The Veggie Cook
Tasty red pepper sauce cheers array of entrees
Delicious red bell pepper sauce tastes and looks wonderful over grains, loaves, burgers, patties and pasta. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
The color contrast between the sauce and main ingredients is especially striking served over these bright yellow grains. But the sauce tastes and looks wonderful over most grains, loaves, burgers, patties and pasta.
Prepare the sauce from fully reddened bell peppers, as the skin of a green pepper, which is an unripe red pepper, is typically too thin to peel.
Always use fresh basil. I believe dried basil — that smells and tastes like tree bark — should be declared illegal. Peeling peppers can be a pain. Don't worry if a little skin remains.
Red pepper sauce
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 cups
6 red bell peppers, halved length-wise, cored, seeded
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 head garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Flatten peppers by pressing them, skin side up, in a single layer on a large oiled rimmed cookie sheet. Brush tops with a little oil.
2. Rub outer, papery skins off the garlic, leaving cloves encased in last layer. Set upright in a small baking dish, drizzling a little olive oil over the top. Cover with foil.
3. Bake garlic and peppers, 20-30 minutes. When the peppers are cooked through and the skins are very wrinkled, remove from the oven. Place in a small bowl; cover with a plate. Allow to steam, 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, lower oven temperature to 350 degrees; uncover garlic. Continue baking garlic until soft, 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
5. Peel skin off the peppers; squeeze garlic from the casings, discarding the casings. Process peppers, garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, basil and salt in a blender or food processor until the desired consistency. (The sauce does not have to be perfectly smooth. I like it a little chunky.) The sauce keeps, refrigerated, several days.
Per 1/4 cup serving: 47 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 177 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/whole-grain bakery. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.