This homemade sun-dried tomato pesto recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients and will become a household staple! It’s extremely versatile and insanely quick and easy to make! Try it mixed with pasta, stirred into soups, spread on sandwiches and pizzas, or as a topping for grilled chicken, meat or fish! (gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-option)
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe
Rich, luscious, robust pesto packed with sweet, tart sun-dried tomatoes and studded with aromatic fresh basil, sweet roasted red bell peppers, buttery pine nuts (or walnuts) and salty parmesan. Fresh, sweet and savory in flavor, this sun-dried tomato pesto is full of flavor and reminiscent of a chunkier, richer, more flavorsome marinara sauce.
Insanely quick and easy to make, this homemade tomato pesto is the perfect versatile condiment to have on hand in your kitchen! Use it to jazz up pastas, soups and pizza, or spread it on sandwiches and toast! No matter how you use this pesto, I promise you will never go back to store-bought pesto again!
What is sun-dried tomato pesto?
Sun-dried tomato pesto, also known as pesto rosso, is a type of pesto sauce originating in Sicily, an island off of Italy.
Vibrant in color and robust in flavor, tomato pesto traditionally consists of sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, almonds or pine nuts, basil leaves, parmigiana-reggiano and olive oil. Other ingredients such as roasted red peppers, olives and red pepper flakes may be added to enhance the flavor.
Tomato pesto can be used as a sauce, condiment or spread.
How to use sun-dried tomato pesto?
Sun-dried tomato pesto is a delicious, versatile sauce to have on hand and can be used in a multitude of ways!
Ways to use tomato pesto rosso:
- Toss with pasta or veggie noodles. Use pesto as a substitute for plain pesto or tomato sauce with noodles.
- Use as a spread. Spread pesto on crostini, toast or sandwiches. Or, you can mix pesto with mayonnaise or strained Greek yogurt to create a creamy spread.
- Use it as a topping for chicken, steak, fish or shrimp. Add a few dollops of tomato pesto over grilled protein for an elegant touch!
- Add it to eggs. Drizzle a generous amount of pesto on top of eggs for a burst of flavor!
- Drizzle it on vegetables. Take your grilled or roasted vegetables to the next level by drizzling a little bit of pesto on top! Or, you can serve the pesto on the side with raw vegetables and create an easy, elegant crudité platter!
- Add it to chicken and tuna salad. Ditch the mayonnaise and mix tomato pesto into shredded, cooked chicken or flaked, cooked tuna!
- Use pesto as a base for salad dressing. Thin the pesto with more olive oil and puree to create a unique, homemade tomato vinaigrette!
- Add pesto to pizza. Swap out tomato sauce for pesto on pizzas and flatbreads.
- Stir pesto into soups. Add a dollop of pesto to soup and stir it through to add another layer of flavor. (It’s delicious added to Minestrone soup!)
- Use it as a dipping sauce. Swap out marinara, flavored olive oils and balsamic for pesto and use it to dip breadsticks, crusty artisan breads, cauliflower breadsticks, cheese sticks and puff pastry twists!
Is sun-dried tomato pesto vegan?
While pesto is naturally vegetarian, it is not vegan as it contains parmesan cheese. To make vegan tomato pesto, omit the parmesan and replace it with a vegan alternative.
Is sun-dried tomato gluten-free?
Yes, tomato pesto is gluten-free. If you are using the pesto as a pasta sauce, make sure you use gluten-free pasta!
How to make homemade sun-dried tomato pesto?
Sun-dried tomato pesto is easy to make and requires minimal prep! If you have toasted nuts on hand, this sauce is no-cook and can be ready in less than 5 minutes!
- Toast the nuts. Add raw nuts to a small skillet. Place the skillet over medium-low heat and toast until fragrant and golden around the edges, about 4-6 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and transfer nuts to the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse the ingredients together. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, cheese, red peppers, basil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the food processor bowl. Pulse the ingredients until they are finely chopped and uniform in size, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add in the oil. Add ¼ cup of oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse until the ingredients are minced. With the processor running, add olive oil to create a smooth, yet chunky pesto. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
How to store sun-dried tomato pesto?
Tomato pesto should be stored in a sealed, air-tight container in the refrigerator. Make sure you return the pesto to room-temperature and give it a good stir before using.
How long does sun-dried tomato pesto last?
Properly stored, sun-dried tomato pesto will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure you give the pesto a good stir before using!
Can you freeze sun-dried tomato pesto?
Sun-dried tomato pesto is ideal for freezing!
Store pesto in a freezer-safe, zip-closure bag for up to 3 months.
Pro-tip: To have small, manageable portions of pesto on hand, use an ice cube tray! Pour pesto into ice cube tray molds and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Once completely frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Next time you need pesto, grab as many cubes as needed, defrost and use!
Fresher, cheaper and a million times better tasting than any store-bought brand, this easy homemade sun-dried tomato pesto recipe is the perfect way to elevate any dish! Plus, it’s perfect for gifting if there is a foodie in your life! No matter what you do with this multi-tasking sauce, I know you will be hooked after just one bite!
Until next week, friends, cheers – to versatile pesto!
The best Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe👇
- 1 (8.5 ounce) Jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes packed in oil – tomatoes removed from oil & oil reserved (SEE NOTE
- 2 Cloves Garlic – peeled
- 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ Cup Roasted Red Pepper Quarters from jar (about 2 quarters)
- ¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leave – packed
- ¼ Cup Pine Nuts or Walnuts
- ¼ heaping tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- ¼ - 1/3 Cup Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (SEE NOTE)
Toast the nuts: Add the raw nuts to a small skillet. Place skillet over medium-low heat and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant and slightly golden around the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer the toasted nuts to the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse ingredients: To the bowl of the food processor, add the tomatoes (not the oil), garlic, cheese, red peppers, basil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Pulse until finely chopped and uniform in size, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add oil: Add ¼ cup of oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse until ingredients are minced. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, stream in enough olive oil until the mixture has a slightly smooth, but still chunky, pesto-like consistency. Taste and adjust pesto for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- The amount of oil from your sun-dried tomato jar will depend on the brand you use. If you don’t have ¼ cup of sun-dried tomato oil, simply substitute more olive oil.
- The exact amount of extra virgin olive oil needed in the pesto will depend entirely upon how thick or thin you like your pesto. I used a TOTAL of a scant 2/3 cup oil. (Total oil included both sun-dried tomato oil AND olive oil)
- Pesto can be used right away or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Alternatively, pesto can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Vegan Option: Omit parmesan cheese and use vegan substitute.
Nutritional Information is a rough estimate. Exact values will depend upon brands and measurements used.
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