This recipe for Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto, comes by way of my dear friend C who has a largely vegetarian diet and like everything that she makes, is really full of flavour and utterly delicious. The peppers get slightly charred in the oven, the tomatoes become juicy and intensify their flavour through roasting face down in the pesto and the feta adds a salty, lemony and creamy note. Whenever I need to cut back on the calories, I make these peppers (with a little less cheese) to layer in my lunchbox with lots of salad leaves and also some green lentils which I cook in stock with some chilli flakes and thyme. The juices from the lentils and the peppers means that a dressing is not needed. It is so full of flavour and releases energy slowly so that I don’t feel hungry or unsatisfied. The peppers are also gorgeous warm with some roast salmon or chicken or as a side to a stew. These are really quick and effortless to make also scaling up easily to make more servings… Prepare the peppersSmear with pestoFill with halved cherry tomatoes Top with feta cheese, trickle over some EVOO and place in the oven.
Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto
- 2 long sweet red peppers (they are sometimes called ‘pointed’)
- 4 generous tsp pesto
- 8-10 cherry or mini plum tomatoes
- 100 g feta cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F.
- Before slicing the peppers in half, take a look at them to determine the most sensible side to do this from – they need to sit flat on the tray. Pointed peppers tend to be sort of flat and wide – they have a narrower side which is where they are best sliced from. I find that if I lay one down so that it lies flat and then give it a quarter turn, that is the best place to slice them in half – it gives me two fairly stable and wide halves. After you have sliced them in half, remove the seeds and the white membrane but try and leave the stems on as they look rather pretty. If there are any rogue seeds, hold the pepper half over the sink, cut side facing down and give it a little tap or two with the flat of the knife and the seeds should fly out. Nestle the prepared peppers in a baking dish which will hold them snugly. The tin that I use is 7″ x 10″ (which is 26cm x 17cm) and comfortably holds 4 halves.
- Smear 1 generous teaspoon of pesto into each half. Slice the tomatoes in half and nestle, cut side down into the pesto – put in as many as you can squeeze in. When I can find them I also use a few yellow cherry tomatoes.
- Slice the feta into cubes and divide this evenly over the tomatoes.
- Trickle over a little EVOO and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Serve warm as a side with a roast or stew or cold in a lunch box with a salad. This is delicious with a lentil salad and also on toasted slices of baguette…
I have made these with green pointed peppers which went down well despite my not liking the flavour of green peppers in general. They can be topped with grated parmesan cheese instead of the feta. Adding a few slices of anchovy filets, red onion and black olives would be rather lovely.