Pickling vegetables can be an ambitious endeavor, and it’s a science trying to develop delicious flavors while avoiding incubating dangerous bacteria. This technique of a quick pickle, however, produces the best of flavor in just a short time (and without having to sterilize the jars). These wraps have great flavor and enough bite to lift them out of the mundane.
First, roasting the bell peppers gives them depth and complexity. Then a 24-hour bath in a salty vinegar mixture gives the peppers a bright acidity; this makes the peppers really pop, rather than the savory-subtle brine of the full-blown pickling process. Adding spinach gives the wraps crunch factor.
A few other elements really bring this sandwich together: Chopping all the vegetables before assembling the wraps ensures they won’t fall apart mid bite. Opting for whole wheat wraps turns them into a filling, high-fiber lunch. The flavor of the peppers is vibrant enough to hold their own against the extra nuttiness of the whole wheat.
A few quick tips: Arrange the vegetables over just three quarters of the wrap, leaving one edge free of toppings. Roll the wrap tightly, starting with the edge opposite the naked one (that way any vegetables displaced by the rolling will stay in the sandwich, rather than getting squeezed out). Also, spread the hummus in a relatively thin layer. After several rounds of making these wraps, I found that adding the hummus with a heavy hand was one of the few ways to mar the texture of the wrap and obscure the flavors of the peppers.
The quick-pickled peppers bring some brightness to the chilly months as we wait for spring to turn to summer. Sliced into thirds, these vegetarian roll-ups make an easy, portable choice to tote to parties (yours can be the shining beacon amid a buffet of take out, chicken wings, and chips on a Super Bowl Sunday).
Quick-Pickled Pepper Wraps
Makes about 8 wraps (which can then be cut in to halves or thirds for appetizers)
3 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers (any combination)
8 eight-inch whole wheat tortillas
8 oz hummus (I like “Greek style” or garlic-flavored hummus)
3 cups of baby spinach
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
For the pickling liquid:
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
1½ tablespoon kosher salt
Prepare the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast the whole peppers for about 30 minutes, until soft and the skins begin to crinkle and turn deep brown on the sides. Transfer the peppers to a bowl or brown paper bag and cover; allow to rest and cool for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the peppers should be easy to peel. Remove the skins, then slice the peppers into open halves and remove the seeds.
Prepare the pickling vinegar: Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to a simmer until the salt and sugar dissolve. Allow to cool. To pickle the peppers, add the vinegar and halved peppers in a bowl, ensuring that the peppers are covered. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
To assemble the wraps: Remove the peppers from the pickling liquid and chop into ½-inch pieces. Wash the spinach and cilantro and roughly chop (the exact size isn’t as important as the fact that you don’t want to pull out a whole spinach leaf with a bite). Spread a thin layer of hummus over one side of the tortilla. Sprinkle the peppers, cilantro, and spinach over ¾ of the surface of the tortilla. Wrap tightly. Slice into halves or thirds and secure with toothpicks if needed.