Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (made Vegan)

This is a recipe that I posted over 2 years ago - back when I indulged in all things gluten and dairy! It was one of my very favorite recipes - it's easy to make and it is so delicious! I had to make a few little changes to make this recipe allergen free but it was so worth it and the end result was just as delicious! I had forgotten how much I loved this recipe but it is so darn good. It's like pesto, but better! And I LOVE pesto, so that is saying a lot! If you are a pesto lover to you might need to give this recipe a try, like tonight!

Let me start by saying that I started this recipe thinking I wasn't going to take pictures since I'd already blogged this recipe. My intention was really to make a family dinner until I realized that I hadn't blogged a dairy free version of this recipe & it is so worth sharing! Once I realized I should be taking pictures, i already had everything in my food processor. So there might be some pictures missing from the beginning, but it's as easy at it looks - everything really just gets tossed in the food processor!

Another quick note - I doubled this recipe, so I'd have some sauce left over to freeze. We love pulling this sauce out of the freezer on a busy week night. it makes the most delicious (and quick!) week night dinner! I will share the single recipe, so my food processor might look a little more full than yours if you choose to make this.

Add 1 cup of roasted bell peppers to the bowl of your food processor along with 2/3 cup of pine nuts, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of fresh basil, 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast and salt & pepper to taste. 

1 cup of roasted bell peppers is about 2 peppers. The original recipe calls for red pepper & red pepper works great but I use whatever color pepper I have on hand. I often sub in yellow or orange peppers. 
Let the food processor blend everything together. it'll look a little rough and that's okay. It will smooth out when you stream in the olive oil. I usually stop it before the sauce is uniform on purpose - I don't need everything to be blended perfectly at this step - that will happen with the olive oil.

I do recommend scraping down the sides of the bowl though! Lots of little pieces of basil get stuck to the walls of my food processor. I use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is being incorporated.
Slowly stream in 2/3 cup of olive oil as the food processor is running and let the food process blend until your sauce is uniform and smooth. And taste it! I always taste the sauce at this point because it's so darn good! And try to resist eating the whole thing off a spoon (i tols you I love pesto!).
When you're sauce is done, or when your sauce is almost done (I'm a fan of efficiency!), cook 1 pound of penne pasta. I use gluten free penne, but you could use regular pasta too. I know all pasta is technically the same (in taste!), but I like penne best with this sauce.
When the pasta is fully cooked, drain it and stir in the sauce. I thin out the sauce with a little bit of cashew milk. This is not necessary but I like a bit of a thinner sauce especially in this case. Before cutting dairy, I mixed in some heavy cream. it is delightful with heavy cream but cashew milk offers a bit of a lighter option and is still delicious! I'm thinking coconut cream would be a perfect adding too!

I serve this pasta topped with a little bit of vegan Parmesan because everything is better with Parmesan on top!

(Vegan & Gluten Free Option)
serves 6

1 cup roasted bell pepper (about 2 bell peppers)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons Nutritional yeast
salt & pepper, to taste
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb penne pasta
2-3 Tablespoons cashew milk or coconut cream

1. Put the roasted bell peppers, basil, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in the bowl of your food processor. blend until just combined.
2. Leave the food processor running and slowly stream in the olive oil. Continue blending until the sauce is uniform and smooth.
3. Cook the penne pasta. Once cooked, drain and return to the pot to mix with cashew milk/coconut cream and sauce.
4. Serve with Parmesan (vegan, if necessary) and enjoy!

As usual, let me know if you have questions!

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