Sun Dried Tomato Pesto also called Pesto Rosso is a Sicilian Variation of the Traditional Basil Pesto. It has a deep, sweet, and tangy flavor and is very versatile. Made using a handful of ingredients, this pesto comes together in just 5 minutes.
What is Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto?
Love tomatoes? Love basil? Then, you are in for a treat with this amazing Sun Dried Tomato Pesto or Pesto Rosso recipe, which is a fun twist to your traditional Basil Pesto.
Rich red in color and a little tangy, this tomato pesto is addictive, flavorful, and super versatile.
This Pesto Rosso comes to my rescue on days when I come back home tired from work or it’s a school night and I have no time to put together a meal. So I just toss my favorite Pasta, Roasted Vegetables, or Roasted/ Grilled Chicken in this delicious pesto and a delicious meal is ready.
You can pre-make this Pesto over the weekend and use it as and when you need it. It will save you the time to go and buy it from a grocery store and is any day better and healthier than store-bought ones.
This Tomato Pesto is,
- Vibrantly colored
- Easy + Quick
- Can be made Vegan (Skip adding Parmesan cheese or add Vegan Cheese)
- Can be halved, doubled or tripled
Sun-Dried Tomatoes – You can either make sun-dried tomatoes at home or get them from the store.
You can use either Dry or Oil Packed Tomatoes. If using dry tomatoes, you will need more oil while blending and if using the ones dipped in oil, you should use lesser oil.
Find the dry sun-dried tomatoes in the produce section and the oil-packed ones in the aisle which have canned vegetables. Also, try to pick the tomatoes which do not have anything else added. If using the ones with garlic and herbs added to it, reduce the amount of these two ingredients while blending the pesto.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Oil adds great texture to the pesto along with a nice flavor. Make sure you use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil, to get that authentic taste.
Parmesan Cheese – Use grated parmesan cheese, which adds to the taste as well as texture. If you want it to be vegan, you can use nutritional yeast instead.
Almonds – Roast the almonds before adding in the Pesto. While roasting, make sure you roast on low heat, otherwise, there are chances that the almonds will get burnt.
You can even use pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios instead of almonds for this recipe. A mix of nuts will also work great.
Basil Leaves – Basil Leaves are a must which adds a delicious taste. While selecting basil leaves, check out for the fresh ones as they are very aromatic and adds a delicious flavor. Do not opt for wilted ones.
Other than basil, you can use other greens like mint, parsley, spinach, arugula, cilantro, or kale.
Rosemary – Another herb that plays an important role in this Pesto is fresh Rosemary. This is optional but adds a great taste.
Others – You will also need garlic, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Garlic is a must in Italian recipes, as it delivers that authentic taste.
You can adjust the amount of red chilli flakes as per your taste.
How to make Sun Dried Tomato Pesto?
Add all the ingredients in blender and blend until slightly coarse paste is made.
Transfer the pesto in a clean glass jar. Refrigerate for 5-6 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to make a vegan version of this pesto, skip the parmesan cheese.
It will still taste delicious. You can choose to use 2-3 tbsp of nutritional yeast if you prefer, although without it also the pesto tastes delicious.
You can choose to sun-dried plum tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, Roma tomatoes or whichever variety is easily available.
I sundry cherry tomatoes cut into half or the regular tomatoes cut into slices. Check out this post on how to sun dry tomatoes at home.
Skip the nuts to make a nut-free tomato pesto. You will hardly feel any difference and the pesto still tastes very delicious.
If you don’t have basil available, go ahead and make it without basil. You can add rocket leaves or celery or parsley instead if you like.
You can use pine nuts, pistachios or walnuts instead of Almonds.
You can go for other greens instead of basil such as mint, parsley, cilantro, kale, spinach, arugula etc.
Add some extra flavour by adding oil cured olives, artichokes, roasted eggplant, avocado or roasted red bell peppers too.
You can even add some lemon juice, a splash of white wine, or balsamic vinegar for slight tanginess along with a refreshing flavor.
This is a very versatile sauce and tastes good with almost everything. So don your creative cap and use this sauce.
I like to use it as a spread for pizza, flatbreads, bruschetta, or crusty Italian bread topped with some feta or goat cheese.
It makes an awesome pasta sauce. Use any pasta like penne, spaghetti org You can thin down the sauce with some cooking water. If you want to make a creamy sauce, add some heavy cream to it.
Serve it as dip with crackers or pita chips.
Mix a little in Hummus or Baba Ganoush for a tomatoy kick.
Roasted Cauliflower topped with Pesto Rosso tastes amazing.
Slather it while making Grilled Cheese, Panini or Sandwiches.
Serve it on the side with roasted chicken or sea food.
To store it, transfer it to a glass container and keep it refrigerated for up to 5-6 days.
You can even freeze it in freezer-safe containers and freeze up to 3 months.
When you keep it in the fridge for a few hours, the oil will solidify. Before using, thaw it on the counter for a few hours to let it come to room temperature.
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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe
- 2 cups Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 3-4 cloves Garlic
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Roasted almonds
- 1 cup Basil Leaves (Packed)
- 1 tbsp Rosemary (Chopped)
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp Freshly Cracked Black pepper
- ½ tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until a slightly coarse paste is made. You can use a food processor too.
- Transfer the pesto to a clean glass jar.
- Refrigerate for 5-6 days.