I am a huge fan of making quick, easy and nutritious meals. Some of the best dishes use just the simplest of ingredients and there is no need to over complicate things. When I have had a busy day I know that I can turn to this dish and not have to worry about cooking away in the kitchen for hours. I tend to make a big batch of this red pepper pesto and then keep in the fridge (or freeze in individual portions) so that it is ready to go when I need it.
This recipe was actually created when I was looking in my fridge and wondering how I could use up some leftover peppers. I wanted to create a batch of something that I could easily keep in the freezer to help out on those weeks when I need back-ups and something sauce like came to mind. I then had a quick look at what else I had lying around and before you know it I was whipping up the ultimate fast food; pesto!
Roasted red pepper pesto…
It might sound like a hassle having to roast the peppers first but it really does bring out the flavour and is well worth doing. You could also use the jars of roasted peppers that you can get in most supermarkets but just make sure that there are no hidden nasties. The peppers are so sweet and juicy that they don’t need much in the way of accompaniments; to get that traditional pesto feel I added basil and also a touch of garlic. Then all you need is some extra virgin olive oil and some ground almonds and you have yourself a delicious homemade pesto.
This is one of the freshest sauces I have made and I am always making extra to give out to family and friends who much prefer it to the over manufactured pesto options that you find in the supermarket. If you wanted to make a traditional pesto then make sure you take a look at my recipe for Paleo Pasta & Pesto.
If you want something incredibly quick and easy then you can simply add the pesto to some courgetti/zoodles (raw or cooked) and then top with a sprinkling of chopped basil and a touch of Parmesan cheese if you include some dairy in your diet. I have also used this red pepper pesto to flavour meat and fish dishes and find it is really versatile (and not to mention delicious!) Keep an eye out for my stuffed chicken recipe coming soon which used this red pepper pesto and is a huge hit in my house.
You could replace the ground almonds with pine nuts if you prefer; roasted red onion would also match the flavours well if you have some that you want to use up. Finally, you can stir through coconut cream for a creamier, more decadent feel to the dish.
PIN THE RECIPE FOR LATER:
Servings: 4 people
- 4 courgettes (zucchini), spiralized
- Handful basil leaves, chopped to garnish
- For the Pesto:
- 4 red bell peppers, sliced into quarters
- ½ bunch basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 tbsp ground almonds
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 220C (430F).
- Line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper and place the peppers so that the skin side is facing up. Gently flatten the peppers if needed.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the skin has started to char and the flesh nice and moist.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Place the cooled peppers into a blender or food processor with the basil. Blitz together until combined.
- Add the ground almonds and blitz again until everything is combined.
- Taste the sauce and then add olive oil and sea salt taste as required.
- Add to spiralized courgette for a quick and healthy lunch or dinner option. You can have the courgette either raw or heated through.
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