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Roasted Capsicum and Cashew Pesto

Even when we try really hard not to, most of us waste a fair amount of food.  The same happens in my kitchen.  I always have virtuous intentions to use up those herb stems, the leaves of that vegetable, or the rest of that garlic bulb…but before I know it, they end up in my compost bin.

I have to say though, due to quarantine living in 2020, as well as my self-education journey into the food waste issue, I have become a much more efficient home cook.  Being at home more has opened up opportunities to make the most of what I have in the fridge and pantry. Opportunities that I may have missed normally, because they involve a little more creative thinking or more planning than usual.

A useful skill I have learned, during this time, is to make flexible base components and condiments that can be utilised in a variety of ways, not prepared solely for one dish. A new favourite, that everyone can whip up using ingredients on hand, are pesto style herb-based sauces.  They are awesome with meat and fish, with rice, through pasta, as a dip or as an extra tasty salad topping.

I highly encourage you to have a skim through this great article, by Daniel Gritzer. He gives ideas on how to create delicious pestos from the most basic ingredients.

The farmers that supply my food co-op are often very generous with red capsicums, which are a staple in our kitchen. With a Spanish hubby- it is basically a non-negotiable. The recipe today is so versatile and yummy. I turn to it when, through the farmer’s generosity, we end up with a few too many capsicums.

This recipe is absolutely delicious on its own as a dip, as a sauce on fish, or stirred through a rice (or quinoa) based salad.

What you need:

  1. 2 red capsicum, seeded and sliced into large chunks

  2. 1/3 cup cashews

  3. 2 garlic cloves, peeled

  4. 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed

  5. 1/3 cup Olive oil

  6. Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven grill.

  2. Place the capsicum on a lined baking try and drizzle with olive oil.

  3. Grill for 10-15 minutes or until the skins are charred and blistered.  Add the cashews to the tray for the final two minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

  4. Remove charred capsicum skin.

  5. Place the ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  If the pesto is a little chunky for your liking, add a little more oil or a spoonful of water.

  6. Season to taste.

  7. Enjoy!

(The dish in the photo is tuna topped with pesto, served on top of quinoa mixed with pesto, and asparagus)


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