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Easy Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

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Sun-dried tomato pesto is a unique spin on a classic favorite. Sweet and tangy sun-dried tomatoes create a delicious twist that will transform everything from your favorite pasta to elevated sandwiches and homemade pizza!

The earthy goodness of fresh basil, a hint of garlic and a handful of pine nuts combine with tart sundried tomatoes to create a flavor-packed red pesto sauce that has so many uses. 

Dipping a chip into a bowl of sun dried tomato pesto.

Sundried tomato pesto, just like our traditional basil pesto recipe, is one of those simple sauces that can jazz up just about anything.

It’s delicious served on polenta points  or as a dip for crackers if you’re looking for a simple yet impressive appetizer. You can spread it onto an Italian pressed sandwich or a toasted piece of rosemary bread. Add it to your favorite pasta recipe for a unique flavor profile.

Why This Tomato Pesto Recipe Works

A handful of ingredients create a delicious pesto that you’ll love just as much as any traditional pesto recipe. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes give this homemade pesto a bold, robust flavor that is simply mouthwatering. 

Not only is this an easy recipe, but it also might just be the best way to make use of delicious sun dried tomatoes!

Just like regular pesto, our sundried tomato pesto is incredibly versatile. You can enjoy it in so many ways so go ahead and make a double batch for all of your pesto needs!

Here’s why you will love it:

  • This recipe is easy to whip up and will elevate pasta, sandwiches, wraps or a simple slice of toast. 
  • This is a great make-ahead recipe if you like to have fresh pesto on hand.
  • It’s rich, tangy, slightly sweet and perfectly balanced with a touch of fresh basil and cheesy finish from the Parmesan. 
  • This rustic tomato spread is made with whole ingredients and is naturally gluten free.
Sun-dried tomato pesto in a jar.

Ingredients for Pesto with Sun-dried Tomatoes

To make sun dried tomato pesto, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Parmesan cheese. Parmesan is a staple in traditional pesto, and we’re not skipping it here! It adds a rich, salty, cheesy flavor that compliments the sun-dried tomatoes and other aromatics. 
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in oil. You will need one 8-ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Make sure to use tomatoes that are packed in oil.
  • Fresh basil leaves. For an earthy, herb-y flavor any type of pesto needs. 
  • Pine nuts. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts but you can really use any type of nut you choose. 
  • Garlic. A few fresh garlic cloves adds a lovely, savory touch. 
  • Black pepper. Just a couple of pinches of black pepper will help season the pesto perfectly. 
  • Chili flakes. A dash of red chili flakes adds just a little bit of spice to the pesto. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Choose a good quality oil for the best results. It helps turn the pesto into a saucy consistency and adds subtle flavor.

A Simple Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe

Here’s a look at the steps required to make the recipe.

Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card with the full process and ingredient amounts. 

A collage of four photos showing how to make sun-dried tomato pesto.
  1. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, saving the oil for later use.
  2. Grate the cheese in a food processor, then switch to the chopping blade.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until blended.
  4. Gradually drizzle in the reserved tomato oil and additional olive oil if needed.

Recipe Variations

Here are some easy recipes that offer a delicious spin on the original. This is just a sample of how you can transform a few ordinary ingredients into a spread with rich, robust flavors.

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Twist

  • Add a 1/4 cup of chopped roasted red peppers.
  • Substitute pine nuts with walnuts.
  • Add a teaspoon of smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.

Artichoke and Almond Blend

  • Blend in a drained jar of marinated artichoke hearts and replace the pine nuts with almonds.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for a tangy twist.

Tips for the Best Results

  • Since Parmesan cheese is pretty salty on its own, you may not need additional salt. Once the pesto is blended, taste and add salt, if needed. 
  • You can make a vegan pesto by swapping out the Parmesan cheese for plant based Parmesan. Nutritional yeast also adds a cheesy flavor. 
  • Feel free to substitute the pine nuts for your favorite nuts of choice. 
  • I love the dried tomatoes that are packed in oil. They are softer and the oil brings some extra flavor to the table. If you get the kind that are dried and stored in a package, soak them in water for several hours to get them nice and soft. You will also need to add a little more olive oil. 
A jar of sundried tomato pest.

Storing Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

  • Store the sun dried tomato pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. You can also freeze the pesto for up to three months. 
  • If you’d like to freeze the pesto in smaller portions, you can spoon it into ice cube trays which will give you small amounts to thaw and use as you like. 

Serving Suggestions

There are countless ways to use sundried tomato pesto but here are a few of our favorites! 

  • As a delicious dip paired with our sourdough crackers.
  • As a pasta sauce paired with your favorite pasta shape. 
  • Spooned over grilled chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
  • Spread onto a sandwich, wrap or a slice of homemade artisan bread.
  • Served as a spread or dip with homemade focaccia bread.

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Dipping a chip into a dish of sundried tomato pesto.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Our Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto recipe is a delightful twist on the classic favorite. The tangy, sweet flavor of sun-dried tomatoes combines with the earthy goodness of fresh basil, a hint of garlic, and a handful of pine nuts.
All rounded off with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan for that creamy, cheesy finish. This recipe is incredibly easy to whip up and adds an instant gourmet touch to your pasta, sandwiches, or even a simple slice of toast.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 30kcal
Author: Dahn Boquist


  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar 8.5 ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • ½ cup pine nuts or other nut
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ¼ cup or more extra virgin olive oil


  • Drain the oil from the sun dried tomatoes and reserve it for later. 
  • Grate the cheese in a food processor, then switch the blades to the chopping blade. 
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, and garlic to the food processor. Toss in black pepper and chili flakes. Pulse the food processor until everything is well blended. 
  • With the food processor going, drizzle in the reserved oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Check the consistency of the pesto and drizzle in additional olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. 
  • Taste the pesto and add salt or additional chili flakes if desired. 


  • Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Since Parmesan cheese is relatively salty, you may not need to add any salt. Wait until the pesto is blended, then taste it before adding salt. 
  • Use dried tomatoes packed in oil for best results.



Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 43mg

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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