Allergen Cooking · cooking · Dinner · Gluten-Free · Plant Based Diet

Roasted Red Pepper & Sunflower Pesto

Last week when I saw Frugal Feeding’s Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto, I had to make it!


A pesto that is vibrant? Vegan and plant-based diet friendly? That has amazing flavor? And oh, is allergy friendly? The flavor though..oh, you have to try it!

My adaptation saved a few steps and got it on the table even faster. Which was good because we were out in the garden till almost dark! The boys were “helping” me get a bed ready to turn over. By helping, that means they got good and dirty while I worked 😉


My garlic and onion chives have come through the winter and are shooting up:


So far, all but one of my rhubarb plants has shot through, and is bursting up in green and red:


And a Monday selfie in the garden!


But back to that pasta……


Roasted Red Pepper & Sunflower Pesto


  • 1 15.5 ounce jar roasted red peppers (see notes)
  • ¾ cup toasted sunflower seeds + more for topping (see notes)
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • 16 ounces spaghetti, wheat or gluten-free


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add spaghetti, cook as directed on package. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, drain red pepper, discarding any seeds and peeling any remaining charred skin off. Add peppers to a food processor bowl, pulse a few times. Add in sunflower seeds, olive oil, ¼ tsp ground black pepper and a large pinch of salt. Process until mostly smooth, scraping sides as needed. Taste for salt, adding more if needed. Transfer sauce to a large mixing bowl, add in hot spaghetti and toss to coat. Drizzle in a little bit of the reserved pasta water, tossing gently, adding more of the water, until a sauce coats the pasta.

Serve with extra sunflower seeds sprinkled on top, and if desired, grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 to 6.


I can often source Giuliano Roasted Red Peppers at my local Grocery Outlet in the $3 a jar range, which is a great bargain. When I see them, I buy multiple jars to have on hand! A jar is about 3 red peppers. Trader Joe’s also carries jars as well, and sometimes has multi color ones. Even then, a jar for $5 is still a good price, considering that if you live in the PNW like me, 3 fresh red peppers is at least $5, unless it is summer. And you still have to char them 😉

I cheated and used roasted sunflower seeds, toasting them is easy though. Heat a frypan or skillet over medium, add sunflower seeds to the pan, shake gently until golden and smelling good. Set aside to cool. Use a plain pan, not a nonstick.

When buying sunflower seeds, read the package. Look for ones not roasted in oil, or having salt/other ingredients added, and as well that they were not manufactured on the same line as peanuts (if it applies). I have had good luck with Trader Joe’s for both raw and roasted.

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