Savoury and creamy with a hint of garlic this vegan creamy roast red pepper pasta sauce is not only gorgeous, it will also deliver at least two portions of vegetables per serving.
I was recently thumbing through a back issue of a Good Food magazine when I came across a pull out poster showing the quantities of all the different fruit and veg we can eat to get our five a day in. Thinking it might encourage the less willing five a dayers in my family I pulled it out and stuck it on the back of a kitchen cupboard door.
The result was amazing. Everyone suddenly started taking note of how much fruit and veg they ate and what constitutes a portion. At meal times the girls and Dan were doing a quick recky of what they had or hadn’t eaten that day and I did wonder how putting up a poster could achieve what hours of gentle persuasion and less gentle nagging could not.
The next day I decided to make a veg packed pasta sauce with some of the contents of my fridge. And here’s what I came up with. It’s a sauce that will deliver two of your five a day if you feed four people with it, although you could easily take it up to three portions of veg per serving. To do this just add a sweated onion to the blender with the rest of the ingredients and stir a bowl full of fresh spinach into the pasta water just before you drain it. I love the addition of the spinach, I just didn’t have any in when taking the pics! And of course, the rocket in the photo also bumps up the veg intake.
Lots of people char their peppers by popping them under a hot grill until well blackened then sweating the hot peppers in a plastic bag for ten minutes before peeling off the skins. This is a great way to do it and works well, but it’s not a method I use here.
For starters I use my grill so infrequently that to turn it on pretty much guarantees the smoke alarms blaring for the duration, which I could not face. Secondly, chucking them in the frying pan is much quicker and easier. You just dice the pepper (I cut it into 2cm cubes to get lots of contact with the hot pan), pop it in the pan and toss it occasionally. Ten minutes later you have beautifully charred, cooked but not squishy peppers that blend down beautifully. There’s no faffing with plastic bags or peeling off flaky blackened skin that sticks to your fingers.
If charring your own peppers still seems like too much effort then feel no shame in cracking open a jar of roasted red peppers. That way you can easily have this meal on the table in the time it takes to cook the pasta. I’m a big fan of using some readymade stuff to speed up weeknight dinners. If this method floats your boat then check out my linguine with smoked bacon, sundried tomatoes and spinach, another favourite in our family.
The surprise ingredient in this sauce is the avocado but it adds a lovely creaminess while also getting some healthy fats into the meal. And if you don’t tell the kids they will have no idea it’s there.
Although this pasta is a meal in itself, if you want to up the protein content then why not top the pasta with grated cheese. The sauce can carry off pretty much anything you fancy here – blue, goats, Swiss or even vegan. Make it your own. Happy slurping!
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
For the Sauce
- 3 red bell peppers
- 1 avocado
- 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil*
- Juice of half a lime
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½-1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- Your regular amount of pasta (I like to use linguine. Use gluten free if necessary, cooked.)
For the Sauce
- Cut the peppers into chunks discarding the core. Place in a dry, non-stick frying pan (skillet) and cook over a medium to high heat, tossing regularly, until charred. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Place the peppers and the rest of the sauce ingredients into your blender**
- Turn the blender on adding a dash of water (about 50ml) to get things moving. Blend until the sauce is smooth and glossy.
- Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta and serve
**You really need to use a countertop blender here as a food processor or stick blender do not work