This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe (also known as “Pesto Rosso”) combines the traditional pesto flavors of basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese with the sweet and savory flavor of sun dried tomatoes. Stir it into your favorite pasta, use it as a simple topping for chicken or fish, or even a quick dip on a charcuterie board!
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As much as I love traditional basil pesto (try this version with a bit of arugula!), there is something special about a pesto made with sun-dried tomatoes. The sun-dried tomatoes are both sweet and savory and combined with Parmesan cheese and basil, it’s a delicious, fresh take on traditional pesto.
Make a batch or two of this sun-dried tomato pesto and an easy dinner is never far away! My favorite way to use this pesto is in this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta! You can also stir it into cold pasta dishes (like pasta salad), use it as a spread for sandwiches, a topping for grilled chicken and so much more!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Easy recipe that takes just minutes to make!
- So many different uses from a dip, to pasta dishes to a topping to chicken and fish!
- Great make-ahead recipe–pesto can be frozen and used as needed.
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (Pesto Rosso):
Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Jarred sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil work best. You can find them in the grocery store near the pasta sauce or canned tomatoes.
HOW TO MAKE SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that the full recipe with the exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: In a food processor, add sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, honey, and salt.
Step 2: Pulse 3-4 times until ingredients are finely chopped.
Step 3: With the food processor running, add olive oil and blend 10-15 seconds more until everything is well-combined. Taste. Season with a pinch of salt, if needed.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- For quick and easy dinners, make a double batch freeze. Use the pesto sauce to stir into pasta or use it to top chicken, fish, or roasted vegetables.
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil makes a big difference and can add so much good flavor to your homemade pesto.
⭐️ CONFIDENCE TIP ⭐️
Different types of jarred sun-dried tomatoes have varying amounts of added salt. That’s why it’s super important to TASTE your pesto at the end and add a pinch of salt, ONLY if needed.
HOW TO STORE
- Storage: Store leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days.
Here are few additions you can try:
- Nuts: Many sun-dried tomato pesto recipes include nuts. While it’s not my personal preference, toasted pine nuts, almonds or walnuts can all be great additions!
- Arugula: A small handful of arugula in place of some of the basil gives a nice peppery flavor!
- Rosemary: Rosemary is often an ingredient in traditional Pesto Rosso and adds a nice flavor, but use sparingly.
- Red Pepper Flakes/Chili Flakes: Adding a pinch of pepper flakes is a great way to add a little heat!
HOW TO USE SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta: Stir into cooked pasta with a little heavy cream… YUM!!!
- Pasta Salad: Makes a great “dressing” for cold pasta, too!
- Chicken: Spoon it on top of baked or grilled chicken!
- Sandwich Spread
- Charcuterie Board “Dip”
- Pizza Sauce
- Stir into scrambled eggs
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Traditional Italian pesto rosso is made in a very similar way and has many variations. Most “traditional” recipes include toasted almonds and a little balsamic vinegar. I have also seen recipes that use roasted red bell peppers and fresh tomatoes.
This sun-dried tomato pesto is made with sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and a touch of honey.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- 1 8.5 oz. jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese fresh Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano works best
- 2-3 large garlic cloves
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- In a food processor, add sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, honey, salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if using). Pulse 3-4 times until ingredients are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the food processor.
- With the food processor running, add olive oil and blend 10-15 seconds more until everything is well-combined. Taste. Season with a bit more salt, if needed. If the pesto seems too thick, add a bit more oil and blend until you reach your desired consistency.
- Store sun-dried tomato pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days. See freezing instructions below.