Learn how to make roasted red pepper pesto in 5 minutes with just 5 ingredients! Roasted red peppers are transformed into a hearty pesto with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and sunflower seeds.
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Time for a change! As much as we love a classic basil pesto with pine nuts, we decided to try something entirely different but equally delicious to shake things up. Keto roasted red pepper pesto is a unique change from the classic pine nut and basil pesto commonly used in pasta dishes. Refreshing and zingy thanks to roasted red peppers, this pesto is a delight served with zucchini noodles, on top of chicken, or as a sauce for roasted vegetables.
The taste of this pesto alone will be enough to entice you into whipping it up each week, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. There’s no cooking involved. Instead, all the hard work is left to a food processor while you can sit back and think about how to serve the pesto! Parmesan cheese creates a creamy texture and flavor depth that helps balance the sweet roasted peppers, and olive oil makes it feel rich and luscious.
Our keto red pepper pesto recipe contains just 1g of net carbs per serving, making it a delicious option for those living a low-carb lifestyle. Since this is a no-cook recipe, it’s a good opportunity to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil, as the flavors will be able to truly shine and not be wasted during the cooking process.
- Roasted Red Peppers: Roasted red peppers are sweet, tangy, and the star ingredient for our pesto recipe. These peppers can either be bought from the store, usually in a jar, or you can make them from scratch at home. If you want to make them at home, follow my easy homemade roasted red peppers recipe. Either way, the smoky peppers are an easy way to bring additional depth of flavor to the pesto, along with a fiery scarlet color.
- Parmesan Cheese: Pesto and cheese go hand in hand, and parmesan is our choice for keto red pepper pesto. Along with thickening the pesto, parmesan matches the tanginess of the peppers and brings a salty edge to balance out the sweetness. Grating the parmesan beforehand makes things easier for the blender and helps reduce the risk of cheese lumps in the pesto.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: If you’ve been saving some special olive oil to use in a recipe where it can shine, our keto pesto is the perfect opportunity! Since there’s no cooking involved in this recipe, each ingredient can be tasted and appreciated in the final pesto, including the olive oil used.
- Sunflower Seeds: Pesto typically contains pine nuts; however, we’ve changed things up a little and used sunflower seeds instead. Sunflower seeds have a mild flavor and hardy texture that’s broken down during the blending process.
- Garlic: There’s no scent quite like fresh garlic, and just one pungent clove is all that’s needed to bring warmth and character to the pesto. Raw garlic has a strong, bold flavor, but once blended with all of the other ingredients, it transforms into a subtle background hint.
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper: Seasoning is an essential part of recipes, and our keto pesto is no exception. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper balance each ingredient, so the final result is a sweet, smoky, delicious pesto ideal as a sandwich filler, keto pasta sauce, or accompaniment to roasted vegetables.
Our roasted red pepper pesto can be blitzed up in minutes using a blender or food processor. This makes the process a breeze and also ensures all of the ingredients are combined thoroughly with no chunks of cheese, garlic, or pepper.
Step one: Add the roasted red peppers, parmesan cheese, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and garlic to a blender or food processor. Keep a spatula handy, as you may need to scrape down the slides of the blender while pulsing the pesto.
Step two: Pulse the ingredients until everything is combined and a coarse consistency is reached. The texture shouldn’t be completely smooth, but there shouldn’t be any large chunks of cheese or pepper. Season to taste with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Step three: Serve the pesto at room temperature in whatever capacity you like! Whether it be with zoodles, in a sandwich made with keto bread, or a dip with keto crackers, this pesto is a great sauce to have on hand.
Keto Spicy Red Pepper Pesto: Adding a spicy twist to red pepper pesto can be done using some dried chili flakes or freshly sliced chili. A small sprinkling of chili flakes will bring an underlying heat to the pesto, whereas fresh chili with seeds will be a more noticeable kick.
Vegan Red Pepper Pesto: Parmesan cheese is the only ingredient in our pesto that isn’t vegan. Therefore, all that’s needed to make this recipe suitable for vegans is non-dairy cheese. The range of plant-based alternatives for cheese and other dairy products is constantly growing, so it shouldn’t be too tricky to find a parmesan alternative for the pesto.
Keto Roasted Red Pepper Pesto With Nuts: Sunflower seeds help create the bulk of our keto pesto, but if you don’t have any to hand, various other nuts and seeds will work perfectly, too. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, and even macadamia nuts can be used in place of sunflower seeds; make sure to pulse the pesto thoroughly so that any nuts are broken down.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Keto Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Last?
Our roasted red pepper pesto can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It’s such a versatile pesto, able to be enjoyed in a range of ways for lunch or dinner.
What Cheese Can I Use In Keto Pesto?
Parmesan cheese is a popular cheese to use in pesto recipes, but many other hard cheeses are suitable, too. Nutritional yeast can also be used in place of cheese, but it has a subtler taste that may disappoint cheese lovers!
How Many Carbs In Keto Red Pepper Pesto?
Our keto red pepper pesto contains only 1.0g of net carbs per serving, so it can be enjoyed by those living the keto lifestyle. It also contains less than 100 calories per serving, making it a fantastic addition to dinners and lunches for those focussing on lower-calorie options.
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Recipe
- In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted red peppers with the parmesan cheese, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and garlic. Process to make the pesto, pulsing for a few seconds until it reaches a coarse consistency. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Serve at room temperature with zoodles, spread into your sandwiches, or serve as a dip with keto cheese crackers. Alternatively, store in an airtight jar/container for up to 4 days in the fridge.