I recently bought a couple of red bell peppers for just a few bucks at the Oak Park Farmers Market.I picked them up because they were this beautiful shade of deep red that I couldn’t resist.
They seemed to be calling my name, all shiny and pretty.
Before I knew what I was doing, I was walking away from the tent with them, thinking I could figure out the rest (as in, what to do with them) later that day.
This, apparently, is my thing, the way yours might be that you’re always on time, or never forget to bake a cake for a birthday. I am the girl who can’t plan ahead, who buys and then thinks, who starts recipes late at night before reading the directions in their entirety.
A few days went by, and still, I didn’t do anything with them. I kept forgetting I bought them, as they were jammed in the very back of the refrigerator behind all of the new groceries I kept bringing home and stuffing inside.
Thankfully, my friends were their saving grace. They were coming over for a small get-together, and I needed to make a few appetizers.
Something had to be done with those beautiful bell peppers.
With my fridge full of fresh veggies gathered from the farmers market, cream cheese, and sour cream, I knew I could easily mix together a creamy roasted red pepper dip, served with crudité, briny olives, and chips.
I love roasting peppers myself at home – they fill your kitchen with a wonderful smell that makes your stomach growl. Plus, they wrinkle up like crazy and look like your toes do after being in the bathtub for too long.
I don’t know, I think that’s kind of fun.
But perhaps not as much fun as sitting around a table with friends, chatting, giggling, drinking beer, and eating huge, messy scoopfuls of this homemade dip.Print
Do you love when there’s a creamy dip to munch on during a party? You’ll be very pleased with this homemade roasted red pepper dip.
- 2 large roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped, divided
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup gently packed basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for serving
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the chopped red bell pepper in a separate bowl. Place all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Blend together until super smooth and creamy. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes.
- Transfer the dip to a medium-sized serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes before serving.
- Garnish with the reserved chopped red peppers and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped basil. Serve with bread, crackers, olives, and assorted fresh vegetables.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dip
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: Appetizer
Keywords: cream cheese, roasted red pepper, basil, balsamic vinegar
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Roast the Peppers
You could use a jarred version, but I think homemade roasted peppers have the best flavor.
Before you do anything else, set out the cream cheese to soften.
Next, follow Foodal’s How to Roast Peppers Tutorial to get all the details you need! Here’s a brief overview of the oven-roasted method I used for this recipe:
Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning them twice with tongs, until the skin is shriveled and darkened, and the flesh is slightly softened.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or foil and set aside to steam for 10 minutes, to loosen the skins.
Remove the papery skin with your fingers. Remove the seeds and stems. Roughly chop the flesh.
Reserve 1/4 cup of the chopped peppers for the final garnish.
If the peppers at your grocery store are a little on the small side, roast three instead of two. And if you’re a pepper lover, try growing your own crunchy, sweet bell peppers at home! You’ll find all your need to know over on our sister site, Gardener’s Path.
Step 2 – Measure the Remaining Ingredients
Roughly chop the basil and mince the garlic.
Step 3 – Blend
Blend together until super smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape down the sides once and blend again to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
Step 4 – Adjust Seasonings and Chill
Season to taste with more salt or black or red chili pepper.
Scoop the dip into a medium-sized serving bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes before serving.
Step 5 – Garnish and Serve
When you’re ready to serve, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Garnish with the reserved chopped bell peppers. You can also garnish with little drizzle of olive oil, or extra basil leaves.
Do I Have to Use Red Bell Peppers?
Nope! Use whatever you want – yellow, green, or orange are excellent options that will all yield a similar taste profile when roasted and mixed with the other ingredients in this recipe.
Want even more heat? Roast one or two of your favorite variety of hot peppers. A jalapeno would be great. A serrano would pack even more feisty spice.
It all depends on your preferred level of heat. Go hard and crazy, or stay mild and subtly sweet. I’d love to know what you decide to make! Write a note for me in the comment section below.
For more dips ideas, check out some of these super creamy, super tasty selections:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 27, 2008. Last updated: January 23, 2022 at 8:28 am. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.