiced with cumin and coriander and often blended with raisins for sweetness. Used as a marinade or topping for meat, seafood, and vegetables alike, the recipe varies region to region and can easily be adapted to include what you have on hand. Ours packs a bright and herby punch from the combination of parsley and mint, but if cilantro looks especially good at a market near you, it makes a welcome addition (as does chili paste or pepper flakes for heat, whole slices of preserved lemon, or even a pinch of saffron — up to you!). 

If you’ve never made a cauliflower steak before — we love them on Blue Apron’s vegetarian menu — consider it on your to-do list. Keeping the core intact allows you to slice the head into 1-inch-thick slabs that stay together, for the most part, which makes them suitable as a side dish or vegetarian main. More flat surface area (as opposed to the curved shape of a floret) means a cauliflower steak has more direct contact with the sheet pan while roasting; the result is a browned and caramelized exterior with crispy edges, but tender and delicate interior. Drizzled with chermoula, it’s simple, flavorful, and likely the star of your table.

Cauliflower Steaks with Chermoula

Serves 4


1 large cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into 1-inch thick steaks (keeping them as intact as possible)
2 cups parsley leaves and tender stems
½ cup mint leaves
2 tbsp golden raisins
2 tsp ground cumin, divided
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp hot paprika 
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, quartered and deseeded
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup castelvetrano olives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


1. Roast the cauliflower:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Place the cauliflower on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and 1 ½ teaspoons of cumin. Carefully turn to coat and arrange in an even layer. Roast 26 to 28 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. 

2. Rehydrate the raisins:

While the cauliflower roasts, in a bowl, combine the raisins and the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Set aside to rehydrate, at least 10 minutes.

3. Toast the almonds:

While the raisins rehydrate, heat a dry pan over medium until hot. Add the almonds. Toast, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl.

4. Make the chermoula & serve your dish:
While the cauliflower continues to roast, in a blender or food processor, combine the rehydrated raisins (and any lemon juice), parsley, mint, coriander, paprika, garlic, ½ cup olive oil, and remaining ½ teaspoon cumin. Season with pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend until mostly smooth (some chunks are ok). Serve the roasted cauliflower topped with the chermoula. Enjoy!

How to Entertain Your Paleo Friend without Any Weirdness on the Menu

What is the paleodiet?

Paleolithic–commonly shortened to paleo–translates into “older” or “ancient,” relating to the geological past. The paleo diet is based on the premise that if our paleolithic ancestors did not consume a particular food in the past, then we should not be consuming it today. This is based on the concept that the optimal diet is one to which we are genetically adapted to. And so, paleo adherents believe that humans should stick to foods that mimic the food and food groups that our pre-agriculture, hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.

Although there is no one-size fits all “paleo diet,” the basics are here to stay: According to Google Zeitgeist, paleo was the most searched diet term in 2013.

If you’re following the diet, you likely consume a whole lot of unprocessed foods like fats, vegetables, and proteins and steer clear of grains, legumes, dairy, and sugar.

Merguez with Cauli Couscous

Okay, so now imagine that you’re a host, and one of your dinner party guests has recently turned paleo. We’re here to talk about what that menu might look like. For appealing answers, we posed our questions to the Blue Apron Culinary Team.

Q: If you had to put together a dinner party menu for friends or family members who follow the paleo diet, what would your menu look like?

A: A menu to please everyone, whether paleo or not! For instance, as a starter we would have the Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Eggplant Caponata – made with homemade ketchup. As a main, we would have the Steak with Salsa Rossa and Broccoli Rabe. As for the sides, include a Rosemary Fingerling Potato & Green Bean Salad, some Grilled Vegetables with Olives, Tomatoes & Romesco Sauce (with homemade mayo), as well as a Chopped Napa Cabbage Salad (omitting the cheese in this recipe).

Q: What about dessert?

A: Who could resist a watermelon granita? It’s perfect for this summer weather and one of the delicious recipes that is coming out in our summer cookbook.

Q: That menu sounds delicious. Why does it work so well for paleo diets?

A: Since the paleo diet avoids grains, dairy and legumes, all these recipes steer clear of those foods but don’t compromise on flavor!

Q: Could you offer our readers five simple tips to adapt a recipe to make it paleo?

A: For the recipes that include milk, omit the dairy and substitute in coconut milk or almond milk. For recipes that call for rice, omit the rice and substitute it for cauliflower rice like we did for this recipe. For those pasta recipes, omit the pasta and swap it for spiralized zucchini! Replace bread crumbs with almond meal. Last but not least, instead of serving tortillas, buns, or wraps, you can substitute this for leafy greens like we did for this recipe.

That’s it! Though you might not be the diet’s newest adherent yourself, you’re now perfectly equipped to cater to friends and family members who are

Strawberry Parfaits

Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog

In the summer, desserts are both easier and harder to make. Easier, because there’s so much incredible ripe fruit available, from beautiful berries to stone fruits like peaches, and harder, because it’s hard to turn on the oven when the temperature is rising outside.

Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog
Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog

That’s where these strawberry parfaits come in. The only cooking is melting butter, and that can be done in the microwave. Besides that, grab graham crackers, powdered sugar, heavy cream, lots of strawberries, and let’s go! You won’t need the oven at all.
You’ll need to crumble the graham crackers to make one of the layers of the parfaits. This is most easily done by breaking the crackers up into a sealable sandwich bag. Seal the bag, then use a rolling pin (or a wine bottle!) to turn the pieces into crumbs. Those get mixed with butter and set aside.

Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog

Then, simply whip the cream (here’s how), and fold in some macerated berries. 

Into each of six cocktail glasses, pile the strawberries, cream, and graham cracker crumbs. As you scoop up bites, you’ll find the perfect mash-up of crunchy, creamy, bright, and sweet.
It’s a dessert that’s just perfect for the Fourth of July!

Get the whole recipe below.

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