Quick and easy Vegan Red Pepper Pesto comes together in the time it takes your pasta to boil. It's a tangy, sweet, creamy sauce that's totally addictive.
Making Red Pepper Pesto
The thing I love most about pesto is how quickly it comes together. No cooking needed. This vegan red pepper pesto uses jarred, roasted red peppers, so you don't have to fire up the oven to get that tangy red pepper goodness.
Before you start making the sauce, get your pasta on the stove.
While the pasta boils, drain your jar of peppers, then puree them in the blender with fresh basil, cashews, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.
The result is a tangy, sweet, creamy sauce that's totally addictive. Toss it with your cooked and drained pasta, add some sliced black olives, and supper is served.
Really, that's it. Because you can make your sauce while the pasta cooks, dinner is on the table in around 20 minutes. Usually a bit less than that!
Let's Talk Pesto (and Ways to Use It!)
Before we get to the recipe, let's talk about what pesto even is. Typically, it's a green sauce starring basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. This red pepper pesto recipe is a little bit offbeat, but its roots are in a traditional pesto.
It's a lot of fun to mix up pestos, and I do it all the time! Really, any sauce that's a combination of herbs, nuts or seeds, oil, garlic, something acidic (like lemon or vinegar), and a cheesy element (like nutritional yeast). These are some of the mixed up pestos I've made in the past:
Like a more conventional pesto, you can serve this red pepper version tossed with pasta, like I did here, but there are so many delicious applications for a good pesto like this one:
- Use it as a decadent sauce in place of tomato sauce in a lasagna.
- Serve it in a bowl with plenty of fresh, warm, crusty bread for dipping.
- Spread it onto your next sandwich or wrap instead of mayo.
- Use it in place of pizza sauce.
- Spread it onto bread slices for pesto crostini, or use cucumber slices to lighten things up, like I did with this raw crostini.
- Use it as a sauce for your next vegan bowl.
Now that you're ready to eat some pesto, let's get to the recipe, so you can see just how easy it is to make this one!
Vegan Red Pepper Pesto
- 1 pound fettuccini
- 1 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers - drained
- ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves and stems
- ½ cup roasted, salted cashews
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 3.8 ounce cans sliced black olives
- 1 batch Magical Fairy Dust - for topping, optional
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain.
- While the pasta cooks, combine all of the pesto ingredients in your blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.
- To serve, transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and toss with the red pepper pesto and sliced olives. Serve hot, topped with Magical Fairy Dust.