Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

If you are a follower or even a fan of this blog, you’ll know that I love roasted red peppers (also pork belly, pasta and all things chicken but I digress).  No offense to fresh, crunchy, raw red peppers, but roasted is where it is at.  Soft, sweet and the perfect accompaniment to cheese (which is another favorite food).  I’ve made a salad with it, stuffed them in a sandwich and of course, pasta sauce.  I can’t get enough of them, which isn’t a bad thing since they are packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C and other good stuff.

red pepper pesto in ramekin on a board with cheese and penne

If you’re like me and also a big fan, then you will also understand the struggle of having a fridge full of these delicious vegetables but getting tired of always using the same old recipes.  So I decided to try my hand at making my own red pepper pesto.  I am not very keen on the jar of red pesto but my husband keeps buying them nonetheless.  After the hundredth time of watching him spoon it over his pasta (“I was raised to think of it as a condiment!” he claims) and be disappointed, I decided no more.  As always, homemade is best made and premade pestos ain’t got nothing on me.

roasted chicken with mushrooms over penne tossed in red pepper pesto

This red pepper pesto is like the perfect woman – full of flavor, sweet in a good way and just a tad salty.  I am head over heels in love with it in more ways than one.  Smothered in penne, heaped over roasted chicken and as a dip for veggies.  Mark my words, one taste and you too will be just as smitten.

whole roasted red pepper on a cutting board
You can roast the peppers at home on the grill or in the oven. You’ll know when it is properly roasted when the skin is crinkly and the pepper is deflated. If you don’t feel up for roasting your peppers, feel free to use jarred peppers instead.
roasted red peppers in a food processor
If you are roasting your peppers at home, make sure to remove the skin and seeds inside before adding them to your mortar and pestle or food processor.
red peppers blitzed in food processor with fresh Basil
The traditional and some would argue, the best way to make pesto is via a good sturdy mortar and pestle. However, if you don’t have such a device to pulverize ingredients or you simply lack the patience and upper body strength, have no fear! A food processor works just as well.
red pepper pesto in ramekin on a board with cheese and penne
Toss with your favorite pasta or add to chicken for a flavorful and colorful meal.
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roasted red bell pepper pesto with cheese and penne on board

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Prep Time: 40
  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


Homemade pesto sauce of roasted red bell peppers, grated Parmesan cheese, cashews, fresh basil, garlic and olive oil.  Utterly addictive and extremely flavorful. #red #pesto #basil #cheese #garlic #cashews #oliveoil #pasta



2.8 oz / 80 g cashews

2 large red bell peppers

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

34 garlic cloves (I like garlic but if you aren’t a fan, scale it down to 1 or 2 cloves)

1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I like it cheesy but you can always make do with less)

1/4 cup -1/2 cup (2 oz to 4 oz) extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper


Wash and dry red bell peppers. Place them on the grill or roast in the oven at 450F / 230 F for 20 minutes or so.  You will know if the pepper is properly roasted when the skin blisters and it loses shape to become deflated.

Put peppers in a lidded container or paper bag and seal.  This will allow them to steam from the inside out. When cool, remove skin, stem and seeds inside. Cut into strips.

Using a mortar or pestle, crush or blitz cashews into a fine powder. Set aside.

Using a mortar or pestle, crush or blitz basil leaves and garlic. Set aside.

Using a mortar or pestle, crush or blitz roasted red bell peppers.

Mix together in a medium to a large bowl the ground cashews, basil and garlic, and roasted red bell peppers.  Add grated Parmesan cheese and enough olive oil to get the consistency that you prefer.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss with your favorite pasta, veggies or chicken.

  • Category: Sauce, Pasta
  • Method: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: red pepper, pesto, basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, cashews, olive oil



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