The idea for this recipe came about last night when I had to use up some produce or risk adding it to the compost. The tomatoes from our neighbors’ garden had ripened on the dining room table, I had a yellow pepper in the fridge that was nearing its’ last days and there was an old partial head of roasted garlic that had been hanging around just a bit too long! I love the flavor of roasted vegetables and I was craving a delicious sauce to pair with our penne rice pasta tonight so I thought if I blended them all together I just might have a new favorite. The sauce was so delicious; roasting the vegetables and then blending them together produces a thick sauce with a sweet, subtle flavor. Including a whole sweet bell pepper in the mix brings that yummy peppery flavor to the forefront. I started eating spoonfuls of it last night and only stopped because my husband reminded me about what happened when I started doing that with the rice pudding – an empty pot!! As mentioned, you can eat this sauce as is, use as a sandwich spread (I think it would be great on toasted whole grain bread with grilled portabello slices and some baby spinach), as a snack with crackers or heated in a saucepan and served over your favourite pasta which is exactly what we are going to do tonight!!
Roasted Bell Pepper & Veggie Sauce
- 1-1/4 yellow, orange or red peppers, cut in quarters
- 4 – 5 garden tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 1 large yellow onion, cut in large wedges
- 6 medium – large garlic cloves, in their paper, tops trimmed
- 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup sliced almonds, no skins – optional
Soak the almonds (if using) in enough water to cover for at least one hour prior to blending, preferably 2 – 3 hours. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Place all the vegetables – but not the garlic – in a large bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, add the basil, salt and pepper, and toss until all the veggies are coated. Layer the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Keep aside a small piece of tin foil, lay the garlic inside and drizzle the cut heads with a tiny bit of oil. Wrap the garlic in the tin foil and place on a corner of the baking sheet with the other veggies. Place in the oven and roast for 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. When peppers have cooled enough to handle, remove the skins. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins and place along with the roasted veggies in a food processor. Drain and rinse the almonds if using and add to the food processor. Process veggie mix until combined. The sauce will be thick and not entirely smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve as suggested above or come up with your own ideas – just don’t forget to let me know what you tried!!