Ask Niki: Capsicums and cheese

Q: My husband can’t tolerate capsicums, and they seem to show up in lots of recipes. What can I use instead? He also doesn’t like strongly-flavoured cheese (such as feta or blue cheese). What substitutes can I use without losing the cheesy flavour?

A: Capsicums are a tricky one. For me, capsicums give sweetness as well as a crunchy texture to recipes. Nothing else really has their flavour.

However, if the capsicums are used chopped in a dish, you could try using the same amount of carrot, which at least provides some sweetness. Red onion might add to the flavour, too, and give a little crunch. Celery would give a similar texture, without the flavour. In general, I would say you could just add any other vegetables that you like and you think will taste good.

Instead of feta and blue cheese you could try a milder soft cheese such as fresh mozzarella or even something like ricotta. Small pieces of a cheese like brie may also be suitable. Experiment a bit, and see what your husband likes!

First published: Jun 2011

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