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Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Vegan + Whole30)

$3.31 Recipe/$0.83 Serving

Roasted red pepper sauce is creamy, slightly sweet, velvety and a great alternative to traditional pasta sauce! Made with just 7 ingredients, this healthy roasted red pepper sauce is vegan, Whole30, dairy free and so easy to make!

Ready in under 10 minutes, this sauce will quickly become your new favorite topping for pasta, roasted veggies, salmon, chicken or even sandwiches.

Spoon full of vegan roasted red pepper sauce.

Why you will love this recipe

  • This Whole30 roasted red pepper sauce is made with simple ingredients and is thickened with cashews, making it dairy free but super thick and velvety! You are not going to believe the flavor of this sauce!
  • Made with pantry staples, this sauce can come together any night of the week but its fancy enough for company! Impress your guests with a sauce that takes less than 10 minutes to make! You can even make the sauce ahead of time!
  • This vegan roasted red pepper pasta sauce is not just for pasta! You can serve it with all your favorite foods. I love it especially as a sauce for roasted veggies or on grain bowls for a quick and flavorful lunch!
Ingredients for roasted red pepper pasta sauce.
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Ingredients

  • Roasted red peppers – I used jarred roasted red peppers to make this a quick and simple meal. Roasted red peppers are pretty easy to find and last a long time in the pantry. Be sure to drain any of the liquid they are packed in before using in the recipe. You can also roast your own peppers if you prefer.
  • Soaked Cashews – soaking raw cashews in hot water for a few minutes will soften them and allow the sauce to get thick and creamy. If you cannot have cashews, you can use raw sunflower seeds (you will need to soak these as well) or hemp hearts (no soaking required).
  • Water – this helps thin out the sauce a bit.
  • Lemon juice – lemon juice helps cut through the sweetness of the peppers and perfectly balances out the flavors!
  • Tomato paste – this is what most roasted red pepper sauces are missing. Tomato paste has a umami quality that helps round out the sauce without the need for cheese.
  • Salt – salt it a critical element to balance out the flavors.
  • Garlic powder – garlic powder also provides a umami flavor without overwhelming the dish with garlic. Fresh garlic would need to be cooked down before use, and it can sometimes quickly take over the flavor profile. I prefer to use garlic powder in no-cooking required sauces like this vegan roasted red pepper sauce or pesto.

How to make roasted red pepper sauce

  1. Soak the cashews: There are a few ways to soak cashews. Lately I have been heating water up in my electric kettle. Once boiling, pour the water over the raw cashews and let it sit for 5 minutes, discard the water before use. See my tips below for other ways to soak cashews!
  2. Drain the water from the roasted red peppers (I like to rinse them a bit too).
  3. Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on high 1 minute.
  4. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Steps to make creamy roasted red pepper sauce.

Tips on making roasted red pepper pasta

When using this sauce with pasta (I love to use lentil pasta for extra fiber and protein), you will want to save some of the liquid from cooking right before straining the pasta. You will want about 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid from the pasta to add to your roasted red pepper sauce.

After straining the pasta, add it back to the pot and add in the roasted red pepper sauce and about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Turn the burner on low and stir 2-3 minutes, helping fully incorporate the water into the sauce.

Continue to add more pasta water until the sauce reaches your preferred consistency. If you find you add too much water, just let the pasta cook over low heat for a minute or two and it will tighten up as it reduces.

Steps to make vegan roasted red pepper pasta.
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What to serve this with

This creamy roasted red pepper sauce is so versatile and will quickly become a go-to sauce for your family! Some of my favorite ways to use it include:

  • On pasta (using a lentil or chickpea pasta keeps this gluten free and also adds a ton of fiber and protein to the meal).
  • On spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, hearts of palm pasta to keep it low carb and Whole30 friendly! You could also use butternut squash or sweet potato noodles as well!
  • As a sauce over roasted veggies or as a dip for fresh veggies! You may want to reduce the water in the recipe if you will be using it as a dip (maybe down to 2 tbsp. instead of ¼ cup).
  • Pour over homemade lentil quinoa meatballs for a fun vegan meal!
  • To make grain bowls more exciting! This sauce would be great over a rice bowl or quinoa bowl and would pair with any veggies!
  • To add flavor to chicken, salmon, shrimp, tofu (vegan).

FAQs

How to roast peppers at home

  • You will want to turn your oven up to 500F (450F if that is as high as your oven goes).
  • Place bell peppers on a baking sheet (don’t add parchment paper as it cannot handle temperatures this high).
  • Roast the peppers at 500F for 25 minutes or so. If you had to go to 450F you may need to roast the peppers up to 40 minutes.
  • After roasting, you will want to take the peppers out of the oven and put them in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Alternatively you can put them in a paper bag and roll the bag up to trap the hot air.
  • After steaming for 5-10 minutes, you will be able to handle the peppers with your hands and should be able to peel away the charred skins, the stems and the seeds.
Fork holding creamy roasted red pepper pasta.

Other ways to soak cashews

  • Microwave: Add cashews to a large cup (I use a quart size mason jar). Add just enough water to cover the cashews. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before handling the cup. Discard the water from soaking.
  • Stove: Add the cashews and enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and boil 2-3 minutes. Discard the cooking liquid.
  • Counter: Cover the cashews in room temperature water and let them sit on the counter 6-8 hours. Discard the water before use.

What is the best blender to use to make sauces with cashews

For the best results you will want a high speed blender. I love using my bullet blender; it’s inexpensive and really does a great job!

I have not tested this recipe in a food processor but it should work. You will want to really make sure your cashews were soaked well, as the food processor doesn’t quite have the same speed as a blender to pulverize the cashews.

The best kind of pasta to use

This roasted red pepper sauce is similar to tomato sauce in that it goes great with any kind of pasta. It thick like alfredo sauce, so it is great on noodle shaped pasta but I love it in penne or shells, as some of the sauce gets trapped in the noodle!

Roasted red pepper sauce on spaghetti squash.

Storage

Fridge: Store the vegan roasted red pepper sauce in the fridge for up to 7 days. If you make creamy roasted red pepper pasta, it will be good for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Freezer: You can freeze the leftover sauce for up to 3 months. Whenever I am freezing a sauce like this, I like to freeze it in souper cubes, then transfer the cubes to a freezer safe bag once frozen solid. To defrost just store in the fridge overnight or heat up on the stove over low heat with a lid.

Substitutions

  • Roasted red pepper in a jar: Be sure to check the ingredients of any store bought if you are on Whole30 to ensure you aren’t getting any added sugar. You can also make your own at home. Check out the tips above for instructions.
  • Cashews: To make this nut free, can also use soaked raw sunflower seeds or hemp hearts (no soaking required). The taste will be slightly different but this will allow you to make this nut free. If you can tolerate nuts, you can also use soaked blanched almonds (remove the skins to make the sauce smooth).
  • Water: If you want to make this even creamier, you could substitute the water with dairy free milk of choice.
  • Lemon Juice: This helps cut through the roasted red pepper sweetness, you could also use 1 tbsp. of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Tomato Paste: This really helps balance out the sauce and rounds out the flavors. You could add parmesan cheese (not dairy free) or miso paste in place of the tomato paste if you need this to be tomato free.
  • Garlic powder: You can omit this, the flavor won’t be quite the same but it’s ok to omit if you need this to be garlic free. You could also blend in roasted garlic olive oil or fresh garlic as well.
Large pot filled with creamy roasted red pepper pasta.

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Vegan roasted red pepper sauce in a glass jar.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Vegan, Whole30)

$3.31 recipe/$0.83 serving
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is perfect on pasta, your favorite protein or on veggies! This vegan, Whole30, dairy free sauce is ready in under 10 minutes and is so easy to make! Made with pantry ingredients, this will quickly become your new favorite go-to sauce!
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: vegan roasted red pepper pasta sauce, whole30 roasted red pepper sauce
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 1 min
Total Time: 6 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Soak the raw cashews in fresh water: Pour boiling water over the cashews and allow them to sit on the counter for 5 minutes before draining and discarding the water.
  • Drain and rinse the roasted red peppers.
  • Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on high 1 minute until smooth.
  • Note: If you are using this with pasta, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water to help emulsify the roasted red pepper pasta. Pour the roasted red pepper sauce over the pasta and start with 1/2 cup of the liquid, stir well about 2 minutes over low heat. Continue to add more of the cooking liquid until the sauce is at the consistency you like.

Notes

Cost with Gluten Free Pasta
$5.30 recipe/$1.33 serving
How to Soak Cashews:
  • Microwave: Add cashews to a large cup (I use a quart size mason jar). Add just enough water to cover the cashews. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before handling the cup. Discard the water from soaking.
  • Stove: Add the cashews and enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and boil 2-3 minutes. Discard the cooking liquid.
  • Counter: Cover the cashews in room temperature water and let them sit on the counter 6-8 hours. Discard the water before use.
Storage:
  • Store the vegan roasted red pepper sauce in the fridge for up to 7 days. If you make creamy roasted red pepper pasta, it will be good for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • You can freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. Freeze the sauce in cubes, then transfer the cubes to a freezer safe bag once frozen solid. To defrost just store in the fridge overnight or heat up on the stove over low heat with a lid.
*Note: To make this Whole30 friendly, be sure to check the ingredients of your roasted red peppers to ensure there is not added sugar. 
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
112
Fat
 
7
g
Carbohydrates
 
10
g
Fiber
 
2
g
Sugar
 
2
g
Protein
 
4
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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