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Inspired from a trip to Spain, this Roasted Capsicum Pesto is delicious and simple to make!
This red capsicum pesto was inspired by a visit to Spain last year. Since then, I have been craving the flavours of Spain. Spanish food is colourful, vibrant and full of flavour. Dishes vary across the different regions but the use of olive oil and garlic is common to all areas as is the use of fresh, local ingredients.
A mound of glorious red capsicums inspired the idea for this pesto which I have adapted to suit various dietary requirements. The vibrant red colour is very appetising and will brighten the dullest day.
As mentioned in my post for Roasted Capsicum Soup with Basil Oil, aside from being delicious, red capsicum has a lot of health benefits! They’re a great source of Vitamin A, B6 and C, and are packed full of antioxidants. I enjoy eating capsicum both raw and cooked. Serve strips of capsicum on a dip platter or add to your salad for a burst of colour. Capsicum is a great addition to pasta sauces and on pizza. Fill halved peppers with a delicious array of ingredients and roast, like my Piedmontese Roasted Peppers.
I frequently serve the pesto as a dip but it is very flexible and can be used in a number of ways. I have provided a few serving suggestions below the recipe.
xx Alex and Faye
P.S. Check out some of our other great dip recipes here! Enjoy the different vibrant colours – they will look great on a platter:
- Whipped Feta
- Green Goddess Dip
- Easy Hummus
- Caramelised Onion Dip
- The Best Baba Ganoush
- Simple and Delicious Tuna Dip
- Avocado, Yoghurt and Mint Dip
- Roasted Carrot Hummus
- Cannellini Bean Dip
- Smoked Salmon Pate
Roasted Capsicum Pesto
A Spanish inspired twist on pesto -
And it just happens to be vegan and gluten free!
- 2 red capsicums roasted and peeled
- ¼ cup blanched almonds toasted
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove chopped
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To roast the capsicums, put them on their sides under a hot oven grill. Grill them for 15-20 minutes, giving a quarter-turn every 5 minutes or so, until the peppers are charred and soft. The skin will become very black and crispy and that gives them a slightly smoky flavour.
Remove from the oven, place into a paper bag and seal or put into a heatproof bowl and sit a plate on top. The steam makes it easier to remove the skins. Let them steam for 15-20 minutes then remove the charred skin, the stalk and the seeds.
Cut into strips; they don’t need to be uniform as you’re going to blend them.
Pat the roasted and peeled red capsicum strips with paper towel. It’s important to remove as much moisture as possible so the pesto is not too thin.
Heat your oven to 180oC. Place blanched almonds onto a small tray and toast 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and aromatic. Tip into a bowl and set aside until cool.
Put the capsicums and almonds, along with the remaining ingredients, into a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Put into a serving bowl and enjoy.
To obtain a smooth result, a high speed blender is necessary. I use a NutriBullet. If you want a smooth result but don’t have a high speed blender I would recommend pushing the pesto through a sieve.
When choosing capsicums to roast, I look for the smoothest ones as they are easiest to peel. Avoid those which are not a regular shape and have too many nooks and crannies.
Please don’t try this recipe with green capsicums. They are not as ripe as red and have a slightly bitter flavour profile.
Keep an eye on the almonds when toasting them; they have a tendency to burn the moment you turn your back.
If you’re not on a gluten free diet, I have made some very simple pita chips to serve. Cut pita rounds into 8, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar. Bake in a 180oC oven for about 10 minutes.
Use the pesto as a dip with crackers and crudites.
For bruschetta, toast or grill some crusty bread. Spread with fresh goat cheese and top with the pesto.
Make crostini by slicing a baguette to ¼” rounds, brush both sides with olive oil and bake in a 180oC oven 10-15 minutes, turning once. When cool, top with pesto and a white anchovy.
For vegan bruschetta, top toasted crusty bread with pesto, rocket and black olives.
Stir the pesto through pasta with some pitted black olives and grated parmesan.
Serve alongside roast chicken.
27 1 349
27 1 349