Get Baked: Roasted Bell Pepper Sauce

When I tell people about my somewhat laughable inability to cook things due to always lighting them on fire, roasting red peppers are the reason. That being said, this sauce is so delicious that the risk of fire is worth it. Try it over pasta, zucchini cut to look like pasta, or straight up over toast.


Roasted Bell Pepper Sauce

4 large red peppers (you can also use one or two yellow or orange ones for a different flavour)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt, to taste
1 fresh basil sprig or 1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


1. First, we’re going to roast the peppers. This is lots of fun if you have a short attention span and are afraid of fire, so maybe warn your roommates, significant other, cat, or anyone else who happens to be around. If you have a normal attention span and are good at cooking, you can probably skip the preliminaries.

Anyway, roasting peppers makes them sweeter, juicer, and easier to peel, so start by preheating your oven to 425°F.

Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. You may be tempted to use parchment paper. Resist this temptation. Parchment paper is really flammable.

Place the peppers on the foil, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, turning them every 10 minutes. Do not set the oven on broil. Do not put them too close to the burners (this is key). Also: do not panic if they inadvertently ignite. Happens to me every. Single. Time.

via flickr user willg

Also: the reason there are no “completed” photos for this post.

They will look a little charred (or a lot charred) when they’re done. Then put them in a bowl, cover the bowl with an upside down plate, and let ’em sit for half an hour.

2. Holding the peppers over the bowl, remove the skins (you will probably be able to use your fingers) and seeds and throw them out. Strain and set aside the juice. Dice the peppers.

3. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the diced peppers, basil, and red pepper flakes. Pour in the juice from the roasted peppers, and bring to a simmer.

4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until everything is tender and soft. If there’s a lot of liquid left, uncover the pan and continue to simmer until there isn’t any left. If you used a basil sprig, remove it. Remove from heat.

Makes about two cups, and keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge if you pour a film of olive oil over the top.

Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. you can roast them in little foil pouches – already sliced and deseeded – with olive oil and salt to the same effect – garlic as well which is delicious, and tomatoes – and which stops there being any chance of anything setting on fire, although that’s never ever ever ever happened to me so yeah can’t imagine what’s happening there. what is also delicious is garlic and shallots softened in a little bit of butter/olive oil, then about three red peppers chucked in, and then about six tomatoes – everything sliced and diced of course – then enough water to cover everything and you boil the whole thing down, then liquidise, season and add cream/parmesan if you like, and it is soooooooo delicious; it’s the first thing that i ever cooked for myself and i haven’t looked back since

  2. My family makes a modified version of this for our traditional peperonata. One tip would be to let the blistered roasted pepers cool in a paper bag rather than a bowl, for some reason it’s meant to make the skins easier to remove.

    Recipe looks great though, issues of flammability not withstanding ;)

    • I generally let them cool in a plastic baggy for at least 10 min and then they peel pretty easy!

  3. This sounds like something I would probably really enjoy/also light on fire accidentally.
    I am wary of cooking with tinfoil ever since I put some in the microwave ten years ago and fire happened.
    I know it doesn’t catch on fire in the oven.
    Doesn’t mean I still don’t get nervous.
    There were flames coming out of the microwave, y’all. Scary, scarring shit for a seven year old.

  4. Mmmmmm….sounds fantastic! I can hardly wait to try it! Red pepper and lentils are also fantastic in a dip.

  5. Try greasing your peppers with an oil that has a high flash point before roasting them. Might help them to not catch fire. See also: highly refined oil. None of this super-smoke-ridden-sets-off-fire-alarms-with-oh-god-burning extra virgin business. If you’re working with something that hot, no virginity can be involved.

    If you know what I mean.

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