The recipe for this sauce was inspired by a couple of things. One: my love of roasted red peppers. Up until a few years ago, I actually strongly disliked red bell peppers. I would always pick them out of my mom’s stir fry and was never a fan of roasted red pepper hummus. Somewhere along the line, that changed, and now red peppers are a staple in my diet!
Two: a red pepper dip that my aunt used to make with feta cheese, white beans, and garlic. This sauce tastes surprisingly similar to that dip, which leads me to believe that this recipe would be great with crackers or pretzels.
This sauce is a delicious, low-fat alternative to marinara sauce that can be whipped up in just seconds! I really love creamy sauces, but wanted to stay away from heavy cream and butter. To create the creamy consistency in this sauce, part-skim ricotta cheese and low-fat cream cheese are used. If you dislike ricotta, cottage cheese may be substituted. Or if you want to steer clear of both ricotta and cottage cheese, you could even use a combination of cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Whichever combination you choose to use, you will still come out with a zesty, creamy sauce that tastes delicious on pasta or chicken and won’t make you feel like you’re cheating on your diet. I used jarred roasted red peppers, but feel free to roast fresh bell peppers if you wish.
makes 1 – 1.5 cups, or about 2 servings
- 1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, or about 1 cup chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped (if using dried basil, use 1-2 tsp)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste or sauce
- 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 6-7 oz. pasta (I used half a box of whole grain penne)
- optional: 1-2 cups fresh spinach
- In a food processor, combine the first 6 ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Cook pasta according to box directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat creamy roasted red pepper sauce in a small saucepan over low heat just until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat. (If using spinach, add it to the heated sauce and stir until wilted.)
- Pour sauce over pasta and enjoy with a sprinkle of extra parmesan cheese.
Happy Holidays to everyone!