Food & Entertaining - Garden to Table

Beyond basil: Pestos with punch

Add a twist to this traditional sauce with new ingredients

Roasted red pepper pesto
This oil-free version is a low-cal addition to an appetizer plate. Perfect for spreading on crostini, it can also be used as a vegetable dip. It's equally good hot, tossed on pasta shells with some diced chicken and slivered black olives.

1 roasted red pepper, skinned, seeded and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

6 sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 head roasted garlic
1/4 cup blanched almonds
2 Tbsp fresh basil
1 Tbsp lemon thyme
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
Dash of cayenne, optional

In a food processor or blender, grind peppers, tomatoes, garlic, almonds, herbs and Parmesan until smooth. Add lemon juice, zest and vinegar. Blend again. Taste before adding salt or the optional cayenne.

Charmian Christie is an avid gardener and home cook. When she's not digging in the dirt, she's charting her culinary adventures on her blog, Christie's Corner.

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