The Food Matters Project: Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut “Pesto”

Centered on Mark Bittman’s philosophy of eating more plants and fewer animal products and processed foods, The Food Matters Project brings bloggers together with a shared goal of eating mindfully accomplished through an exploration of recipes authored by Mr. Bittman himself in the Food Matters Cookbook. It’s a simple and effective grounding principle, easily accessible to any kitchen dweller, be they a professional chef or an amateur like me. Small Kitchen College is on board, ready to re-create the weekly recipe assignments, bonus points for our enthusiasm and flare!

This week’s recipe, Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut “Pesto” chosen by Heather of Girlichef was a grand success (see how other Food Matters participants fared here!). My fiancé couldn’t stop dipping his spoon back in the bowl. Someone forgets their manners when in the presence of deliciousness so strong!

I stuck to the basics of the recipe, adding a few minor tweaks of my own. The entire process, start to finish, took ten minutes, with minimal prep or clean-up, and this coming from a gal who knows how to turn a kitchen upside down.

The adjustments I made were as follows:

1 cup assorted, salted mixed nuts (instead of walnuts)

4 roasted bell peppers (not 8 )

1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed

Along with these ingredients, I added 1 tablespoon of garlic, 1 cup fresh basil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, a dash of cayenne, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of pepper to the food processor and blended away for about 1 minute until consistency was on point.

I plated this bowl-licking good pesto on a piece of toasted whole wheat ciabatta with a medley of sautéed veggies on the side.  It was the perfect meal, heavy in flavor and nutrients but light sitting in the ole’ stomach. And the boy liked it to boot! I look forward to leftovers; I am already planning lunch tomorrow. I guess food has always mattered to me!

Sarah Buchanan is a senior at NYU where she studies history and creative writing. When she is not planning her upcoming June wedding or daydreaming about her Antigua honeymoon, she is searching for the city’s best pickles!

Originally posted on Monday, February 20th, 2012

7 Responses to “The Food Matters Project: Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut “Pesto””

  1. Heather @girlichef

    February 20th, 2012

    Oh Yum…wish I could slide that plate right through the screen – it looks delicious! And I love your adaptations :)

  2. Sarah from 20something cupcakes

    February 20th, 2012

    Glad you to have you guys on board! And also love that our versions were so similar, and yes, I was also eating it straight from the bowl with a spoon!

  3. Sarah

    February 20th, 2012

    Thanks ladies, love reading how we all interpret these awesome recipes. what a fun project!

  4. Joanne

    February 20th, 2012

    This dip really was addictive, wasn’t it? Love what you did with it!

  5. Margarita

    February 20th, 2012

    I like the use of salted mixed nuts. I’m sure all of that added more flavor! :)

  6. Sarah

    February 20th, 2012

    salted nuts is key, gives it that little extra kick, in my opinion. I loved this recipe so much I made another batch subbing in olives for the beans this time, also amazing. pesto is just a limitless possibility!

  7. Week 3 in Review | the food matters project

    February 23rd, 2012

    [...] can substitute almost any kind of nut for the walnuts, like almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, or just mixed nuts. Several members traded other vegetables for some or all of the roasted red peppers, like sun-dried [...]

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