Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Sauce
This vegan, garlicky, 4-ingredient fresh roasted red pepper sauce without tomatoes or cream is perfect for pasta, pizza or fish. Also: Make it spicy!
I am *literally obsessed* with roasted bell peppers.
Their earthy, sweet, robust flavor goes with SO many dishes, and this 4-ingredient, no-fuss sauce is every bit as versatile.
This fresh red pepper sauce is a little bit zesty thanks to a squeeze of fresh lemon and made with caramelized, roasted garlic, which adds depth and a hint of sweetness. The sauce comes together quickly in a food processor or blender with a drizzle of olive oil to round it all out. Perfection.
Set aside 20 to 30 minutes to roast the ingredients in the oven, but the rest of the prep takes mere minutes.
This roasted red pepper sauce is a wonderful match for pasta, pizza, Buddha bowls/grain bowls and cheese — particularly mozzarella and feta, IMO. I also love to drizzle it on salads, chicken, seafood or roasted veggies.
If you need more inspiration, check out my super easy chicken-feta meatballs recipe. They’re ready after 20 minutes of prep and require just a handful of ingredients.
This vegan roasted red pepper sauce is a set-it-and-forget-it recipe, brimming with Vitamin C. It’s in my regular rotation for a reason!
You roast the peppers and garlic in the oven, toss them in your food processor/blender, and ta-da. I love to get a well-rounded char on my bell peppers, but you can pull yours out sooner if you don’t want them to have as much of a roasty flavor.
If you want to save even more time, skip the oven altogether and grab canned garlic and bell peppers from the store.
Unlike other recipes, this one is 100% vegan and made without tomatoes, which means you can enjoy the undiluted flavor of the peppers. You could always add in roasted tomatoes or canned tomatoes if you wanted to make more of a traditional pasta sauce.
It’s a great way to get veggies in without doing the hard work of eating them 🤣
Here’s what you’ll need.
- Red bell peppers
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Variations
Italian-Style Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
To give this sauce a bit of an Italian flair, you can add dried basil into the mix. Use as much or as little as you want, but I would suggest trying around one teaspoon.
You might also consider topping your dish with fresh, sliced basil in lieu of dried basil. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so don’t hesitate to go herb-crazy!
Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Shout out to my fellow spicy food fiends! I add in fresh red pepper flakes to keep things interesting. Stir in a dash or two (or three… or four or five…) to give this sauce a bit of a kick.
Sometimes I use cayenne in lieu of crushed red peppers. I bet Cajun-style seasoning would be great too, though it would mix up the flavor profile.
Avoiding Burnt Garlic
This recipe really is super simple and screw-up-proof, but I do have one pro-tip to avoid burning the garlic cloves while they’re roasting in the oven, which is an easy mistake to make. Garlic tends to dry out quickly in the oven and it can burn and become overly tough if you aren’t careful.
Here’s how I place my veggies on the pan to avoid burnt garlic:
- Drizzle olive oil on the sheet pan.
- Grab bell pepper halves, skin side up.
- Place bell pepper over the garlic cloves, like a cute veggie umbrella!
By placing the garlic cloves under the bell pepper, the garlic stays nice and moist. But it still gets that gorgeous, complex, roasty flavor.
Grab A Glass: Daryn’s Pairin’
Note from Courtney: This food and wine pairing is brought to you by my wonderful dad and armchair sommelier, Daryn!
I think Courtney’s roasted red pepper-garlic sauce is a delicious dressing for pasta, so the pairings that I’m suggesting for this recipe are for the sauce on a bed of linguini!
For red wine lovers, I’m going to pair up this dish with Merlot, a flexible grape that has enough punch to work with the sauce but not so much to steal the show. We have a lot of great Merlot options in California but Duckhorn still produces high-quality, high-value Merlots every year, especially their Decoy Merlot. Lively plum and blackberry on the nose, soft cocoa and vanilla on the palate.
For white wine fans, I’m going to suggest the sturdiness of a dry “German-style” Riesling, but please make sure that you don’t make the mistake of choosing the sweet style that is far more commonly produced in California. A great example of this is Hahn Estate’s Riesling made in the dry profile. Lots of pear and peach on the nose, super bright melon and more pear on the palete.
Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Sauce
- sheet pan
- food processor or blender
- 2 red bell peppers halved with seeds/stems removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line a sheet pan with tinfoil for easy cleanup and drizzle olive oil in a zig-zag shape across the pan. Place bell pepper halves on pan.
- Add garlic cloves directly on or under red pepper to ensure garlic doesn’t dry out while roasting. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until bell peppers are at your desired level of doneness.
- Add sauce ingredients into a blender/food processor and blend until totally smooth. Enjoy!