This dairy free roasted red pepper pesto is a lightened up version of my favorite spicy roasted red pepper pesto, but it’s free from heavy cream and cheese.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love pesto. I have at least 8 pesto recipes on this site, and I’m always testing out new ones. But, one of my all time favorites is my spicy roasted red pepper pesto. It’s a really old recipe, so please ignore all the photos you see, but it’s an amazing recipe.
Since we gave up dairy, I haven’t attempted to make it, under the assumption that it couldn’t possible taste good without cheese or heavy cream. But, I was wrong. It’s actually just as good without the cream. It took a few small tweaks, but I made this dairy free roasted red pepper pesto work.
Replacing the cheese was the hard part because it provides a decent amount of umami and saltiness, but by increasing the amount of nuts and upping the salt by just a little fixes all that. You could swap the extra nuts (about 2 1/2 tablespoons) with nutritional yeast if you have it, but we didn’t have any when I made this.
And, it turns out that the cream didn’t do much more than loosen the sauce and provide a bit of creamy texture, and you can accomplish that by saving a bit of the starchy pasta water before you drain the pasta.
Two things to note:
- Don’t buy pickled peppers. I can’t tell you how many times I have made this mistake because I didn’t read the package. I think I have a full peck of pickled peppers in my pantry now. Just call me Peter Piper.
- This recipe makes enough to toss two pounds of pasta. You can freeze the remainder, or you can keep it for up to two weeks in the fridge.
- 1 cup roasted red bell peppers
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
- When serving with pasta, stir in the about 1/4 cup reserved pasta water when tossing the pesto and pasta together.
- Calories: 0
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg