This easy roasted red pepper coulis is a rich and flavorful sauce that makes the most of sweet smoky bell peppers and fragrant fresh basil leaves. It's very simple to make this colorful bell pepper coulis and it's so delicious drizzled onto meat, chicken, fish or plant-based mains!
Roasted red peppers have such a delicious sweetness, and make for a great swap for tomatoes to make a tasty sauce! Rather than using a jar, I do suggest to roast your own bell peppers for that rich smoky flavor that feels quite decadent. It really does up the flavor!
This red pepper coulis comes together so easily by roasting your bell peppers, cooking up with some onion and garlic, and then blending into a rich colorful sauce.
The beauty of this red pepper sauce is just how versatile it is! Serve with meats, fish or eggs if they work for you, or I like to spread a little onto a sandwich or drizzle over a grain bowl or roasted vegetables.
❔ What is a pepper coulis?
Often people think of coulis as a sweet sauce, such as my passion fruit coulis and easy mango coulis for example. A fruit coulis is made by combining fruit with sugar, then heating, pureeing and, optionally, straining the sauce.
A savory coulis is equally delicious, and typically combines veggies, a liquid such as stock and seasonings if you like. The sauce is then blended, and it can be strained if you prefer a thinner consistency.
⭐ Why this recipe is so good
Full of flavor. Sweet smoky roasted bell peppers are so delicious, and even more flavorful with garlic and fresh basil.
Uses simple ingredients. We use ingredients that most of us have to hand in the fridge and pantry, or are easy to find in stores!
Tomato free sauce. We simply use bell peppers for this sauce, so it's suitable for those who cannot tolerate tomatoes. If you're looking for more tomato free recipes, do have a peek at my pasta recipes without tomato sauce and my post on tomato alternatives for more ideas!
All the ingredients and their quantities are set out in the recipe card below.
Some notes on a few of them:
- Red peppers - we want to use sweet red bell peppers for this recipe, and not hot peppers or bell peppers of another color. Red peppers have the best sweetness when roasted and give the sauce a rich flavor.
- Onion and garlic - both give the sauce extra flavor, and you can always add another garlic clove if you like!
- Basil leaves - pick fresh basil leaves for their fragrant flavor - so summery I always think!
📖 Swaps and variations
Add a pinch of spice. If you like even more flavor, a little pinch of sweet paprika would be nice!
Use a jar of roasted peppers. This skips the step of using homemade roasted peppers if you're short on time. If you're here for low histamine diet recipes, then I suggest to roast your own peppers.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Making this red pepper coulis is very simple, with just a few steps. In terms of equipment, you will need some parchment paper to roast the peppers, and a blender to puree the sauce.
All the instructions are in the recipe card below, but these photos should help guide you.
Step 1: Roast the red peppers
After removing the seeds and membrane from the peppers, dice into 2-3 pieces, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes (image 1).
Step 2: Remove the pepper skins
Place the peppers in a covered bowl (or bag) and leave for about 5 minutes. Then carefully peel the skins off the peppers and dice (image 2).
Step 3: Cook the pepper sauce
Cook onion and garlic, then add the peppers and vegetable stock. Cook for 5-10 minutes so the sauce reduces (image 3).
Step 4: Blend the red pepper coulis
Add the pepper mixture, basil leaves and apple cider vinegar (if using) to your blender and blend to a thick sauce (image 4).
💭 Recipe tips and notes
- I do suggest to use red bell peppers rather than yellow or orange (or green) as they have much more sweetness.
- The roasted red peppers should have blackening to the skins. If needed, roast for a few more minutes to achieve this charring.
- If you like a thinner sauce, add a little more vegetable stock. For a thicker sauce, use a little less!
- As an alternative cooking method, you can 'roast' the peppers by placing whole red peppers on the flame of a gas hob. Turn occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, as set out in BBC Good Food's guide to roasting peppers.
📋 Frequently asked questions
Homemade roasted red peppers have a rich sweet flavor with a hint of smokiness.
You can make a pepper coulis with yellow or green peppers, but it won't have the same sweetness as roasted red peppers.
You can swap out homemade roasted peppers for a jar of roasted peppers, but it won't have the same sweet smoky flavor as roasting your own, and they may be a little salty depending on the liquid they have been stored in.
🍽 Serving suggestions
A drizzle of this bell pepper coulis would add so much flavor to:
- Grilled, roasted or air fried chicken such as my air fryer boneless chicken thighs or my honey chicken burger
- Fish dishes such as my air fryer cod recipe
- Egg dishes (note that my low histamine readers may wish to avoid eggs)
- Sandwiches - my favorite way to enjoy it!
- Rice or grain dishes, including my couscous buddha bowl
- Roasted vegetables such as my roasted Tenderstem broccoli and my roasted sweet potatoes and zucchini
- My air fryer sweet potato wedges - dunk them in the sauce!
⏲️ Freezing advice
It's very simple to freeze this roasted pepper coulis for another meal. Simply allow the coulis to cool, then spoon into small freezer-safe containers or bags.
Freeze It recommends that you can freeze pasta sauces for up to six months, but my low histamine readers may wish to reduce this time.
🥣 More sauce recipes
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Simple Red Pepper Coulis
- Preheat the oven to 390F / 200C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove the seeds and membrane from the red bell peppers and dice into 3-4 pieces. Place on the baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive and roast the red peppers for 30 minutes until softened with slightly blackened skins.
- Place the red peppers in a bowl (use tongs as they will be hot), then cover with a plate, or alternatively place in a sealed bag. Leave for 5 minutes, then once cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard. Dice the peppers into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil in your skillet and saute onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes until softened on a low heat. Add the diced peppers and pour in the vegetable stock. Increase the heat to medium, and simmer for 5-10 minutes so the stock reduces.
- Pour the pepper mixture into your blender (if needed, allow to cool a little, if your blender can't take hot liquids), along with the basil leaves and apple cider vinegar (if using). Blend to a thick roasted red pepper coulis!
- The apple cider vinegar is optional, and can be left out if you prefer.
- The roasted red peppers should have blackening to the skins. If required, roast for a few more minutes to achieve this as it brings out the sweetness of the flesh.
- Let the red peppers cool a little before removing the skins.
- As an alternative to roasting the bell peppers, you can place whole peppers on the flame of a gas hob and allow to blacken (turning occasionally) for 10-15 minutes, as this post on roasting peppers by BBC Good Food sets out.
- Nutritional information is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- garlic, apple cider vinegar and onion, which score 1.
- vegetable stock will depend upon ingredients used.