I love pesto. The combination of creamy cashews, sharp parmesan and fragrant basil is just dreamy.
Unfortunately since going dairy free and now plant based, I haven’t been able to enjoy it so I kind of forgot about it.
That is until recently when a new range of plant based pesto’s appeared in our local food store. These new pesto’s were made with good quality extra virgin olive oil (as opposed to canola which is so often the case which store bought dips) and they tasted so authentic I was inspired to try and create my own.
I discovered the way to recreate the cheesy parmesan flavour in a vegan/plant based pesto is to use nutritional yeast (also called savoury yeast flakes), a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a little salt.
One of the first pesto recipes I created was a classic green pesto made with basil and spinach. It was so good I ate it with literally everything!
I’ve posted that recipe here Basil Pesto Zoodles with Roasted Tomatoes where I’ve tossed with zucchini and black bean noodles, but it’s equally good served straight as a dip on a sharing platter.
My next pesto recipe creation was this Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. While it might sound complicated, it’s actually very simple. Once you’ve roasted and peeled the red peppers, simply throw all the ingredients into a food processor.
If you don’t have a good food processor you might be tempted to use a blender, but don’t. Pesto should be a chunky dip and a blender is way too powerful and will turn your pesto into a sauce in two seconds.
Like the basil pesto, this roasted red pepper & sun-dried tomato pesto is delicious on it’s own, spread on crackers or toast, tossed with your favourite noodles or pasta or dolloped on top of a nourish bowl.
When you make this Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, let me know!
Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
Makes: 1 jar
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
2 red capsicum
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup cashews
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp turmeric
To roast the red peppers:
Preheat the oven to 180ºC, wash the 2 capsicums and place in the centre of a lined baking tray to roast for approximately 20 minutes.
The peppers are done when the skins start to blister and turn black. Remove from the oven and place in a sealed, heat proof container. This causes the peppers to steam and makes removing the skins much easier.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off their skins and discard along with their cores and seeds.
To make the pesto:
Place the roasted red peppers in a food processor with the sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, garlic and salt. Pulse/blend until they resemble coarse crumbs.
Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine but be careful not to over blend. You ‘re aiming for a pesto which should be chunky, rather than a smooth sauce.
Store the pesto in a jar in the fridge for up to 5 days (can also be frozen for up to 3 months).
Add your pesto to entertaining platters with your favourite crackers and crudités. Toss your pesto with your favourite noodles or zoodles. Add to sandwiches, salads or nourish bowls. Spread on toast with slice avocado.