Red Pepper Walnut Pesto

  • Yield: servings
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins


-- Half a large red bell pepper
2cloves garlic, peeled
3/4cup California walnuts, finely chopped
3/8cup sun-dried tomatoes
-- Handful of fresh basil, plus 4-5 leaves for garnish
3/8cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
-- salt, to taste
-- pepper, to taste
3/8cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Halve and trim red pepper and, when oven is heated, place half skin-side down on oven rack (or use a pan if preferred). Roast 15-20 minutes, or until skin is well shriveled (but not blackened).
  2. Place garlic cloves in medium saucepan, add cold water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Remove garlic using a slotted spoon (keeping water in pan), and set aside to drain.
  3. Meanwhile, quickly toast chopped walnuts in a warmed frying pan (without oil), stirring consistently, over medium-high heat just until they start to turn golden. Remove from heat and place on paper towels. 
  4. Place sun-dried tomatoes in saucepan containing reserved water, adding more water to cover as necessary. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 8-10 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon (keeping water in pan), and set aside to drain, blotting well with paper towels.
  5. Prepare an ice bath. Blanch basil very briefly (3-4 seconds) in still-warm reserved water.  Quickly transfer to ice bath. Drain and dry basil thoroughly with paper towels 
  6. Thoroughly dry all above ingredients with paper towels as necessary. Place in a blender or processor, adding 3/8 cup cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Blend, adding oil incrementally, until smooth and paste like.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 150
  • Glycemic Load 0
  • Fat 15g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 8g
  • Cholesterol 5mg
  • Sodium 210mg
  • Potassium 135mg
  • Carbohydrate 3g
  • Fiber 1g
  • Sugars 1g
  • Protein 3g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Vitamin A 6%
  • Vitamin C 20%
  • Calcium 4%
  • Iron 2%