Animal Aid

Tricolour Peppers in a Fresh Basil Marinade

  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 small red peppers
  • 2 small yellow peppers

Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To serve

  • 6 teaspoons pesto sauce (dairy free variety available from health food shops)
  • 6 ready-made pastry cups, 4cm (1½ inches) in diameter, or 6 fairly large basil leaves
  • 18 small sprigs of fresh oregano or small basil leaves
  • Warm French baguette or home-made garlic bread

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400F (200C). Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning them over, every ten minutes, so that all sides are cooked, blistered and rather brown/black. Remove and cover with a slightly damp tea-towel and leave to cool for ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the marinade by mixing all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Peel the skin away from the peppers, discard seeds and stalks; cut the flesh into thin slices about 2.5cm (1") long by 5mm (¼") wide. Mix the strips into the marinade and leave to stand for 2-3 hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, divide the mixture into six - each plate should have a colourful 'mound of peppers' - pour the marinade around, and place the pastry cups, each filled with one level teaspoon of pesto sauce, on the peppers. Garnish each plate with sprigs of fresh oregano and serve with French bread or garlic bread.

Three different colour peppers, green, red and yellow, partly baked, skinned and marinated in a fresh basil marinade make a colourful and tasty starter.

You can buy ready made pastry cups from delicatessens or good supermarkets, or bake your own (50g/2oz) ready-made shortcrust pastry rolled out thinly to line the bases of 6 bun tins and baked at gas mark 6, 400F, 200C for 4-6 minutes). Alternatively, use large fresh basil leaves to hold the pesto sauce. Serve with a warm French baguette (most baguettes are vegan) to allow for a crisp texture contrast.

This starter may be made up to two days in advance and kept refrigerated until used.

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