Do Bell Peppers Belong In Spaghetti And Meat Sauce?

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A widely debated subject is whether or not bell peppers belong in spaghetti and meat sauce. The answer to that question depends on how you make your spaghetti and meat sauce, and what kind of pepper it contains.

Let’s Talk About The Sauce

There are two kinds of sauces for spaghetti and meatballs: red sauce and white sauce. Red sauce is a tomato-based sauce with lots of garlic and oregano. White sauce is made from milk products like butter and cream and has no tomatoes at all.

Some people think that bell peppers belong in the white sauce because they’re so mild. Others say that bell peppers belong in the red sauce because they add flavor and color.

Truth be told, there really isn’t a right and wrong answer here. If you love bell peppers, you can put them in whatever meal you want. But for the most part, bell peppers are more suited to tomato-based dishes than they are to dairy-based dishes.

Spicy Food

Bell peppers are very mild when compared to other hot ingredients like chili peppers and jalapeños. They have a lot less heat than those spices. You can eat a whole bunch of bell peppers without feeling any of the heat associated with their spicier counterparts.

In light of this, if you like the flavor of spicy food, but not the heat, you can replace the chili peppers with bell peppers and save your mouth a world of hurt.

No Reason Not To Use Them

There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t use bell peppers. If you don’t like them, just skip them. But if you do like them, feel free to include them in your meals.

What Kind of Bell Peppers Are Best in Spaghetti

The type of pepper you choose will depend on what kind of dish you’re making. For example, if you’re going to make a tomato-based pasta sauce, you’ll probably want to use bell peppers.

If your dish includes cheese, you might want to avoid using bell peppers because they tend to get mushy when cooked.

However, if you’re cooking something like chicken noodle soup, you may want to use bell peppers because they help give the broth its rich flavor.

The following list shows some of the different types of peppers you can use for various dishes:

  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Yellow Bell Pepper
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Orange Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeño
  • Chili Pepper
  • Thai Chile

Adding Bell Peppers To A Tomato-Based Sauce

When you cook spaghetti and meatballs, you usually end up with a tomato-based sauce. It’s perfectly okay to add bell peppers in this scenario. In fact, as they’re incredibly good for you, it’s more than okay!

However, you should try to keep the number of bell peppers to a minimum. If you add too many bell peppers, the flavor of the sauce will start to change.

For example, if you were to take a jar of spaghetti and meatball sauce and stir in some bell peppers, you’d end up with a pretty bland sauce. The problem would be solved by stirring in more tomatoes, but then you’d end up with an overly sweet sauce.

For this reason, you should only add bell peppers to a sauce if you plan on serving it over noodles or rice. If you’re serving it over bread, you won’t notice any difference between a tomato-based sauce and a bell pepper-based sauce.

Cheese Sauces

If you’re making a cheese sauce, you might want to leave out the bell peppers. Cheese sauces are super savory and often contain plenty of salt. Bell peppers are just a little too sweet and fresh-tasting to blend well into this kind of food. 

Chicken Noodle Soup

If you’re making chicken noodle soup, there’s no reason to omit the bell peppers. The flavor of the soup is mostly determined by the broth, which is made from chicken bones.

Adding bell peppers will only add to the core flavor, while also boosting the nutrition of the meal.

Red Sauce

The main ingredient in red sauce is tomato paste, which is basically puréed tomatoes. It adds a nice rich flavor to the sauce, and a few bell peppers only make things even tastier, but, again, don’t put too many in, as tomatoes should always be the star of the show.

What Other Ingredients Should I Be Using In My Spaghetti And Meat Sauces?


Garlic is an important ingredient in Italian food. Most people don’t realize how much garlic goes into Italian food until they’ve tried eating without it. Garlic provides a lot of flavors, especially when used in combination with other ingredients.

You can find garlic in two forms: whole cloves and crushed garlic. Whole cloves are best for adding raw flavor to foods. Crushed garlic is better suited for cooking.

Fresh Herbs

Herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, chives, and tarragon are common ingredients in Italian food. These herbs provide a strong flavor that complements other flavors.

They’re also good for masking bad flavors. For example, if your pasta tastes like cardboard, you can add some chopped basil leaves to cover up the smell.


Salt is one of the most important ingredients in Italian cuisine. Salt helps preserve food. When you salt food, you help prevent bacteria from growing.

Salting also makes food taste better. Without enough salt, food doesn’t taste very good.


Italian food uses lots of spices. Some of these spices include black pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, saffron, and turmeric.

All of these spices have their own unique flavors. Each spice brings something different to the table.

Canned Tomatoes

Tomato paste is another important ingredient in Italian food because it contains both water and tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are also great for making soups.

Tomato Paste Vs. Fresh Tomatoes

There are many ways to make tomato sauce. One way is to use canned tomatoes. Another way is to use fresh tomatoes. Both methods work well.

However, tomato paste works faster than fresh tomatoes. This means that it takes less time to make a sauce using tomato paste.

The method that you go for depends on what type of dish you are making. If you are making a spaghetti dish then yes, you should definitely put in the bell peppers.

But if you are making meatballs or meatloaf, you probably shouldn’t. A lot of dishes are made with ground beef, and the bell peppers would just get lost in the mix.

Will Bell Peppers Add Flavor To Your Sauce?

If you want to know whether or not putting in bell peppers will add any flavor to your sauce, then I’d say “yes”.

Bell peppers are full of vitamins and nutrients, and their natural sweetness (especially the yellow variant) can help take the acidic edge off tomatoes.

How To Prepare Bell Peppers

The first thing you need to do when preparing a dish with bell peppers is washed them thoroughly. Washing removes dirt and debris which could affect the flavor of your dish, or, even worse, leave you with a nasty bit of food poisoning.

After washing, cut off the stems and remove the seeds. Next, chop the bell pepper however you like — strips, chunks, diced… anything goes!

How Much Should You Put Into Your Dish?

The amount of bell peppers you put into your dish depends on the size of the dish you are making. Smaller dishes usually require more bell peppers, while larger dishes may only need a few.

Do bear in mind, though, that the longer you cook them, the more they’ll shrivel, meaning you may need more than you think.

Can You Use Other Vegetables Instead Of Bell Peppers?

Yes! There are plenty of vegetables that you can substitute for bell peppers. Just be sure to keep an eye out for seasonings that might clash with those veggies. Here are some examples of other vegetables that you can use instead of bell peppers:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Squash

What About The Seasoning?

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention anything about seasoning. This is because you don’t necessarily need to add extra seasoning to your dish.

Most people like their food seasoned to taste anyway. So, if you feel that your dish needs additional seasoning, then go ahead and add it.


In summary, when you are deciding whether or not to incorporate bell peppers into your meat sauce, there are a lot of factors that will influence your decision. Bell peppers can be added to your sauce, but they aren’t required. Some people prefer to leave them out, while others enjoy having them.

You might want to incorporate herbs and Italian seasonings to boost the flavors of your meaty spaghetti sauce.

There are a variety of pasta sauce recipes out there, so if you’re having trouble deciding what to put in your own saucy creation, you can pick up a jar and let the pros decide for you!

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