the recipe calls for a red bell pepper. what can I use in stead of a red bell pepper.
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Why not a bell pepper? There are any number of excellent sweet peppers, but bells are by far the easiest to come by; nothing else really approaches the flavor, though I suppose you could use things like onion or celery to replace some of the texture and sweetness, or increase the body of the dish. Sweet paprika is another option, but there's really not that much resemblance.