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This Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce served over your favorite al dente pasta makes the perfect weeknight meal. It’s made with oven-roasted peppers and tomatoes, blended until creamy, and finished with fresh herbs.
A Flavorful Twist on Classic Marinara Sauce
This Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce is no exception. It’s similar to the classic Italian marinara but incorporates roasted peppers for added sweetness. It’s made with simple ingredients, bursting with flavor thanks to the slow-roasted peppers and aromatics, and is made creamy with a secret ingredient you’ll never suspect.
Switch up your regular rotation and try this roasted red pepper pasta for a quick dinner this week! It’s naturally high in protein, gluten-free, and vegan.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Tomatoes: You’ll need both fresh, ripe tomatoes and tomato paste. Similar to our homemade Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomato Sauce, we used a mix of fresh Roma tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes.
- Bell pepper: Many recipes available use store-bought roasted red peppers, but we wanted to make a version that was 100% homemade and simple to make from scratch. For the best flavor, use red bell peppers. They are the sweetest among the peppers.
- Onion + Garlic: Essentials in many recipes, but especially important when making a fresh homemade sauce. Using fresh is highly recommended.
- Oil: The oil adds richness and helps roast the tomatoes and peppers. We recommend a quality extra-virgin olive oil or another quality cooking oil of your choice.
- Sugar: Half a teaspoon of sugar will balance the acidic, savory flavors. We used organic cane sugar, but another sugar, such as coconut sugar, will work in a pinch.
- Seasonings: We kept it simple and opted for Italian seasoning, a pinch of salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes for a slight kick.
- Silken tofu: The key to adding creaminess and protein without dairy. If you’re new to using silken tofu, trust us here! You won’t taste the tofu at all, and it makes a massive difference in the consistency and flavor of the sauce.
- Hot sauce: Any hot sauce will work well, so choose your favorite.
- Flaxseed meal: Adds nutrition and helps thicken this sauce into the perfect creamy texture.
- Large casserole dish
- Food processor or high-powered blender
- Large skillet (for heating sauce)
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Measuring cups
- Cutting board
How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
- Roast the veggies. Mix the tomatoes, onion, chopped red peppers, garlic cloves, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, sugar, pepper, and red pepper flakes until well combined. Roast in the oven until the skins lift from the tomatoes, about 40 minutes.
- Cool for 10-15 minutes. Once baked, cool the seasoned veggies for up to 15 minutes, then transfer everything (juices included) into the food processor or blender.
- Process until smooth. Add the silken tofu, tomato paste, hot sauce, and flaxseed meal and process until smooth.
- Add basil. Pulse until broken up into the sauce but not blended in. If you over-blend the basil, it will turn the sauce from red to brown.
- Heat and serve. Transfer the smooth sauce to a saucepan and heat until warmed through again. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil, extra red chili flakes, or as desired!
The most popular way to enjoy this Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce is to serve it over pasta, but it can also be served on a Vegan Meatball Sub Sandwich, in 5-Ingredient Stuffed Peppers, or used as a dipping sauce for Homemade Vegan Mozzarella Sticks.
If you choose to enjoy this delicious pasta sauce over the pasta of your choice, we highly recommend pairing it with our homemade Vegan Garlic Bread, and a simple side salad, such as Grilled Romaine drizzled with Vegan Ranch Dressing or Vegan Caesar Dressing.
When possible, we recommend storing leftover roasted red pepper sauce separately from cooked pasta. When stored together, the pasta will absorb some of the sauce, making the pasta less saucy and fresh looking. Instead, store the pasta and sauce separately in airtight containers and combine once both components are warmed.
This homemade pasta sauce will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer.
To freeze: Allow the red pepper pasta sauce recipe to cool completely to room temperature, then transfer to a glass jar or freezer-safe container. If freezing in a glass jar, ensure the sauce is below the freezer line to prevent cracking.
To reheat: Leftover sauce can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop in a saucepan or large skillet. If frozen, allow the sauce to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours before reheating as usual.
If your pasta sauce is on the thinner side, add an additional tablespoon of flaxseed meal. This will help thicken the sauce without the need for additional ingredients such as cornstarch or arrowroot starch. Alternatively, allow the sauce to simmer on the stovetop until thickened. The longer it cooks, the more excess moisture will cook off.
A bitter spaghetti sauce can happen a number of ways. First, make sure to use sweet, ripe bell peppers. The better tasting the peppers, the better tasting the sauce. Second, if you heat your sauce for too long, this can cause the herbs and flavors in the sauce to overcook and become bitter. Warm until just heated through, and then remove from heat.
Pasta sauces made with roasted red peppers should be naturally less acidic than the classic tomato sauce, but a bit of sugar helps balance these flavors. We recommend using about 1/2 a teaspoon, but feel free to adjust to taste. For more ideas, check out this helpful article: How to Make Tomato Sauce Less Acidic.
The secret to this ultra-rich and creamy pasta sauce is the addition of silken tofu. Its custard-like consistency blends into the tomato and roasted red bell peppers for a silky smooth, creamy sauce that is naturally dairy-free.
More of our Favorite Pasta Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Easy Avocado Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes – healthy pasta made creamy with avocado and dairy-free pesto.
- The Best Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce – just as hearty as the classic!
- 15-Minute One Pot Pasta – the quickest, easiest dinner recipe. A must-make!
- Easy Vegan Pasta Primavera – chalked full of veggies and made creamy with cashew cream.
- One-Pot Vegan Hamburger Helper (Cheeseburger Pasta) – one of our most popular recipes for a reason! It’s rich, indulgent, and the perfect comfort food pasta dish.
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