Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe (Pesto Rosso)

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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!

Sun dried tomato pesto in a white bowl garnished with two basil leaves.

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 ways to use this pesto is in this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta and this Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken! 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.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (Pesto Rosso):

Ingredients needed to make Sun dried tomato pesto .

INGREDIENT NOTES

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.

Ingredients for sun-dried tomato pesto in the bowl of a food processor.

Step 2: Pulse 3-4 times until ingredients are finely chopped.

Sun dried tomato pesto in the food processor after being blended.

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.

Sun dried tomato pesto in a food processor after being blended and olive oil added.

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.

ā­ļø CONFIDENCE TIP ā­ļø
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

  • Freezing: This pesto can be frozen in an airtight freezer container or zip-top freezer bag for 2-3 months. You can also freeze smaller portions in ice cube trays for 3-4 hours or until frozen. Then, transfer these smaller portions to a zip-top freezer bag.

EASY ADDITIONS

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

Is sun-dried tomato pesto the same as pesto rosso?

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.

What is sun-dried tomato pesto made of?

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.

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Sun dried tomato pesto in a white bowl garnished with two basil leaves.

TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE

Check out all of my kitchen essentials in my Amazon store!

Food Processor: I have had this one for nearly 20 years!!! Still going strong!

Rubber Spatula: For scraping down the sides of the food processor šŸ™‚

Airtight Containers: To store any leftover pesto. You can also use ice cube trays to freeze leftover pesto in small portions.

TRY THESE NEXT…

I hope you love this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Casey Rooney
This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe (also know 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 in to your favorite pasta, use it as a simple topping for chicken or fish, or even a quick dip on a charcuterie board!
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 266 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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)

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

Freezing Instructions:
This pesto can be frozen in an airtight freezer container or zip-top freezer bag for 2-3 months. You can also freeze smaller portions in ice cube trays for 3-4 hours or until frozen. Then, transfer these smaller portions to a zip-top freezer bag.
Nutrition is only an estimate based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator
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Nutrition

Calories: 266kcalCarbohydrates: 9.6gProtein: 10.7gFat: 22.5gSaturated Fat: 6.3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 916mgPotassium: 458mgFiber: 1.7gSugar: 1.5gCalcium: 227mgIron: 1mg
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