Roasted red pepper pasta is one of the creamiest, easiest, and tastiest pasta dishes, and you can make it with a few simple ingredients.
You can put this recipe together with minimal effort, in 15-20 minutes, for an everyday dinner. It's a delicious and nourishing recipe for the whole family.
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You can make the creamy roasted red pepper pasta sauce while the pasta cooks, which is convenient because you can put this together as a last-minute dinner.
All you need to do is blend the ingredients until smooth, then cook them on a pan for 10 minutes and toss in the pasta.
You will love this dish because of its simplicity, creaminess, and luscious yet balanced flavor.
The smokey sweetness of roasted bell peppers blended with nutty almonds, sweet and tangy tomatoes, aromatic garlic, and fruity olive oil make the red pepper sauce irresistible.
I promise you'll find yourself scooping out the sauce from the pan while no one's looking. It's that good!
Tip: to make this recipe even more delicious, add roasted or air-fried veggies like cauliflower, eggplant, or zucchini.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Roasted Red Peppers
You can use jarred roasted red peppers if you are short on time.
Alternatively, roast two red bell peppers in the oven (45 minutes) or the air-fryer (20 minutes). Instructions are in the tips chapter below.
You can use any canned tomatoes, such as whole peeled tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, and pureed tomatoes.
Almonds are a key ingredient to make the creamiest red pepper pasta sauce.
They add a nutty flavor and healthy fats. Most importantly, when blended, almonds provide a rich and creamy texture that helps the sauce perfectly coat the pasta.
If you are allergic to almonds, you can replace them with grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Fresh garlic is another essential ingredient in this roasted red pepper pasta recipe. You can substitute garlic powder for fresh garlic.
If you don't like garlic, you can replace it with half an onion.
Red pepper flakes
We add a small amount of red pepper flakes to make the sauce a little spicy.
You can substitute cayenne, chili powder, dried chili, and even a bit of chipotle powder (that would also add some smokiness to the sauce) or smoked paprika for red pepper flakes.
Olive oil is optional. I like to add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the sauce to add a velvety mouthfeel, but this dish is also delicious without the oil.
You can substitute some unsweetened soy milk or vegetable broth for olive oil to make this oil-free.
We use sea salt or kosher salt for the sauce and the pasta water.
Rigatoni is our pasta of choice for this recipe because it gets filled with red pepper sauce.
However, you can use any other short or long pasta shape, such as penne, fusilli, rotini, conchiglie, spaghetti, linguine, and more.
We recommend cooking the pasta per package directions, minus a couple of minutes, so you can finish cooking it in the pot with the sauce.
Use fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh basil.
Add them at the end when you mix the pasta with the sauce.
The parsley should be finely chopped; the basil leaves can be torn apart with your hands.
Roasted cauliflower florets: roast them in the oven or the air fryer. They add a wonderful tender-crisp texture, flavor, and nutrition.
Roasted eggplant: cut into dice, then roasted in the oven or air-fryer.
How to make roasted red pepper pasta
To a blender or food processor, add roasted bell peppers (jarred or home-roasted), canned tomatoes, almonds, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and salt.
Blend for a few minutes until you reach your desired consistency.
Note: a food processor produces a coarser sauce. If you prefer a smooth and velvety red pepper sauce, use a high-speed blender instead.
Transfer the red pepper sauce to a large skillet and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add half a cup of water if the sauce gets too thick.
While the sauce simmers, boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water.
Cook it very al dente, then reserve one cup of pasta water, drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the sauce.
Toss the pasta with the sauce on medium heat until fully coated. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water if necessary.
Add your fresh herb of choice - fresh parsley or basil - then serve the pasta immediately while still hot.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Cut the cauliflower florets with a paring knife, transfer them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Bake for 20 minutes, turn them around with a spatula, and bake for another 10 until tender-crisp and slightly charred.
Cut off small florets with a paring knife and toss with extra virgin olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Transfer them into the air fryer basket (they can overlap) and air fry them for 15 minutes at 400°F or 200°C. Shake the basket every 4 minutes to ensure even cooking.
Red Pepper Pasta with Roasted Eggplant
Preheat the oven to 430°F or 220°C. Dice eggplant into ¾ inch (2cm) cubes.
Transfer onto a baking tray, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and arrange on a single layer without overlapping.
Roast for 20 minutes, flip with a spatula and roast for 5 to 10 more minutes.
Dice the eggplant into ¾-inch (2cm) dice.
Transfer the diced eggplant to a large mixing bowl, and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Transfer to air fryer basket (it can overlap) and air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking the basket every 4 minutes to ensure even cooking.
Serve this recipe as a main dish - you won't need much else on the side - except maybe a simple side salad.
If you make the variation with added roasted vegetables, you have a complete lunch or dinner.
You can also serve a smaller portion of this roasted red pepper pasta and precede it with a small starter or salad.
Anything Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern-inspired will be a good match with this dish. For example, you can try our:
- Creamy-dreamy chickpea hummus with crunchy veggie sticks or pita bread.
- Refreshing and aromatic Shirazi salad with cucumber, tomato, and dried mint.
- Green bean salad with creamy mustard dressing.
- Zaalouk, a creamy eggplant salad with tomatoes.
- Tasty and cute eggplant pizzas, perfect as a small appetizer.
- Olive tapenade with crunchy homemade crostini.
- Roasted Brussels sprouts with maple syrup.
- Shaved Brussels sprouts salad.
How to roast red peppers in the oven?
Preheat the oven to 480˚F (250˚C) or as hot as it gets. You can use the broiler function if you want a smoky flavor.
Then, put the whole red peppers on a baking tray and bake (or broil) for 30 to 40 minutes, turning them once halfway through, until soft and slightly charred outside.
Transfer roasted peppers into a glass bowl, cover with film, and let cool down for 30 minutes. The steam trapped in the bowl will make it easier to peel the peppers.
You can also roast bell peppers in the air fryer at 400°F or 200°C for 20 minutes, turning them around once halfway through cooking.
Now peel off the peppers and remove their stems and seeds. Try not to rinse them with water; they'll lose some flavor if you do.
Red pepper pasta has a pleasant mild red pepper taste with slightly acidic notes from the jarred peppers. It is not too dissimilar from a rich tomato sauce.
It has a full and round flavor thanks to the combination of roasted peppers, tomatoes, and almonds.
The almonds also give it a mild nutty and cheesy taste, although there's no dairy in it.
The easiest and quickest way to make roasted red pepper pasta sauce is to use jarred red peppers.
First, blend the jarred roasted bell peppers in a food processor or a blender with canned tomatoes, almonds, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, and garlic.
If you use a food processor, your red pepper pasta sauce will be coarser. If you use a high-speed blender, the sauce will turn out smoother.
Then cook the sauce on a skillet for 10 minutes before tossing in the pasta.
Yes, our roasted bell peppers sauce is vegan as we don't use heavy cream, butter, chicken, sausage, or chicken broth as other recipes do.
The sauce is gluten-free and dairy-free. You can substitute gluten-free pasta for regular wheat pasta.
More Pasta Sauces
- Vegan basil pesto (pine nuts, basil, nutritional yeast, water, garlic, olive oil, etc.)
- Marinara sauce (canned peeled tomatoes, onion, garlic, fresh basil, oregano, etc.)
- Mushroom Bolognese (button mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste, etc.)
- Lentil bolognese (dried lentils, white mushrooms, tomato passata, garlic, etc.)
- Arrabbiata Sauce (canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, garlic, parsley, etc.)
- Zucchini pesto (zucchini, almonds, basil, nutritional yeast, olive oil, etc.)
More Veggie Pasta Ideas
If you liked this red pepper pasta, you might also like these veggie-packed pasta recipes:
- Easy mushroom pasta (cherry tomatoes, parsley, garlic, mushrooms, etc.)
- Tomato basil pasta (canned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, onion, etc.)
- Lemon pasta with spinach (lemon zest, parmesan cheese, spaghetti, etc.)
- Pasta alla norma (roasted eggplant, canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, etc.)
- Broccoli pasta (mashed broccoli, garlic, orecchiette pasta, red pepper flakes, etc.)
For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.
Make ahead: you can make the red pepper sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a mason jar. You can also freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.
Refrigerator: keep red pepper pasta leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Reheat: in the microwave for just a minute or on a pan with a splash of water.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Blender or food processor
RED PEPPER SAUCE
- 12 ounces roasted red bell peppers jarred or home-roasted
- 1 small can (15 oz) tomatoes diced, crushed, whole, or puree
- ¾ cup almonds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
FOR THE PASTA
- 12 ounces rigatoni pasta or any other
- ¾ gallon water to cook the pasta
- 1½ tablespoons salt for the pasta water
- 1 handful parsley or basil
- To a blender or food processor, add 12 ounces roasted red bell peppers, 1 small can (15 oz) tomatoes, ¾ cup almonds, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 clove garlic, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes.Blend until you reach your desired consistency.
- Transfer the red pepper sauce to a large skillet and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add half a cup of water if the sauce gets too thick.
- While the sauce simmers, boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water.Cook it very al dente, then reserve one cup of pasta water, drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the sauce.Toss the pasta with the sauce on medium heat until fully coated. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water if necessary.
- Add your fresh herb of choice - fresh parsley or basil - then serve the pasta immediately while still hot.
- Optionally, you can mix in some diced roasted eggplant or roasted cauliflower florets (see variations chapter).
- Serving Suggestions
- More Pasta Sauces
- More Veggie Pasta Ideas