Sometimes one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to recreate something I’ve eaten before – whether it’s at a restaurant, something my mom used to make when I was growing up, or just a standard used-to-be staple. This particular spread was inspired by a happy hour tapas trip I had with one of my girlfriends a couple weeks back. If you tuned in last Saturday, you’ll already know the trip also inspired my quinoa salad. Well, this spread is not just inspired. It was my attempt at re-creation. And I have to admit, I might even like the recreation better than the original. Score!
It sounds like kind of a strange combination – roasted red peppers and walnuts. As a spread. But this dip ended up being extremely delicious and full of complex flavors. I bumped up the ingredients with a bit of lemon juice, balsamic and white wine vinegar for a little tang, and added some parsley and garlic. I toasted the walnuts to give them more depth of flavor and that combined with the roasted red peppers gave the spread a range of flavors that all melded together to make the perfect addition to our Mediterranean meal.
I’d never roasted my own peppers before but asked google and came across a how-to from Ina Garten. I figured it was a sure-fire way to take my first stab at roasting peppers without burning the apartment down or making them completely un-edible. It turns out, it’s a relatively easy thing to do as long as you have a lot of time and a bit of patience.
The spread I had at the restaurant was pretty chunky but mine came out more smooth, if you didn’t know any better, you might even mistake it for hummus. The recipe ended up making a huge batch which R and I happily made our way through at almost every meal for a couple of days. And with the heart-healthy fats from walnuts and the sheer goodness of peppers – I couldn’t even feel guilty about it. This is definitely going to be one of those recipes I come back to time and time again. Especially when I have company. It’s definitely one that fits in the crowd-pleaser category. Having friends over for football tomorrow? Whip up a batch of this. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread
What You’ll Need:
- 4 red peppers
- 2 cups whole raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- juice from 1/4 lemon
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
What You’ll Do:
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Place the peppers on a greased pan and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning two to three times during the process.
- While the peppers are roasting, toast the walnuts over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until they start to brown. Be careful not to burn them – they can heat up quickly and go from toasted to burnt in no time!
- When the peppers are roasted, remove them from the oven and immediately cover with aluminum foil. Let them sit until they’re cooled enough for you to handle them- at least 30 minutes.
- Once the peppers are cooled, removing the skins is surprisingly easy. Simply cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and stem and the skins will just peel off the flesh of the pepper. Easy peasy!
- Place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they’re broken into tiny pieces.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the processor and blend until smooth.
- Serve with vegetables or cut up pita bread and enjoy!