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Three pepper pesto recipe

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This recipe uses red peppers, black pepper, dried chillis and lots of Parmesan cheese, but less basil than most pesto recipes. It's excellent toasted with bread under the grill or tossed with pasta. The pesto keeps up to 3 days in the fridge.

8 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 55g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 80g chopped red pepper
  • 10g fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • ground black pepper to taste

MethodPrep:15min ›Ready in:15min

  1. Place the Parmesan cheese and olive oil in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.
  2. Add the red pepper, basil, chilli flakes and black pepper; blend again until smooth.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(10)

Reviews in English (10)

by Glenda Heitz Burton

This a great spin on traditional pesto's. I did not have the fresh basil and so used dried (about 1/8 of a cup), used chili powder as I did not have red pepper flakes on hand, added 1 clove of garlic as suggested and used a whole red pepper. I blended all the ingredients together and added small amounts of olive oil till it was to the consistency i wanted. Severed over chicken and pasta. It was well recieved by my husband and young boys. Will make it again this summer when I have fresh basil. This is a good pesto recipie for those who can't have nuts.-21 Mar 2008

by Elisabeth Thomas

I first made the recipe as written and it wasn't entirely to my liking. After adding more fresh basil (I nearly doubled it), a clove of garlic, salt, a bit more crushed red pepper, and a few pine nuts, it was delicious! With the modifications, I'd give it five stars.-12 Jun 2009

30 Minute Pesto Tortellini

Get dinner on the table in no time with this 30 minute toasted tortellini with pesto. It only requires 8 simple ingredients!

If you love fresh basil pesto, you’ll LOVE our pesto tortellini. It’s quick and full of flavor, just like our sausage and tortellini soup and pesto chicken meatballs!

Avocado and Pepita Mint Pesto


1 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1½ bunches of fresh mint leaves (1⅓ cups)
1¼ cups fresh parsley leaves
¾ cup pepitas, toasted
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a food processor (or blender), combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, parsley, pepitas, avocado flesh, and Parmesan cheese. Process for 30–60 seconds, or until the mixture reaches a paste-like consistency.
  2. Add the salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Pulse a few times to evenly incorporate.
  3. Serve as desired.
  4. Enjoy!

  • basil
  • almonds
  • Parmesan
  • Fresno peppers
  • garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt, sugar

Roasted Fresno Pepper Pesto is thick, spicy and slightly sweet. It’s amazingly delicious . . . on so many foods . . . .

  • mixed into pasta
  • spread on toast
  • to “crust” a rack of lamb
  • with chicken, steak or fish
  • added to sauces
  • mixed into scrambled eggs

The possibilities are endless.

Three-Cheese Stromboli with Pesto and Red Peppers

Although it’s similar to a calzone—made from pizza dough filled with melted cheese and meat or vegetables—a stromboli is typically rolled into a log rather than folded in half. This three-cheese version—the perfect way to celebrate National Cheese Day—can be varied using all sorts of different fillings. Try pepperoni and olives roasted zucchini and squash or spinach, mushrooms and feta. The recipes for the dough and pesto make twice as much as you will need for this recipe, so double the quantity of fillings and make two if you like, or save the remaining dough to make pizza later in the week.

Three-Cheese Stromboli with Pesto and Red Peppers


For the dough:

  • 3 1/3 cups (17 oz./530 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml) warm water (110°F/43°C), plus more as needed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed

For the pesto:

  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 2 1/2 cups (2 1/2 oz./75 g) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

For the filling:

  • 1 roasted red bell pepper
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten

1. To make the pizza dough, in a food processor, combine the flours, yeast, sugar and salt. Pulse to mix the ingredients. With the motor running, add the water and olive oil in a steady stream, and then pulse until the dough comes together in a rough mass, about 12 seconds. If the dough does not form into a ball, sprinkle with 1 to 2 tsp. water and pulse again until a rough mass forms. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Process the dough again for 25 for 30 seconds, steadying the top of the food processor with one hand. The dough should be tacky to the touch but not sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk and spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.

3. While the dough is rising, make the pesto: In a small dry fry pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pine nuts to a plate and let cool to room temperature.

4. In a food processor, combine the toasted pine nuts, basil, garlic, olive oil, and sea salt. Process for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the cheese and process until combined, about 5 seconds more.

5. Season to taste with additional sea salt. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

6. Place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450°F (230°C). Once the oven has reached 450°F (230°C), let the stone heat for 15 to 30 minutes longer, without opening the oven door.

7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and shape into a smooth cylinder. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, dusting with flour only if the dough becomes sticky. Cover both balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. If you are using only one ball of dough, place the second ball in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 months. (When ready to use, thaw the frozen dough for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.)

8. On a floured pizza peel, stretch or roll out the pizza dough into a 10-by-14-inch (25-by-35-cm) rectangle. If the dough springs back, let it rest for about 10 minutes before continuing. With a long side facing you, spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a 1-inch (2.5-cm) border on each short side and a 3-inch (7.5-cm) border on the long side farthest away from you. Scatter the roasted pepper over the pesto. In a bowl, stir together the cheeses, season with salt and pepper, and dollop all over the pesto and roasted peppers.

9. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg on the uncovered edges of the dough. Fold over the 2 short sides to the 1-inch (2.5-cm) mark and brush the tops with the egg. Keeping the short sides tucked in, tightly roll up the stromboli lengthwise away from you. Crimp the seams tightly to seal and turn the stromboli seam side down on the peel. Brush the stromboli all over with the egg. Using the tip of a sharp knife, make a few slits along the top of the dough, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Season the outside lightly with salt and pepper.

10. Carefully slide the stromboli from the peel onto the hot stone in the oven, keeping it seam side down. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Using the peel, transfer the stromboli to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Carefully cut crosswise into slices and serve right away. Serves 2 to 4.

For this and more ideas for pizza you’ll want to serve every night of the week, check out our new Pizza Night , by Kate McMillan

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Low Calorie Basil Pesto Recipe



  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon freshly shredded parmesan cheese



Tried this recipe? Let us know how it was!

Now… let’s take this recipe basil pesto and work some magic on some delicious pesto sauce recipes.

Three Bean Pesto Caprese Salad

The combination of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella are so iconic, bright and delicious. How could it possibly be improved? With beans, of course!

Our food blogger Kate whipped up the perfect bean salad for summer with her unique take on Caprese salad – Randall Beans style.

Instead of just using basil, as it is regularly used in Caprese salads, Kate incorporates pesto to heighten and enhance that rich basil flavor. Try using your own favorite pesto recipe, using store-bought pesto sauce or using the recipe below! Pesto is really easy to make, just combine all the ingredients in a food processor.

The combination of green beans, kidney beans and great northern beans adds a wonderful variety of flavors, textures. Green beans give the dish a wonderful crunch while kidney and great northern beans are hearty and creamy – the perfect balance to the acidity of the tomatoes and pesto.

We really love this recipe because it’s so simple and easy to make. You can toss this three bean Caprese salad together in about 10 minutes for a last-minute occasion or make it the night before. It will stay well in the fridge for a day or so if you cover it well, making it good leftovers!

This Caprese salad is the perfect side dish for any cookout and is a great pairing with grilled chicken or a juicy burger (or even better a veggie burger!) or a meal all by itself. Makes 6-10 servings, depending on serving sizes.

How to Make Pesto

Equipment needed to make pesto

Basil pesto originated in the northern Italian state of Genoa (it’s called pasta alla Genovese) and it’s traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. I learned these tidbits in an Italian cooking class I took in college, and the first recipe we made was a classic Italian pesto.

In order to make pesto the traditional way, you need a large mortar and pestle to fit all the ingredients (and a decent amount of arm strength). Since I only have a tiny mortar and pestle and tiny arm muscles, I rely on the food processor, which is the more common tool used in modern pesto recipes.

Classic Pesto: Ingredients

Pasta alla Genovese contains basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt.

Obviously, parmesan is not vegan (technically, it’s not even vegetarian because it contains rennet, an enzyme found in the stomach lining of cows or goats), but everything else is vegan, so it’s really quite easy to make vegan pesto.

To replicate the cheesy umami notes from parmesan cheese, I typically add a bit of nutritional yeast to the pesto, though it’s not essential, especially if you’re using in-season basil and good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Also, I always add lemon (both zest and juice) to my pesto because I love the fresh zing it brings.


Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

Put all the vegetables on a large baking tray and generously drizzle with oil, grind over some pepper and sprinkle with the mixed herbs. Roast for 30–40 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

Meanwhile, to make the pesto, blend all the ingredients in a food processor.

When the vegetables have been in the oven for about 15 minutes, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

When the veggies are cooked, scatter over the mozzarella and stir through. Drain the pasta and mix with the veggies, then add pesto to taste.

Recipe Tips

Store any leftover pesto in a screw-top jar in the fridge it will keep for up to a week.


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (from a 4-oz. bunch), torn
  • ¼ cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 2 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil

Place basil, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, cheese, flaxseed, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, and several grinds of pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, about 10 pulses. With machine running, gradually add oil, stopping to scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed, until smooth, about 1 minute. Alternatively, process mixture in a large bowl using an immersion blender.

Transfer pesto to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes stir before using.