Roasted pepper pesto is a sophisticated and creative interpretation of the traditional Italian pesto sauce.
I use a mixture of parsley and basil here, but the parsley plays the main role. And instead of pine nuts, I use almonds.
Pesto in general is a flexible recipe that varies by region and season.
This recipe is notable for the rich and sweet flavor of the roasted peppers, which blends perfectly with the bitterness of the almonds and the aroma of the parsley. Parmesan adds a note of saltiness and mind-blowing depth, while garlic provides a sharpness that balances the sweetness of the peppers.
Making this pesto requires no special culinary skill, but will require time to roast the peppers. Ideally, you’ll roast it on a charcoal grill and then peel off the skin and seeds afterward. The smoky flavor will come in handy here.
A more homemade option is to roast the peppers in the oven or on an open flame from a gas burner.
The easiest way is to buy ready-made, roasted peppers at the store. They are sold rolled up in jars, in their own juice and can keep for a very long time. Good both as a complete appetizer (for example, you can make bruschetta with cream cheese and roasted peppers) and as a base for many other dishes, like this pesto sauce.
How do you prepare the sweet peppers for this recipe?
In the oven
- Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F).
- Place the peppers whole on a baking tray lined with parchment.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes, until the skins are charred.
- Remove from oven and cover bell peppers with foil or place in a bowl and cover with a lid to steam for 15-20 minutes.
- Peel the peppers, cut them open and remove the stems, seeds and white ribs.
On the gas burner
- Place the peppers directly on the grate of the gas burner.
- Turn on medium heat and roast the peppers, turning them occasionally with tongs, until evenly charred. This should take about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer the charred peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, foil or a plate and let steam for about 15 minutes.
- Peel the blackened skin off the peppers, then remove the stalks, seeds and pith.
⏱ Cooking time — 15 minutes overall. Includes 15 minutes of preparation and cooking + 0 minutes unattended.
- 200 g (7 oz) roasted bell pepper pulp
- 75 g (2 ⅔ oz) blanched almonds (or blanch them yourself)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 60 g (2 ⅛ oz) parsley
- 30 g (1 oz) green basil
- 50 g (1 ¾ oz) parmesan cheese
- 60 ml (4 tbsp.) olive oil
- 2-3 stalks of green onion
- 2 tsp. salt
Processing and preparation of sweet peppers
Peel 200 g (7 oz) of roasted sweet peppers from the skin and place the pulp in a blender or tall glass.
Note that if you are using purchased, rolled-in jars peppers – it has a lot of excess moisture. It is desirable to let it drain and then measure out the necessary amount of pulp before starting to prepare the sauce.
Prepare the herbs and add the almonds
Cut off the bottom of the stems from the parsley bunch, roughly chop the parsley and ½ bunch of basil into 3-4 pieces for convenience and place in the bowl of a blender.
Add 75 g (2 ⅔ oz) of blanched almonds to the blender. If you can’t find blanched almonds – no problem, use these instructions to blanch (remove the skin) yourself.
Adding the rest of the ingredients
Peel 2 cloves of garlic and add to the rest of the ingredients.
Grate 50 g (1 ¾ oz) of Parmesan on a fine grater and add to the bowl.
Pour in 60 ml (4 tbsp.) of olive oil and add 2 tsp. of salt.
Mixing and adjusting the flavor
Grind all ingredients with a blender until a mushy consistency is obtained. Taste for flavor, adjust salt if necessary.
Transfer to a jar for storage or use immediately.
What to do with red pepper pesto?
How can I use Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto?
This pesto can be used in many ways. It can be spread on sandwiches, tossed with pasta, used as a dip for vegetables or bread, or served with grilled meat or fish.
Can I use a different type of cheese instead of Parmesan?
Yes, you can use another hard, aged cheese such as Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano. However, keep in mind that different cheeses will slightly alter the flavor of the pesto.
How long can I store the Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto?
Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
Can I make Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto vegan?
Absolutely. To make a vegan version of this pesto, you can substitute the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan.
Can I use Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto as a pizza sauce?
Yes, you can. This pesto makes for a delicious and unique pizza sauce. Simply spread it on your pizza dough before adding your toppings.
What types of bell peppers are best for this recipe?
Any type of bell pepper can be used, but red, orange, or yellow bell peppers are recommended for their sweeter flavor profile when roasted.
Can I use Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto for a pasta dish?
Absolutely! Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto is a great sauce for pasta. Simply toss the cooked pasta in the pesto, add some of the pasta water to adjust consistency if needed, and serve hot.
Can I use store-bought roasted bell peppers?
Yes, you can use store-bought roasted bell peppers. Just make sure they are well-drained to avoid a watery pesto.
Can I freeze the Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto?
Yes, this pesto can be frozen. Put it in an airtight container or in an ice cube tray for smaller, ready-to-use portions. It can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Can I use this pesto as a spread on toast?
Absolutely, Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto makes a great spread on toast. You can also add it to sandwiches for a flavor boost.
Can I use other herbs in place of basil?
Yes, you can use other herbs like parsley or cilantro. Keep in mind, the flavor will change accordingly.
Is Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto spicy?
No, bell peppers are generally sweet, especially when roasted. However, if you want to add some heat, you can add a small amount of chili pepper or a spicy variety of bell pepper.
Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto
- 200 g roasted bell pepper pulp
- 75 g blanched almonds (or blanch them yourself)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 60 g parsley
- 30 g green basil
- 50 g parmesan cheese
- 60 ml olive oil
- 2-3 stalks of green onion
- 2 tsp. salt
- Place the flesh of the roasted sweet peppers, previously peeled of their skins, in the blender.
- Cut the bottom part of the stems from the parsley and half a bunch of basil, chop coarsely and add to the blender. Add 75g of blanched almonds as well.
- Add two peeled garlic cloves, grated Parmesan, olive oil and salt to the blender.
- Chop all ingredients with a blender until you get a mushy consistency. Taste to taste, season with salt if necessary. Use immediately or transfer to a jar for storage.