Creamy Bell Pepper Penne (vegan & gluten-free options)

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This red bell pepper penne recipe is perfect for a simple meatless week dinner.

The sauce is easy to make in a blender and super creamy thanks to the cashews and coconut milk.

I like to add a cheesy flavor with some parmesan, but you can use nutritional yeast instead if you or your kids avoid dairy.

The roasted peppers make this dish subtly sweet which probably explains why it’s a hit with my three kids.

I like to serve this red pepper sauce with brown rice pasta for extra fiber and nutrients such as protein and iron. But feel free to use whatever pasta you like – gluten-free or not – or even spiralized zucchini for an extra nutrient boost.

Red bell peppers, true powerhouses!

Red bell peppers are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available, containing large amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin K, thiamine, folic acid, and vitamin B6. Its high levels of the carotene lycopene offer protection against cancer and heart diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Buy organic whenever possible as regular bell peppers are generously sprayed with pesticides.

These bell pepper penne are:

  • Creamy

  • Packed with nutrients

  • Gluten-free (if using GF pasta)

  • Dairy-free (if using nutritional yeast)

  • Egg-free

  • Vegan (if using nutritional yeast)

  • Paleo (if using GF pasta)

  • Quick and easy to make

PREP TIME:

15 min

BAKING/cooking TIME:

20 min

serves

4

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Ingredients:

  • 4 red bell peppers

  • 2 red onions

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 cup* (130g) cashews (soaked 20 minutes in boiling water)

  • 2 cups (400 ml) coconut milk

  • 4 tbsp. parmesan (or nutritional yeast for a dairy-free option) + extra for serving

  • ½-1 tsp. salt (to taste)

  • Black pepper to taste

  • Pasta of your choice

  • Fresh parsley for topping

*Unless stated differently, my recipes are measured with US measuring cups like these ones

Directions:

  • Heat the oven to 180° C.

  • Soak the cashews in boiling water for about 20 minutes.

  • Cut the peppers and onion into stripes and the peeled garlic in two. Spread on an oven dish covered with parchment paper. Spray with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until borders start to brown.

  • In the meantime boil the water for the pasta.

  • Add the following to your high-speed blender: 2 cups coconut milk, 4 tbsp. parmesan or nutritional yeast, ½ to 1 tsp. salt, and a few cracks of pepper.

  • When the veggies are done, add them to your blender together with the drained and rinsed cashew nuts and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust if needed.

  • Prepare the pasta as instructed. Once drained, add back to the pot and stir in the sauce. You don’t have to add all of it, but be generous! Warm for an extra minute and serve with fresh parsley and some extra parmesan.