Easy Pesto Rosso Recipe (Sun Dried Tomato Pesto)

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (Pesto Rosso) is a delicious pasta sauce. Or, try it tossed with gnocchi, spread on crostini, or dolloped on chicken breasts, steak or pork. This easy recipe is made with just a handful of simple ingredients in 5 minutes!

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Sun dried tomato pesto in small white bowl with spoon.

This summer I shared with you a post on how to make homemade sun dried tomatoes. And while you don’t need to make your own to make this recipe, I’ve had lots on my hands, so I’ve been brainstorming more and more recipes on what to do with a jar of sun dried tomatoes.

The first recipe I shared was for this Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta. And today I’m back with another recipe for sun-dried tomato pesto, that can be swirled into a bowl of warm pasta, or put to use in so many other ways.

I’ve always been a huge fan of homemade pesto.

From Kale Pesto to Broccoli Pesto to Arugula Pesto, I’ll take it in any form it comes.

But I have to say that this Pesto Rosso may be one of my all time favorites.

What is Pesto Rosso?

  • Pesto Rosso, Italian for “Red Pesto” is a variety of pesto made with sun dried tomatoes to give it that beautiful red color and a sweet & tangy flavor that’s filled with umami.

Ingredients needed

  • Sun Dried Tomatoes – Dry-packed or oil-packed. Or, try making your own!
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Pine Nuts – Or, substitute walnuts or almonds.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Using a high-quality olive oil is preferred here.
  • Parmesan – Or, pecorino romano. For a dairy-free version, try adding in some nutritional yeast.
  • Lemon Juice – Adds a nice tang to the finished pesto.
  • Salt

Note: You can use dry-packed or oil-packed sun dried tomatoes in this recipe. However, you will need to add additional olive oil when working with dry-packed tomatoes.

How to make it

  • Simply add all of the ingredients (except olive oil and parmesan) to a food processor or high powered blender. Pulse to finely chop the ingredients, then stream in the olive oil. Add the parmesan cheese and pulses a few more times to combine and serve.
Ingredients for tomato pesto in food processor.

Recipe variations

  • Swap out the basil leaves for another fresh green like arugula, parsley or spinach.
  • Add in other flavors like kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, or roasted red peppers.
  • Substitute walnuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios for the pine nuts.
  • Swap out the lemon juice for another acid like balsamic vinegar, red wine, white or apple cider vinegar. Or, for even more lemon flavor, add in some lemon zest.
  • For a vegan pesto, try swapping in nutritional yeast for the parmesan.
  • For a spicy version, add in a pinch of red pepper flakes.


Does Pesto Contain Nuts?

This red pesto recipe does contain pine nuts. If you have a nut allergy, you can leave them out.

How Long Does Pesto Last?

Leftover pesto will keep in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container for up to five days. If you would like to store it for longer, it can be frozen for up to three months.

How to freeze it

I like to make a double batch and freeze my basil pesto in ice cube trays. Once frozen, I pop the cubes into a ziploc bag. The smaller portions thaw quicker in the fridge, and are super convenient.

Close up of sun dried tomato pesto tossed with pasta and topped with burrata cheese.

Uses for Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

  • Use it to dress up a turkey sandwich.
  • Stir it into hummus or homemade ranch for a delicious dip.
  • Drizzle it over some grilled chicken skewers or shrimp skewers.
  • Toss this delicious sauce with a bowl of freshly cooked gnocchi, pasta or zucchini noodles for a sun-dried tomato pesto pasta.
  • Combine it with some olive oil and red wine vinegar (or lemon juice) for an amazing salad dressing. Or, toss it with cold pasta and veggies to make a pasta salad.
  • Use it as a dip for grilled or roasted vegetables.
  • More → 30+ Ways to Use Pesto!

I tossed pasta with my the sundried tomato pesto and served it up with some burrata cheese – absolutely delicious!

Wine pairings

Sun dried pesto tossed with pasta and served in grey bowl with burrata cheese.

More pasta recipes

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Did you try this pesto rosso recipe?

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Love sun dried tomatoes? Check out these 40+ Sun Dried Tomato Recipes!

Sun dried tomato pesto in small white bowl with spoon.

Pesto Rosso (Sun Dried Tomato Pesto)

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (Pesto Rosso) is delicious tossed with pasta or gnocchi, spread on crostini, or dolloped on chicken, steak or pork. Made with just a handful of simple ingredients in 5 minutes! 
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people



  • Combine sun dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt, basil and pine nuts in a food processor, and process until finely chopped.
  • With the machine running, drizzle in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the parmesan and lemon juice and pulse a few times to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer.


*When using dry packed sun dried tomatoes, you will need to use additional olive oil to reach your desired consistency.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Food processor


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 329mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 276IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1mg

4 thoughts on “Easy Pesto Rosso Recipe (Sun Dried Tomato Pesto)”

  1. 5 stars
    Just made this for dinner and it is a HUGE hit! My 6 year-old daughter instructed me to leave you a comment immediately telling you as much. We used green pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts because my husband had a tree nut allergy, and it still came out great. Super easy and delicious!

5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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