Last week, I was fortunate to pick up a big load of sweet Italian peppers from our local farm, and I knew right away what I wanted to do with them. My mind immediately went to this recipe, a pesto made from roasted red peppers, toasted almonds, and a splash of vinegar for acidity. With a little prep work, this recipe comes together quickly to make the most delicious, most flavorful dip that I’ve had in a while. Bonus, it happens to be completely vegan, and a cheese-free pesto (which I promise, you won’t even miss it!).
I pre-roasted the peppers to reduce some of the water in the peppers and to concentrate their flavors and sweetness. I think this is a key step to making this pesto ultra-delicious, but if you are in a pinch, you can start with raw peppers and is should still come together. Adding the almonds creates an almond butter flavor and texture in the pesto as it blends, which adds beautiful body and toasted almond flavor that works so perfectly with the roasted peppers. I added a splash of apple cider vinegar to my pesto, but other vinegar options will work here (rice wine, red wine, white balsamic) if you need a sub. Finally, I used dried rosemary here in this recipe, but feel free to swap for fresh or any herbs that you like (oregano, thyme, or parsley would all be great here).
Recipe down below, photo up top! This recipe makes a lot of pesto, but it lasts for a couple of weeks in the fridge, and it goes well with everything. Use it as a spread on sandwiches, add a dollop to your favorite salad, use it as a dipper with pita and veggies, or use it to top some freshly baked tostadas or tacos. Mix a big dollop into pasta for an instantly flavorful sauce as well, hot or cold for pasta salads would both be delicious. So many options for this one little sauce, so if you have a lot of peppers on hand, make this!
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
- 20 sweet Italian peppers, halved and cleaned
- Swap for 10 bell peppers
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup almonds, lightly toasted
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Wash and shake dry all of the peppers. Remove the tops (stem end) of each of the peppers, and slice the peppers in half (lengthwise). Remove the seeds and ribs of the peppers, and place each pepper half on a baking sheet. Toss the cleaned pepper halves in the 1 tbsp of olive oil, and place in the preheated oven to roast for 45 minutes until fully tender. Once roasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 30 minutes before proceeding, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight before continuing.
- Add the almonds to a small pan, and toast lightly over medium-low heat until slightly browned and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.
- Once the peppers are roasted and cooled, add them to a blender along with the toasted almonds, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and dried rosemary. Pulse the mixture until the ingredients form a smooth paste and fully emulsifies together.
- Once the pesto comes together, transfer to a sealable container to store for later, or use immediately. Enjoy!