Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Harissa Ravioli (Vegan)
I hesitated to include this dish as "a recipe" on my blog. The "recipe," after all, is just a sauce since I paired it with a store-bought pasta. On the other hand, I get so many requests on Instagram and Youtube for easy, quick recipes that don't require much effort.
So, in an effort to provide you with more simple recipes (and because so many of you requested this specific recipe on Instagram), here is one such "recipe." Plus, if Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee can have an entire television show on the Food Network, where she mixes a boxed cake mix with frozen strawberries and eggs and calls it a strawberry shortcake, then I'm going to take a little creative license and call this a recipe. Not a "recipe," just a recipe.
I love this sauce because it is rich, creamy and feels indulgent, but it is quite healthy. If you opt to make the vegan sour cream recipe, the sauce is even Paleo. But it stops being Paleo once you pair the sauce with pasta. From my recollection (as a lukewarm fan of the Paleo diet many years ago), Pasta and Paleo are not friends.
This sauce is also bursting with flavor and spice. It's slightly smoky from the roasted red bell peppers and harissa and has a nice spicy kick from the harissa and crushed red pepper flakes. Harissa is a Tunisian chile paste that's smoky and spicy and is typically made with dried chilies, spices, garlic, and olive oil. You can find harissa paste in many grocery stores, specialty and health food shops, and international grocers. Or on Amazon, obviously.
To roast the bell peppers, you can use store-bought jarred roasted red bell peppers, but it's also quite easy to roast your own bell peppers. Here's an easy recipe for roasting them in the oven and here's a guide on how to easily roast bell peppers with different methods, including on the grill.
I served this sauce with vegan ravioli from Kite Hill Foods, but you can use any pasta you like. Gluten-free farfalle? Sure! Whole wheat fettucine? Go for it! Lentil-based macaroni pasta? Sounds great!
If you don't want to make or eat pasta, you can also use drizzle this sauce over a grain bowl or roasted sweet potatoes, or use it as a marinade for tofu or tempeh.
Store the leftover sauce in a glass jar or airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Harissa Ravioli
1 cup chopped roasted red peppers (equivalent of 1 large red bell pepper)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup vegan sour cream (recipe below or store-bought)
1/2 cup plant-based milk
1 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces cooked pasta of choice
Garnishes (optional): toasted pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, chopped parsley, crushed red pepper flakes
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the diced shallots and minced garlic until golden brown and soft, about 4-5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
Transfer the shallot-garlic mixture to a food processor or blender with the chopped roasted peppers, nutritional yeast, vegan sour cream, plant milk, harissa, cumin, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Blend all the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper, or nutritional yeast as desired.
Toss warm, cooked pasta with the sauce and garnish as desired.
Vegan Sour Cream
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Generous pinch of salt
Refrigerate the can of coconut milk for a minimum of 4 hours.
Flip the refrigerated can of coconut milk upside down, open it, and pour off the thin liquid in a bowl (reserve it for use in a smoothie). Scrape out the thick layer of cream until you have 1/2 cup and transfer it to a bowl.
Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and salt to the bowl and whisk until smooth. If you want the sour cream to be completely creamy, you can blend it in a food processor or blender.