I can’t believe it has taken me so long to publish this recipe. Not only is it one of my all-time favourites – I eat this at least 5 or 6 times in a month – but I do believe that it is one of the most versatile (and healthier) concoctions I’ve ever had the pleasure of dreaming up. This roasted red pepper and garlic sauce is fresh, a little smokey, slightly tangy and incredibly delicious – the flavour of the roasted garlic will get your salivary glands going. Another thing I love about it, is that the texture is light and velvety (because the sauce gets strained through a sieve, you see) but you can also play around with how thick or thin you want the sauce to be, depending on what you want to use it for.
This mother-of-all-sauces can be used in so many ways. I use it as a pasta sauce, a sauce to eat with fish, a sauce to eat with mashed taters. I use it in cous cous/quinoa/bulgar wheat salads – I use it in my lasagne sauce and lately, on my wholewheat pizza bases (instead of the usual homemade tomato sauce). I even use this sauce as a dip: on it’s own – as is – and other times, mixed in with some smooth cottage or vegan cream cheese. Oh yeah, you heard me.
So, here’s the thing. If there was one recipe on this blog that you ever try out, make sure it’s this one. (Not only because it’s delicious, but also because it is packed with wholesome goodness, plus you can make big batches at a time and then just freeze it for later use). Awesome-sauce, right?
What you need to make roasted red pepper and garlic sauce:
– makes about 2 cups of sauce.
- 6 large red bell peppers
- 10-12 large garlic cloves with skins on (use a few more if your cloves are on the small side)
- handful of fresh basil, roughly torn
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh
- optional: 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh or dried oregano
- the juice of 1 medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon red grape vinegar
- 2 – 3 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
- approx. 1/2 teaspoon salt
- crushed black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
How to make roasted red pepper and garlic sauce:
- Set your oven to 220 degrees celsius.
- Place your red peppers and unpeeled garlic cloves on a lightly oiled oven tray.
- Roast the peppers and garlic for 10 minutes then remove from the oven – lightly press one or two of the garlic cloves to see whether they’re soft. If they are still firm inside, bake for a few more minutes.
- Once the garlic cloves feel squishy inside, remove them from the oven tray and then set them aside to cool.
- Return the peppers to the oven and roast for a further 20-30 minutes or until the peppers are crispy and black on the outside or look almost burnt.
- Using kitchen tongs and working gently, remove them from the oven tray one by one and place the peppers carefully inside a bowl. Cover the bowl tightly so that the peppers sweat – this makes it easier to get the skins/peels off later. (There will be pepper juices at the bottom of this bowl, set this aside for later use).
- Once the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, start removing their stalks and peel off their skins.
- Next, remove the seeds from the inside of the peppers. Toss all your cleaned and roasted red pepper flesh into a deep bowl and set aside. Pour the pepper juices in here too.
- Squeeze each roasted garlic clove until all the sticky garlicy mush comes out and add all of this roasted garlic paste to your bowl of red pepper flesh. Discard the empty garlic clove skins.
- Add all of your remaining ingredients to the peppers and garlic and blend to a smooth pulp.
- This is the most important step – taste the sauce. If you think it needs any additional salt, pepper, honey or lemon, add those now. (The sauce should be slightly sweet and slightly tangy with a little bit of a fresh, peppery hit from the basil).
- If you want to thin the sauce out a bit, add a few tablespoons of water at a time until it reaches the consistency you’re after.
- Pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes so that all the herbs and spices infuse properly.
- Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, strain through a sieve and use immediately or store in your fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.