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Red Pesto Recipe

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red pesto on a board with red pesto ingredients - parmesan, basil leaves, fennel seeds and olive oil. Pack of linguine is spilled open

A super easy red pesto recipe that’s perfect served with freshly cooked spaghetti. Made with flavoursome roasted red peppers.

Really make the most of the big juicy red peppers with this delicious Italian style red pesto recipe with roasted peppers. 

I often cook this as an easy weeknight dinner – I make the red pesto up before-hand then all that’s left for me to do for dinner is toss it through freshly cooked spaghetti.

I make the red pesto recipe with freshly roasted peppers, but if you’re short on time you could always use a jar of chargrilled peppers instead.

Red pesto ingredients

  • 4 red peppers
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic – minced
  • 2 handfuls of basil leaves – roughly torn
  • 80g Parmesan cheese – grated
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch black pepper

How to make red pesto

homemade red pesto in a bowl being stirred with a spoon

How to roast peppers

If you’re making the red pesto using peppers you’ve roasted yourself – here’s how to roast peppers, the easy way!

  • Preheat the oven -heat the oven to 200C and place the peppers in a roasting tin, don’t add oil or seasoning.
  • Roast the peppers – put the tray of peppers into the hot oven for around 30-40 minutes or until the start to soften and brown.
four roasted red peppers in an enamel baking tray
  • Let the peppers cool – once the peppers are roasted – remove from the oven and leave them to cool down for around 10-15 minutes until they’re cool enough to handle.
  • Remove the pepper skin – once the peppers are cool enough – sliced them into quarters, scrape out the seeds and the charred skin will gently pull away from the pepper flesh easily.
roasted red pepper with skins removed

Red pesto recipe

Once the peppers are roasted and the skins and seeds removed you can get on with making the red pesto.

  • Toast the fennel seeds – tip the fennel seeds into a dry frying pan and gently toast over a medium heat until they give off a warm spicy scent. Then grind them up using a pestle and mortar into a rough powder.
  • Make the red pesto – to make up the red pepper pesto first tip the peppers, garlic, basil, fennel and salt and pepper into the blender, pulse to a rough puree.
blended red peppers ready to make red pesto, block of Paremesan and Basil leaves on board next to pesto bowl
  • Add the Parmesan – and the olive oil, pulse again until you have the consistency you like.
grated Parmesan being added to red pesto

And… that’s it – your red pesto is ready to serve

homemade red pesto in a bowl being stirred with a spoon

Make red pesto your way

  • Make chilli pesto – go spicy with a pinch of chilli flakes or drizzle of chilli infused olive oil to your red pepper pesto
  • Use different herbs – switch the basil for finely chopped rosemary or thyme

Red pesto recipe ideas

There’s loads of delicious ways to serve red pesto!

  • Make red pesto pasta – stir through freshly cooked spaghetti and add a side salad for a delicious easy dinner. 
red pesto stirred through spaghetti scattered with basil
  • Roasted pepper bruschetta – use the red pesto to top freshly toasted bruschetta.
  • Add extra flavour to meals – stir the red pesto into soup or casseroles for added Italian vibe and flavour. 
  • Red pepper dip – use the red pesto as a delicious dip for crudités or breadsticks.

Get loads more easy dinner recipes here

More easy pesto recipes to try

  • Watercress pesto – a vibrant and flavoursome pesto recipe made using fresh watercress for a peppery but light taste.
  • Basil pesto – a quick and easy basil pesto recipe that’s perfect stirred through freshly cooked spaghetti.
  • Broccoli pesto – add some extra vegetables to your homemade pesto with our easy broccoli pesto recipe.

Love to eat Italian food? Try out more of our easy Italian recipes here

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Yield: Serves 4

Red Pesto Recipe

red pesto on a board with red pesto ingredients - parmesan, basil leaves, fennel seeds and olive oil. Pack of linguine is spilled open

A delicious, flavoursome red pesto made with roasted red peppers

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 red peppers
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 handfuls of Basil leaves - roughly chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
  • 80g Parmesan cheese - grated
  • 1 tbs olive oil 
  • Pinch sea salt 
  • Pinch ground black pepper 

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 200C and place the peppers in a roasting tin, don’t add oil or seasoning.
  2. Roast the peppers - put the tray of peppers into the hot oven for around 30-40 minutes or until the start to soften and brown.
  3. Once the peppers are roasted – remove from the oven and leave them to cool down for around 10-15 minutes until they’re cool enough to handle.
  4. When the peppers are cool enough – slice into quarters, scrape out the seeds and the charred skin will gently pull away from the pepper flesh easily.
  5. Tip the fennel seeds into a dry frying pan and gently toast over a medium heat until they give off a warm spicy scent. Then grind them up using a pestle and mortar into a rough powder.
  6. To make up the red pepper pesto first tip the peppers, garlic, basil, fennel and salt and pepper into the blender, pulse to a rough puree.
  7. Add the Parmesan – and the olive oil, pulse again until you have the consistency you like.
  8. Serve in your chosen recipe

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red pesto on a board with red pesto ingredients - parmesan, basil leaves, fennel seeds and olive oil. Pack of linguine is spilled open. Text overlay "delicious easy red pesto recipe"

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