Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut “Pesto” – Food Matters

Red Pepper and Walnut "Pesto"

Red Pepper and Walnut "Pesto"


It does my heart good to belong to a group of bloggers who are blogging healthy food recipes. This week, participants in the Food Matters Project are making Mark Bittman’s recipe for red pepper and walnut “pesto.” Mark, by the way, is a food journalist for the New York Times, and author of Food Matters, and The Food Matters Cookbook.

Those of you who know me and follow me know how I love red bell peppers. You may remember these recipes: red bell peppers for your wrinkles, samfaina, and red bell pepper sauce. My first reaction was “Yippie!” when I saw that my friend Heather chose red pepper and walnut “pesto” as this week’s recipe. My second thought was, “I can’t wait to try it.” The best part is, this dip is a healthy food. You may as well call it “anti-oxidant dip” because all the ingredients are terrific anti-inflammatory foods. I didn’t wait long make it this appetizer, and man is it yummy! It’s a good thing my husband and I contained ourselves or we would have eaten the whole flaming bowl before our guests arrived for dinner.

*Note – I cut the recipe to about one-third the original recipe, and I modified the recipe to use a bit less of the olive oil. You will find the original recipe in its entirety at Heather’s blog, Girlichef. You make also want to check the Food Matters Project to see what other bloggers have done with the recipe.


Prep Time: 5 minutes (if you have roasted peppers on hand)

Servings: 2 to 3 people

Making ppepper pesto

Making pepper pesto

Yield 1-1/4 cup


1 clove garlic

1/3 cup walnuts

3 whole, roasted red bell peppers, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil


1) Pulse the garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the walnuts and pulse 2-3 times more to break up any large pieces.

2) Add the bell peppers and process, streaming the olive oil as you go, until all the ingredients are well combined and as coarse or as smooth as you want them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately with crudités, crostini, or vegetable chips, or spread on sandwiches or cover and refrigerate for a day or so, or freeze.



Red Bell Peppers for your Wrinkles

Roasted Red Bell Peppers



If I had to choose a favorite vegetable based on beauty alone, the choice would be the red bell pepper for its fiery intense red color. It also comes in third place on my top three list for flavor, with spinach–second place, and corn taking the prized first place. But now, I have another reason to adore that passionate red colored, bell pepper. According to Dr. Audrey Kunin, dermatologist, and expert guest on the Dr. Oz show that aired last night, the red bell pepper is “natural Botox” for wrinkles. The pepper is packed with wrinkle fighting vitamin C, and all it takes for the “natural Botox” to work is to consume a quarter cup per day.

It’s a healthy habit to eat red bell peppers. The following is a recipe for peppers the way many people in Spain might prepare them. Here they are prepared with minced onions, as my friend Felix showed me. Another common way to prepare them is with minced garlic. Be sure to have plenty of fresh bread to accompany.

Red Bell Peppers for your Wrinkles

Prep Time: 7 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Red Bell Peppers for your Wrinkles


  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon minced onion
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced parsley
  • Salt


  1. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 375°. Spread 1 Tablespoon olive oil on the bottom of a jellyroll pan, or a cookie sheet that has 1/2 inch sides.
  2. Cut the peppers in half vertically. Cut out and discard the white flesh and seeds. Place the peppers on the baking sheet face down and bake the peppers for 30 minutes. After this time, remove the pan from the oven and flip the peppers. Return the pan to the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
  3. When the peppers are done, place them in a plastic bag and allow them to cool for approximately 1/2 hour. After this time, remove one pepper from the bag, peel off the skin and discard it. Continue peeling the peppers until all are peeled.
  4. Slice the peppers into strips and place them on a serving plate. Spread the minced onions evenly over the peppers, followed by the salt, and oil and vinegar-to your taste. Garnish with the chopped parsley over the top. Serve

*Note – I roast 5 to 6 peppers at a time so we always have some in the refrigerator. They don’t last long!