So much to say, so little time to type it up. I’m in a deadline crunch for the next few days, but I have several posts in the works that I can’t wait to share! First up: Mark Bittman’s roasted red pepper pesto for The Food Matters Project. I had no doubt that I’d love it; I have already proclaimed my adoration for pesto on this blog before and red bell peppers just happen to be one of my very favorite vegetables.
I made my red pepper version extra bold and spicy, which is just the way I like it. Today I paired it with roasted cauliflower, which makes a great snack or appetizer, and I see a kale, white bean and red pepper pesto wrap in my future.
Basically, I roughly halved the recipe, and toasted the nuts and garlic (a little toasting always helps, in my opinion, and it’s proven true in my arugula pesto recipe and basil pesto recipe). I used roasted red peppers from a jar. Although I’m sure homemade roasted red peppers would taste better, red bell peppers aren’t in season around here, which is a fact that makes me wanna boo-hoo-hoo most of the year. I also grabbed my
good incredible bottle of olive oil for this recipe, which Native Roots Market kindly provided for this recipe and more to come, along with the cumin seed. The oil is a Palestinian free trade, cold-pressed, organic Rumi tree olive oil by Canaan Fair Trade. If you can find some, get it!
After tasting the base mixture, I decided to thicken it up a bit and added about 1/2 a cup of Great Northern beans. I’ve gotten into the habit of cooking up big batches of beans and freezing them for later, so it was as simple as defrosting a couple of handfuls of beans and throwing them into the food processor. Lastly, I decided to give it some kick and added 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes… then another half teaspoon, because I like my food extra spicy.
Ultimately, here’s what I combined in my food processor: 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, about 4/5ths of a 16 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup Great Northern beans, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (1/2 teaspoon may be plenty, so add to taste) and freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Find the full roasted red pepper pesto recipe at girlichef!
Note: Since my other pestos freeze so nicely, I don’t see why this one wouldn’t do the same. Here’s my trick for freezing pesto in an ice cube tray!
I was intrigued by Melissa Clark’s recipe for roasted cauliflower with cumin seed when I came across it in her latest cookbook, Cook This Now. Cook This Now is filled with wonderfully simple gourmet recipes, and although most entrées are meat-based, almost all of her vegetarian options appealed to me. It took me a long time to learn to like cauliflower and I believe that roasting brings out its best qualities. It has so little on its own that it would play nicely with a host of spices. Do I believe that cumin is the end-all, be-all accompaniment? No, I don’t, but it is delicious.
Melissa suggests serving the roasted cauliflower with a blend of salted plain yogurt, fresh chopped mint leaves and pomegranate arils, but I decided to serve it with this red pepper pesto. Thanks to the red pepper flakes in my pesto, cumin-roasted cauliflower dunked into roasted red pepper pesto tastes almost harissa-like. It’s a great pairing if you like bold, spicy food.
Red Pepper Pesto with Roasted Cauliflower
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
Red pepper pesto is the perfect dip for spiced roasted cauliflower. This recipe makes a great appetizer or snack. Yields 2 generous or 4 small servings.
Roasted cauliflower with whole cumin seed
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into roughly bite-sized florets
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
Red pepper and walnut pesto
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup walnuts
- 4 roasted red bell peppers (I used jarred)
- ½ cup fresh basil (optional, I didn’t use)
- ½ cup cooked Great Northern beans (optional, if you’d like a creamier, heartier texture)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To roast the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil and spices.
- Spread the mixture evenly in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
- Roast, flipping halfway, for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges of the cauliflower are toasty and starting to caramelize.
- To make the pesto: In a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely chopped. Add the walnuts to the food processor and pulse a few more times to break up any large pieces.
- Add the roasted red peppers, basil (if using), and beans (if using). Process, streaming in the oil as you go, until all the ingredients are well combined and as coarse or as smooth as you want them. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in a covered, airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days, or freeze.
Recipe adapted from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark.
▸ Nutrition Information
Find variations on the red pepper pesto at Girlichef!
I KNOW I’d like this combo because roasting cauliflower is my absolute favorite way to make it…and I can almost taste it through your photos. Beautiful- so happy you had the time to make it. (…and p.s… girlichef…with an i ;) . You’re determined to give me an a…)
…you know I said this with a big smile on my face, right!? :)
What is wrong with my eyesight?! I thought you really liked garlic. :) I’ll fix it!
What a great idea with the roasted cauliflower! Looks delicious. This pesto is so adaptable, there’s no end to the variations apparently– and how great is that?
Every one of your posts makes my mouth water… this one looks absolutely amazing! But what’s more amazing is I have red peppers and cauliflower, fresh from the farmers market, in my fridge right now!!! WOO! So excited to give this a try.
That pesto sounds fabulous! I haven’t tried pesto with cauliflower but know I would love it!
Funny thing is…I DO! It’s very fitting, actually. =)
I love garlic, too! You can call me garlichead from now on, if you’d like. ;)
Oooh! This is a great dip for vegetables! Thanks for the freezing tip. :)
This is SERIOUSLY brilliant. I am so jealous I didn’t think of yummy roasted cauliflower as the perfect little dipper!
Brilliant?! I’m blushing! I’m trying to save the roasted cauliflower and pesto for dinner but that plate is calling my name from the kitchen. By the way, I think Cook This Now would be right up your alley!
Love your cauliflower paring and your spicy kick! I wish you lived down the street so I could come over and give this a try.
I wish you lived down the street, too! Let’s be neighbors someday. :)
I love this idea for a pairing. Roasted cauliflower by itself is amazing, but with this pesto I can imagine it is even better.
I seriously thought there was nothing better than roasted garlic but pairing it with the pesto is amazing x2! Now I want some roasted cauliflower!
dulcie @ two tarts
Yum, yum, yum. This sounds delish!
Oh my god. I’d be surprised if you couldn’t hear my stomach through the computer. I fell in love with roasted vegetables a few years ago, and just the thought of spicy cauliflower with red bell pepper pesto makes me weak at the knees. Thank you so much for sharing this with the world!
Love your reaction to this recipe, Bette Jane! Please give roasted cauliflower and red pesto a try! ASAP!
Love that you made your pesto spicy. Can’t wait to try this recipe!
Absolute yumminess! I love cauliflower roasted.
I was wondering about freezing the pesto as well. But I agree with you, I think it would be fine. I also love the roasted cauliflower!
Love the roasted cauliflower as dip vessel :-) Looks absolutely delicious!
I’ve never had cauliflower roasted, but it sounds delicious with this dip.
Yummy!!! I looooove roasted cauliflower and cumin seeds. I’m going to add some red pepper flakes to my leftover pesto and then eat it with roasted cauliflower and kale just like you did. I love all of the inspiration I get from other FMP members :)
P.S. I made roasted cauliflower for lunch yesterday and ate it with my leftover pesto….WOW!!!
I want this so bad it’s PAINFUL.
It took me a long time to like cauliflower too until I discovered how delicious roasting it is. This looks delicious with the red pepper pesto.
Oooh, I just so happen to LOVE bold, spicy food! This looks amazing, Kate – such a great combination of spices and the texture looks perfect – not too thick, not too thin. Can’t wait to try it!
Cheri @ Kzoo Kitchen
Thanks for the wonderful idea for a healthy veggie dip!
I LOVE roasted cauliflower!! So yummy!
Looks delicious and I don’t even like cauliflower… your photos are awesome!
I love freezing pesto in ice cube trays… perfect for those “I hate cooking” moments.
That looks great! I love that you use whole foods. You are a great photographer!!
Thank you, Whitney!
I love roasted cauliflower!!! What a great idea to pair with the pesto dip.
I LOVE the cauliflower idea!
up until now i wasnt a big cauliflower fan, but i just made a curried cauliflower soup and it is sooo delicious. i have roasted just about ANY veggies except cauliflower, i guess its time to finally do it for the first time!
I absolutely love roast cauliflower but would never have thought to serve it with a pesto dip on the side – such a good idea!
Marta @ I love break
I would never think of it but I like the idea.
I’ve been very curious about Melissa Clark’s cookbook. I’m so glad to hear your thoughts on it. What a beautiful dish and gorgeous photography.
I have never tried roasting cauliflower. In India we eat a lot of cauliflower but all mostly stride fried with different spices and herbs or curried. Roasting sounds wonderful though…
Sylvie @ GitK
What a wonderful combination and a great way to eat cauliflower.
I adore all roasted veggies but ESPECIALLY roasted cauliflower! And I love the idea of dunking them in the dip! I have extra dip leftover so I am going to (a) spice-ify it and (b) roast up some cauli for dunking. Great ideas!
Abby @ Fig & Fork
I have a beautiful head of cauliflower in my crisper drawer that’s been staring me in the face for the past few days – I can’t wait to make this recipe!
erin @ yummy supper
Kate, there is just so much I love about this recipe (and your blog in general for that matter.)
I’m totally into cooking up batches of beans myself. And I’m not sure I ever would have added them to the pepper pesto, but reading your recipe – they seem made for each other. The creaminess of the beans must have made for great texture. And cauliflower and cumin – yes please.
This looks soooo good and healthy. Gonna definitely give it a try!
This surely will revive my addiction for roasted cauliflower! And once more – great pictures!
YUM!! I have two cauliflower heads wasting away begging to be used – this looks wonderful! Pinning it :)
Trying this tonight, can’t wait! Thank you!
Made this last night and it was delicious! Omitted the oil and it was perfect. What a healthy veggie option! Thanks for sharing.
Yay, happy to hear it! Thanks for commenting, Ariana. :)
Hi Kate this looks amazing! I’d like to try this but did I miss how to roast the red peppers? I didn’t find it in the instructions, maybe could have missed it.
Sorry about that! I used jarred peppers, about 4/5ths of a 16 ounce jar of roasted red peppers.
This recipe was so good. Adding the cumin seeds to the cauliflower takes it to a whole other level. I did add all of the ingredients to the romesco and used roasted red peppers from the olive bar at the grocery store.
I have a lot of sauce left over, thinking of what I can make tonight to use more up. Thanks! -Taylor
You’re welcome, Taylor! Thank you for sharing.
Hi! this sounds great, but I just wanted to know would there be any replacement possible for the walnuts?
Hey Anna! You could use almonds instead, or possibly pecans.
This was amazing!!! So, so good!!!