Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto

Dinner, Pasta

Pasta: A Love Story.

Week nights are weird. Most of the time you’re tired and kind of want to just eat something, chill out, sit on the couch and watch a few things before you have to do it all over again the next day. I know what this feels like. And most nights cooking something even slightly labor-intensive is really daunting, but take-out also seems like a lot of work because you have to talk to someone…on the phone. And forget about driving somewhere, you JUST got home. UGH. And OMG the feeling of hungry has now turned into HANGRY (hungry + angry), and you just wanna eat something. right. this. second. When this is the case, I turn to pasta–it’s my go-to. Always and forever.

Over the years I’ve become a private master of the “15-minute pasta dish for one person.” Lemon pasta. Vegetable scrap pasta. Spaghetti with eggs and lots of black pepper. Carbonara. Butter and crushed red pepper (not all that exciting). Butter and cheese pasta (also not that exciting, but very dependable), and the list goes on and on…

If you do a small amount of planning and remember to a buy a few red peppers over the weekend, this is a new little 15-minute pasta that could enter your rotation. It’s a solid one.

Okay so I know I just sold you on “EASY,” “FAST,” and “15 Minutes Only.” But you do need to roast some red peppers.

The other alternative is that Trader Joe’s (and a lot of other supermarkets) actually carry roasted red bell peppers in the jar. Buying this will save this roasting step for you completely.

If you decide to roast them, it’s really no work at all, just a bit of oven time. An hour to be exact.

This pesto has a handful of fresh basil, a good amount of Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and walnuts, though, pine nuts or almonds would be lovely too.

Things are pulsed and pureed for about a minute. This pesto is sweet and slightly smokey. The walnuts give it a good nuttiness, while the basil add freshness.

Freshness is very important when shoveling big bites of carbs into your mouth, you kno.

Toss this pasta with some warm pasta, swirl it around your fork and turn on some bad television.

You’ve earned it.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Print this recipe!

2 large red bell peppers (or 1 pound of red bell peppers)
Olive Oil
2 whole garlic cloves
2 tablespoon walnuts
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Sea salt

1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Place the red peppers on a baking sheet and sprinkle both of them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer the peppers to a hot oven and roast for 1 hour, turning them over, using tongs, at the 30 minute mark. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. When the peppers are cool, using a knife, remove the seeds, white membrane inside and stem. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, add the garlic cloves and walnuts; pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Next, throw in the roasted red peppers, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, fresh basil, Parmesan-Reggiano, crushed red pepper and pulse until mixture is smooth-ish, about 1 minute. Salt to taste (I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt). Add a little more crushed red pepper, if you like, too.

Yields about 1 cup of pesto

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply thecitygourmand September 19, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Unreal, this will be great in the repertoire of the time poor i.e. me!

    • Reply Adrianna September 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Time poor is definitely a thing.

  • Reply Margherita September 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

    I love this kind of red pestos. It’s a great combination of flavors!

  • Reply Stine Marie Larsen September 19, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Looks delicious!
    … AND you’r gonna be on TheOfficialHungry on youtube! Can’t wait to see you there.. (Just a shame that i’m not gonna be able to try out all the places, as i’m living in Rome, Italy)

    • Reply Adrianna September 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      I am! I’ll share more details soon!

  • Reply jas September 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

    love a good pesto and freshly roasted capsicum pesto is amazing, thanks for the delicious reminder!

  • Reply Robin @ our semi organic life September 19, 2012 at 5:25 am

    This is such a genius idea! I may try it with more basil and just one pepper. I can’t wait! Thanks for such great inspiration!

  • Reply Mike September 19, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I thought you could just charr the peppers over the gas burner and then throw them in to a paper bag for a few minutes to sweat the skin off and then you have roasted pepper. Will that not work for this recipe?

    • Reply Adrianna September 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      It should. I haven’t tried that method. Putting them in the bag should steam them. Hopefully they’ll be super soft as these were.

      • Reply Rachel September 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

        That’s how I do it too! Super fast and easy.

  • Reply Manon September 19, 2012 at 7:38 am

    This looks really good. And I feel the same every evening and I think 15 minute meals are the best. At least way better than most take away food.

  • Reply Sam Ana September 19, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Looks delicious! Simpel ingredients , great for any day.

    Sam Ana

  • Reply Tiffany D. September 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

    You are so right about weeknights! I used to love coming home to cook but now I’m just starving and want to hurt someone if food isn’t in front of me ASAP. Thanks for the recipe for this sauce! I’ll probably try it soon. 🙂

  • Reply tricerapops September 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

    This is so bomb.

  • Reply Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes September 19, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a red pesto….love it!

  • Reply Katie @ Blonde Ambition September 19, 2012 at 10:07 am

    One of the first meals I ever made in college that wasn’t out of a jar or frozen box was a recipe for pasta with red pepper sauce. It was the first time I ever roasted a red bell pepper, and those sweet charred babies have been my absolute favorite thing ever since!

    I love charring them on my gas grill to save a little bit of time 🙂

  • Reply Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) September 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

    You can also roast them directly over a gas burner and it saves a ton of time!

  • Reply [email protected] September 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

    That looks RIDICULOUS.

    I love me some roasted red pepper. And while the jarred versions can be really good, there’s nothing quite like a freshly roasted pepper, is there? I usually do them on the burner; cuts about 55 minutes out of the cooking time.

  • Reply Kristi Rimkus September 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I love that you roast your own peppers. I think the flavor is so much better the processed. Yummy pasta!

  • Reply Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking September 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Pasta for one. Amaze! I usually throw in tons of fresh mozzarella or Buratta to whatever pasta I am indulging in.

  • Reply Eileen September 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

    This pesto sounds so intense and amazing! I love it. This is exactly the kind of comforting dinner I want when I’m home alone in front of the tv. 🙂

  • Reply sarah September 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    this makes me super happy bc it’s red, but it’s not tomatoes (allergic). must make…

  • Reply Lynna September 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    This sounds amazinggg!

  • Reply Pooja September 19, 2012 at 8:24 pm


  • Reply Suzanne Perazzini September 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    This is a great looking pasta sauce. Anything that can be thrown together in a food processor is my friend. I too would roast them on a stove top burner or in the oven under the grill like the commenter above. It’s a little messy but much faster. Or of course buy them in a jar already skinned and roasted, like you said.

  • Reply The Guilty Hyena September 20, 2012 at 6:17 am

    could do with changing my spaghetti meal up to something more fresh. 🙂

    ▲▲ HYENA

  • Reply [email protected] September 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I love red pepper pesto. . .this is my kind of pasta!

  • Reply Marie September 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    This looks amazing and so tasty! 🙂

  • Reply Nicole : Hourglass&Bloom September 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    OMG this looks so good! Pasta is certainly a weeknight go-to in my house too……..I’m always looking for new twists!

    PS – do you think an immersion blender would work in lieu of a blender in this case? I just got one as a gift and am looking for ways to give it a go (besides soup)!


    • Reply Adrianna September 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Hmm. If it’s a really good immersion blender, then I’d say yes. Worse case scenario is that I’d be kind of chunky and you’d have to move it to the food processor. So yeah, give it a go! Why not.

  • Reply Liz September 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

    OMG this was the greatest.

    Gone are the days of Summer, when I could spend evenings and afternoons trying any recipe my tummy desired. But, even late on a Thursday night after a long day of work, this had to be tried. Super easy, super yummy. Thanks!

  • Reply Emily September 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I’ve never had this type of pesto before and I’m so excited to try it!

  • Reply Elizabeth September 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Delightful! Very yummy. I used to do my peppers on the stovetop when I had a gas oven but now that I have electric, this is a great option. Thanks!

  • Reply Maggie September 26, 2012 at 9:06 am

    That entire first paragraph sounds like I wrote it myself. “Hangry” is totally accurate after working all day and sitting in traffic for an hour.

    I’ll probably buy roasted red peppers. thanks for understanding easy, quick, cheap and I WANT FOOD RIGHT NOW feelings. <3

  • Reply Torrie @ a place to share... September 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

    found this last week (on pinterest) and made it for a quick (we really needed *quick!) lunch. SO good… as good as i hoped it would be, based on the image :).

    linking on my blog tomorrow (as well as another one that I write a ‘gardening’ column for)! happy to have discovered your blog!

    …and the “15 minute pasta dish for one person”?? LOVE this’ genre’ of recipes.

    • Reply Adrianna September 26, 2012 at 10:47 am

      YES! I’m totally going to make more “fifteen minute meals for one”!

  • Reply Chris September 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    When I made this I found that two cloves of garlic was way too much for 1 cup of pesto. If you don’t want the garlic to overwhelm, I suggest one clove.

  • Reply Yelle September 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Oh my! I just stumbled upon this blog and may have found my new source for recipes! This looks absolutely delicious, I’m not sure if I can wait too long to make this. Definitely bookmarking // thanks!

  • Reply Tina September 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Just made this with my sis-in-law and 6 yr old nephew. Hubby says its way better than any pesto he’s ever had! Delicious and easy!

    • Reply Adrianna September 29, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      YES! I love this.

  • Reply Heidi October 12, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Red peppers were on sale so I’m roasting a dozen of them today and found this site looking for new recipes to use them in. My extra-easy way to roast red peppers in an electric oven is:

    1. Preheat the broiler on high with a rack about 3 inches from the element
    2. Wash, halve them, remove the membrane & seeds, and then flatten them with the palm of your hand on a foil-lined sheet pan
    3. Roast them on the top rack under a hot broiler with the oven door ajar so the broiler doesn’t cycle off. Start checking at 10 minutes. When the skins are all black or almost all black remove them from the oven.
    4. Gather up the peppers into the foil to steam them and allow to cool.
    5. When cool, slough off the skin and discard.
    6. Store the peppers in their own juice in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; freeze them for longer periods; or make sauces, pesto, etc., which may also be frozen.

    Right now, I’ve got an “assembly line” going of peppers being roasted one sheet pan at a time since that’s all that will fit on the top shelf of my oven. A little later this afternoon, I’ll slough off the skins. Then I’ll have lots of roasted red peppers to hold us through the lean winter when they skyrocket in price at the grocery store. Enjoy!

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  • Reply Annie July 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Love fast pastas on hot summer nights when you don’t want to spend time cooking and definitely don’t want to turn on the oven. You can roast peppers on the grill too. Just rub some olive oil (or spray with cooking spray) on the peppers, grill until they have a nice char on them, take them off the grill and wrap them in a clean kitchen towel until they are cool enough to handle. Then you can peel the skin off.

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  • Reply wolfhands September 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I made a varietion with a yellow and orange peppers, and left out the walnuts because my boyfriends allergic.
    So good! I used it as the sauce for a puff pastry pizza with roasted tomatoes and fresh basil and mozzarella. Now I’m going to eat it on toast for lunch! 🙂

  • Reply Adrianne September 25, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Made this tonight and love it! I also really like roasting the peppers in the oven versus what I had been doing, which was roasting them on the stove top. This is much better. And the pesto came out so sweet and flavorful. I had sweet peppers in my CSA box, so that may have made it sweeter than bell peppers. This is something I’ll be returning to and freezing for future use frequently. Thanks, Adrianna.

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    Thats brilliant, i m surely going to try this….

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