This 7 ingredients poblano pesto is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and made by roasting poblano peppers. This is creamy, mildly spicy, nutty, and made with no parmesan cheese.
Roasted poblano pesto without parmesan cheese is a beautiful twist to the original Italian basil pesto. It makes a perfect dip or condiment for tacos, roasted veggies, or smear on bread slices to make sandwiches, or perfect for cold pasta salads.
You will love this macro-friendly pesto that uses a little oil.
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make a successful recipe on your first attempt. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you want to skip.
Jump To Recipe
Why you will love this recipe
Air fryer poblano peppers give it a creamy and smooth texture. Roasting poblano not only enhances the overall flavor profile but also gives a nice color.
- Easily customized & delicious dip- This is a wonderful twist to traditional pesto. It is made without parmesan cheese, hence happen to be vegan & dairy-free. Use it to marinate any protein like paneer, tofu, meat, or spread over grilled or roasted veggies.
- Make-ahead & freezer friendly- Roast peppers in advance and whip up in just 5 minutes. It will help you if you prefer to serve freshly prepared dip. You can freeze this pesto in portions as well, just thaw before use.
- Healthy & macrofriendly- This creamy pesto is healthy and easily fits in macro friendly diet. Using just 1 teaspoon of oil, but you can skip that completely to make it ol-free.
Ingredients & notes
Please check the recipe card for full ingredient list and measurements
- Poblano peppers- I like to roast poblano peppers. You can roast either in the oven or in an air fryer. It makes a great difference in the texture that is more creamy without any hint of rawness.
- Herb- When it comes to pesto, Basil is the only herb I get worried about as I do not have easy access to it. I made it without basil and use cilantro. You can the easy substitutes for cilantro in case you do not like its soapy smell.
- Garlic- It gives a nice aromatic aroma and flavors. A must have in pesto.
- Walnut- To get the nutty texture, I like to use walnuts. Feel free to use any nuts like cashew, almond.
- Oil- This pesto is almost oil-free. I just added 1 teaspoon of olive oil for garnishing.
- Lemon juice- For the tanginess, add lemon juice.
- Jalapeno- I add 1-2 jalapeno in pesto to have a little spicy. Adjust the heat.
Variations & substitutes
- Nut-free- To make nut-free pesto, skip adding nuts and substitute with seeds like pumpkin, or sunflower.
- Herb- Substitute it with any of these herbs like, parsley, mint, spinach, or simply use dry basil.
- Poblano substitute- What can you substitute for poblano peppers in this pesto? Bell peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Cubanelle Peppers, are some alternatives if you like to replace poblano.
How to make poblano pesto
Roast poblano peppers in an air fryer
Basically, we are roasting poblanos in an air fryer. This cooks them from the inside and helps further to remove outer skin and seeds. It adds a creamy texture with smoky flavors later on. Let see how to roast poblano in the air fryer.
To begin with, first, wash and clean the peppers. Preheat the air fryer at 400F and transfer them into the basket (pic 1-2). On high-temperature settings set the timer for 15 minutes. Flip them over after every 5 minutes, and roast until you see charred peppers from all the sides (pic 3-4).
Once they are charred (pic5), place them in a glass bowl and cover them for 5 minutes (pic6). It helps to remove the skin easily. After 5 minutes, remove the skin, stems, and seeds (pic7-8).
At the final step, transfer all ingredients to the blender except olive oil (pic9-10). Blend till you get a smooth and creamy texture. Transfer the pesto to the glass container (pic 11-12).
Adjust salt as per taste. Garnish with olive oil and chopped walnut.
Can you roast poblano peppers in the oven?
You can roast them in the oven as well. Place them on a baking sheet pan and roast at 400F/ 200C for 15-20 minutes. You need to char the outer skin from all over. Once it is done, take them out of the oven and place them in a bowl. Cover the lid for 5 min and then remove the skin. Follow the rest of the recipe.
How to roast poblano peppers in the microwave?
If you like to microwave poblano peppers, then remove the stem and seeds. Cut them in half and transfer them into a microwavable container. Microwave for 3-4 minutes at high temperature. Take the container out, cover the lid for 5 min. Peel will come out easily and peppers are ready to use further.
Tips & FAQ's
You can easily freeze poblano peppers. At first, wash, clean, and dry them. Remove stem and seeds. Cut into 1" slices and space them on a sheet. Freeze them for 2-3 hours and then transfer these frozen poblano slices in freezer-friendly bags. Store in the freezer for up to six months.
You can preserve poblano peppers by making pickled poblano, poblano relish, poblano cream sauce, and pesto. Freeze in portions and use after thawing.
You can make pesto without roasting poblano as well. It is creamy, dark green in color, and silky soft when you roast and make pesto. With raw poblano, you will have bright green, smooth, and a bit watery dip.
Roasted poblano is a great addition to elevate the flavors in sandwiches, bruschetta, tacos, nachos platter, and as a salad. They are used in Mexican dishes and enhance the overall flavor profile.
How to serve
What goes well with poblano pesto or what to serve with it? This easy pesto sauce goes well with roasted or grilled vegetables. Drizzle it over guacamole to give a twist or make a salad dressing. Microwave asparagus, Savory Vegetable Pancake With Oats, and Sheet Pan Eggs For Sandwiches are a few of my ways to serve t with.
Smear on bread slices to make sandwiches, make cold pasta, or serve it alongside grilled meat, tofu, and paneer. You can use it to make cold pesto pasta salads as well.
How to store
Pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days easily. Even freezing it for up to a month is fine. Just portion out the sauce in ice trays and freeze. Once frozen keep them in a ziplock and store them.
More Dips/Sauces Recipes
If you like this recipe then check more Dips & condiment recipes from the blog
I made poblano pesto pasta using this roasted poblano sauce.
Roasted poblano pesto (Vegan, GF, DF)
- Blender (To get smooth & creamy texture, I use ninja foodie blender)
- Food Processor (To get coarse paste)
- 2 poblano peppers
- ½ cup cilantro tightly packed
- ¼ cup walnuts any nuts or use seeds to make it nutfree
- 1 jalapeno or adjust as per taste
- 1 lemon 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 garlic pods
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt or adjust as per taste
- To begin with, first, wash and clean the peppers. Preheat the air fryer at 400F and transfer them into the basket. On high-temperature settings set the timer for 15 minutes. Flip them over after every 5 minutes, and roast until you see charred peppers from all the sides.2 poblano peppers
- Once they are charred, place them in a glass bowl and cover them for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the skin, stems, and seeds.2 poblano peppers
- At the final step, transfer all ingredients to the blender except olive oil. Blend till you get a smooth and creamy texture. Adjust salt as per taste. Garnish with olive oil and chopped walnut.2 poblano peppers, ½ cup cilantro, ¼ cup walnuts, 1 jalapeno, 1 lemon, 3 garlic pods, ½ teaspoon salt
- This pesto coming together even without adding olive oil. You can add a little while serving.
- Adjust the heat as per taste.
- Pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days easily. Even freezing it for up to a month is fine. Just portion out the sauce in ice trays and freeze. Once frozen keep them in a ziplock and store them.