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Roasted Pepper (Capsicum) Pesto

Inspired by a trip to Spain, I developed my recipe for Roasted Pepper (Capsicum) Pesto. Spanish food is colourful, vibrant and full of flavour and this pesto epitomises these qualities. As well, it is simple to make!
Course Appetiser, Dip, Snack
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Standing Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 109kcal
Author Alexandra

Ingredients

  • 2 large red capsicums - roasted and peeled See Note 1
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds - toasted See Note 2
  • 1 tbsp olive oil See Notes 3 and 4
  • 1 small garlic clove - chopped
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice See Note 5
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Instructions

To Roast the Capsicums:

  • To roast the capsicums/peppers, put them on a foil-lined baking tray 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.
  • When you remove the capsicums, heat your oven to 180 degrees C (350F). Place the blanched almonds onto a small tray and toast 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and aromatic. Keep an eye on the almonds when roasting them; they have a tendency to burn the moment you turn your back. Tip into a bowl and set aside until cool.
  • After the capsicums have steamed for 15-20 minutes and are cool enough to handle, 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 a paper towel. It’s important to remove as much moisture as possible so the pesto is not too thin.

For the Pesto:

  • Put the capsicums and almonds, along with the remaining ingredients, into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. – see Note 6
  • Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Put into a serving bowl and enjoy.

Notes

  1. When choosing capsicums to roast, 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.
  2. Blanched almonds are almonds without the skin. They are readily available in supermarkets.
  3. For the best flavour and to obtain maximum nutritional benefit, I like to use extra virgin olive oil.
  4. The Australian tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. You may have to adjust your measurements accordingly.
  5. My preference is freshly squeezed lemon juice; the flavour is brighter than the bottled variety.
  6. 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 recommend pushing the pesto through a sieve. Alternatively, use a regular blender. The pesto will have a little more texture but will still be delicious.
  7. Please note, the nutritional information is based on this recipe being enjoyed as a starter by four people. It does not include what the pesto is served with. The nutritional information is an estimate only.

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2567IU | Vitamin C: 105mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg