Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Penne {Vegan}

Day 299.

I've been so looking forward to this dish, because, while it's super snazzy, it's also a super simple set of flavors that just seems guaranteed to go right. Sometimes, throughout the year, I've gotten frustrated with needing to create and eat a different recipe Every. Single. Day. Sometimes I just want a plain bowl of pasta or brown rice with tofu. Nearly 300 days in, this is a welcome oasis of what is sure to be a delightful twist on pasta marinara.

To veganize it, I chose chickpeas in lieu of chicken and a cashew and nutritional yeast "parmesan" blend in lieu of parmesan cheese.

Roasted Red Pepper Penne
  • 2 large red bell peppers*
  • 1/2 onion, chopped  
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4-5 basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups dry whole wheat penne
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • salt and pepper to taste for chickpeas
*Note: While red is suggested, any sweet bell peppers can be used, if using yellow or orange peppers, add a bit of paprika for color, if desired. I used 1 yellow and 1 red with about a teaspoon of paprika. It can also be less expensive, because you can often buy a bag of mixed color bell peppers (which almost always include just one red) for less than you would've paid for the individual peppers.

Turn oven on broil. Chop bell peppers and onion. Place on a cookie sheet and mix with a bit of olive oil and salt & pepper. Broil for 10-12 minutes, checking regularly, until skin is blackened.

Meanwhile, boil penne. Season and heat chickpeas.

When peppers are ready, place peppers and onion, garlic, parmesan, and salt & pepper in food processor. Blend, adding olive oil through the shoot and processing until combined, but still a bit chunky.

When pasta is done, drain and mix with chickpeas. If serving immediately, combine sauce with penne and chickpeas. Top with a bit more parmesan and serve. If storing, package noodles and sauce separately.

Another note on my cheapness frugality: I threw some of the just-drained noodles and chickpeas in the food processor bowl and swirled them around in the leftover sauce to get every last bit out of the bowl. It worked great! It became a delicious Chef's Sample of the dish, but you could also share and toss it back in with the rest of the dish.

The Results
Wow. This is really like a pesto made from bell peppers and I love it. The kids love it, too. The roasted pepper taste is fantastic. My husband's response was somewhat odd, to me at least. Him: "All I can taste is the red pepper." Me: "And that's a problem, because...?" So, if you love roasted bell peppers, this is definitely the dish for you.


  1. Roasted red peppers make the most delightful pasta sauces. They have that lovely sweetness to them to balance out the earthiness of the pasta. Beautiful Kristi!

  2. This looks like a wonderful meal - something I'd like to have everyday. The chickpeas are a great addition too!

  3. This one looks like a winner, Kristi! Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a lovely pesto you have made here with the red peppers. Sounds like such a delicious pasta dish! Thank you for sharing it with Let's Do Brunch.

  5. Looks great to me!! Love the flavor or roasted red peppers!