For Less-Spicy Italian Beef Sandwiches, Use Sauteed Green Peppers Over Giardiniera

Between the succulent beef, savory jus, crusty bread, and pickled veggies, Italian beef sandwiches are bursting with flavor. But these sandwiches aren't for the faint of heart, as the latter ingredient, also known as giardiniera, is known for being ultra-spicy. Besides the blander veggies like cauliflower, red pepper, and carrots, Chicago-style giardiniera is typically packed full of jalapeños, Serrano chiles, pepperoncini, or red pepper flakes. Just one of these peppers might not pack much spice on its own, but when you cram three or four of them in a jar with the other ingredients, you're left with a hot condiment.

If you've found Italian beef sandwiches to be too spicy for your tastebuds for this reason, you don't have to give up on them entirely. There are still plenty of other flavors to enjoy here — and if you want to remove some of the heat, sub in sauteed green peppers for giardiniera. You can add pepperoncini in as well if you want to preserve a little spice and brine, but taking out the giardiniera should make your sandwiches milder for the most part. And with the inclusion of green peppers, you'll get fresh, earthy bites that will nicely balance out the richer elements of this meal.

How to make Italian beef sandwiches with green peppers

Between the cooked meat and pickled veggies, there aren't typically any fresh ingredients included in Italian beef sandwiches. So when you incorporate green peppers, you'll want to cook them first to avoid a harsh texture contrast. The best way to do this is to saute (or roast) your fruits after slicing them, along with some salt and pepper. If you're making your beef in a slow cooker, avoid cooking your peppers in there at the same time. What you can do, however, is toss them in the device during the last 15 minutes or so, cranking the heat up to high, after removing the meat.

When it comes time to assemble your sandwiches, the green peppers should go on top of the beef and cheese, but underneath any extra jus. As we mentioned, you can also include pepperoncini, either sliced or whole, for a slight kick that likely won't overpower your palette. But if you prefer your sandwich entirely sans spice, use green peppers as your only type. If you want the inclusion of pickled veggies without any heat, you may be able to find cans of mild giardiniera, although you'll want to taste test first to make sure. But to stay on the safe side and focus on fresh, earthy flavor additions, go with green peppers instead.