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peppers, like tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes, are in the nightshade family also known as Solanaceaea. Most nightshade plants native to Europe are poisonous, so Europeans were wary of eating all of these fruits when they first arrived to Europe after contact was initiated between the Old World and the New World. Today, these nightshade family plants are enjoyed by people around the world, but much confusion remains about which plants are poisonous and which are not. Leaves of the pepper plant are considered poisonous by most Americans and Europeans, while they are widely eaten across the Asian continent.  Pepper leaves are not spicy, and have a pleasant spinach like flavor. They can be cooked in a manner similar to spinach as well.

In the Kitchen

Use pepper leaves in any recipe where you would use other tender green leaf vegetables such as spinach or swiss chard. They do not need to cook for long.


Pepper Leaf Crusted Bread



1-1/2 Tbsp finely chopped pepper leaves, and a small pepper from the plant, not seeded
1 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of garlic salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
Slice of bread (I used Vons/Safeway Artisan Asiago Bread)


Preheat a frying pan over medium heat.
Fry the finely chopped pepper leaves/pepper in a small amount of olive oil.
Add the salt & pepper.
Set aside (or move to the edge of the pan)
Butter the bread & lay it, butter side down, in the hot pan. Cook the bread until the butter side is crisp & golden brown.
Top the bread with the pepper leaves & sprinkle the cheese over it. Toast in a toaster oven (or broil in oven) for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese.

Fried Egg Over Pepper Plant Leaves



1-1/2 cups coursely chopped pepper plant leaves, and chopped small unseeded peppers from the plant
1 egg, medium to large
1 slice bacon
1 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste


Cook & crumble the slice of bacon. Set aside.
Over medium heat, fry the pepper/leaf mixture in a small amount of olive oil until the leaves wilt.
Add the rosemary & thyme and move to the side of the pan.
Fry an egg in the pan, over medium or over easy.
Spread the peppers & leaves over a small plate.
Top with the egg, bacon & parmesan. Salt & pepper to taste.

Further Reading

Zucchino Rampicante

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