Red Pepper Pesto, is a combination of the smoky sweetness of roasted red bell peppers, garlic, Parmesan cheese, almonds and pine nuts to create a delicious pesto. Toss it with pasta for a delectable meal, spread it on sandwiches for a burst of flavor, or use it as a dressing to elevate salads. It’s such a versatile and scrumptious Italian recipe!
I love making homemade pesto recipes, especially during the hot months. They are easy to make and no turning on a hot oven! I always think the last one I made is our favorite. From of course, a classic Basil Pesto to a Zucchini pesto to one of my favorites this Sun-dried Tomato pesto.
- Peppers – roasted red peppers (bell peppers)
- Almonds – roasted skinned almonds
- Basil – fresh basil leaves
- Garlic – garlic cloves finely chopped
- Pine nuts –
- Olive oil – extra virgin olive oil – good quality since it is being used raw
- Parmesan cheese – freshly grated parmesan cheese
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How to make a Red Pesto Recipe
Place the almonds on a baking sheet and roast until golden, immediately transfer the almonds from the baking sheet to a clean bowl, set aside to cool.
In a pre-heated oven roast the peppers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Transfer the roasted peppers to a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let sit for about 20 minutes.
Remove the skin and seeds and cut or tear into pieces.
Place the pepper slices, almonds, basil, finely chopped garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese and salt in the food processor or blender.
Pulse or blend until the desired consistency is obtained.
Transfer to clean jar or air tight container. Use immediately or store in the fridge or freezer.
Tips for making the best pesto
- If you like a chunkier pest then you can add the almonds whole, if you prefer a creamier pesto then chop the nuts before adding with the other ingredients.
- For the best pesto be sure to use good quality ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- If you find the pesto too thick then add a little more olive oil.
- Be sure to adjust for salt if using a saltier cheese.
What are pine nuts?
Pine nuts are the edible seeds produced by some species of pine; among these, the best known is “Pinus pinea”, also called “domestic” or “common” pine. In Italy they are cultivated, mostly in the regions of Tuscany and Lazio.
Is Basil good for you?
Basil is one of my favorite herbs, from its wonderful flavorful to amazing aroma. It is also loaded with health benefits. It is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
These can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It is also a good source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health.
Pine nuts are also good for you, they are a good source of nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. They are high in healthy fats, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Are red peppers good for you?
Yes they are, they are a great source of vitamin C, especially red peppers. Bell peppers also have antioxidant properties, which might help protect against cardiovascular disease and some cancers. They are also a good source of vitamin A and fiber.
What is Pesto?
Pesto alla Genovese is a traditional condiment typical of Genova the capital of Liguria in Italy. Its main ingredient is basil, although now a lot of different ingredients are used to make a pesto, such as this one.
Originally made using a marble mortar and a circular motion with a wooden pestle, now a food processor or blender makes it fast and easy.
All the ingredients including the basil, salt, pine nuts and garlic, Parmesan, and of course extra virgin olive oil were placed in the mortar and combined until a thick creamy paste was made.
Pesto is never cooked and is usually tossed with pasta or used on a spread such as pizza or even a sandwich.
What substitutions can I make for the roasted red pepper pesto?
You could use half the pine nuts and add more almonds. If you prefer you could use pecorino cheese instead of parmesan or half and half. You could add a dash or two of black pepper.
How to use Red Pepper Pesto
- Toss cooked pasta with pesto for a quick and easy meal.
- Spread pesto on a pizza crust before adding toppings.
- Use pesto as a sandwich spread or a dip for vegetables.
- Mix pesto with mayonnaise to create a flavorful condiment for burgers or grilled chicken.
How to store the Pesto
It should be stored in a jar with a tight fitting lid or an airtight container. Cover the pesto with a drizzle of olive oil before closing, then store in the refrigerator for approximately 5 days.
You can also freeze pesto in freezer safe jars, containers, freezer bags or even ice cube trays. It will keep for up to 6 months. Thaw the pesto completely at room temperature before using.
So why not elevate your dishes and indulge in the rich and satisfying taste of this Red Pepper Pesto?! I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think. Buon Appetito!
Red Pepper Pesto
- 2 large red bell peppers (1.2 pounds/600 grams)
- 2 ounces blanched almonds roasted (approx 5½ tablespoons)
- ¾ ounces fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 ounces pine nuts
- ¼-⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1-2 pinches salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Place nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until they are golden brown, remove immediately from pan to cool.
- Raise the heat to 220C, place washed whole peppers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes until completely roasted. Transfer the roasted peppers to a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let sit for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the skin and seed and cut or tear into pieces.
- Place the pepper slices, almonds, basil, finely chopped garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese and salt in the food processor or blender. Pulse or blend until the desired consistency is obtained. Taste for salt, more might be needed.
- Transfer the pesto to a clean jar or air tight container. Use immediately or store in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy!