Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (Red Pesto)
Published Aug 19, 2020, Updated May 14, 2021
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This sun-dried tomato pesto offers a flavorful spin on traditional pesto with sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, basil and seasonings. It’s amazing as a dip, spread or as sauce on pasta and pizza.
That said, it wasn’t until a year or so ago that I learned about red pesto (or pesto rosso) from friends of mine who were raving about the red pesto from Lidl. I tried it on pasta at my friend’s house and can attest to the fact that it’s delicious.
Unfortunately, the red pesto is hard to find at Lidl stores now (one version was discontinued and the other version was recently recalled due to hidden peanuts). Given the situation, my friends requested that I take stab at recreating the pesto rosso for them… so that’s where this recipe came from!
If you’ve been reading EBF for a while, you’ll know that I’m always up for a recreation challenge and I loved the idea of creating this fun twist on traditional pesto with sun-dried tomatoes. I used the ingredient list for Lidl’s red pesto as a guide and came up with this recipe!
Red Pesto Ingredients:
- sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
- tomato sauce
- raw cashews
- grated parmesan (for a vegan option, you can use nutritional yeast instead)
- fresh basil
- balsamic vinegar
- sea salt
- garlic powder
- garlic cloves
- additional olive oil
What is Red Pesto?
Pesto rosso, which is also called red pesto or Pesto alla siciliana is a sauce from Sicily that’s similar to pesto alla genovese (classic basil pesto). With pesto rosso, there’s less basil and tomatoes are added, which makes the sauce red. In addition, almonds are typically used instead of pine nuts. For this version I’m using cashews because that’s what the Lidl pesto rosso uses as well.
How to Make It
Red pesto is just as easy to make as regular basil pesto, which is one of the reasons I love it!
For this version, you simply add all of your ingredients into a food processor and process until combined. You’ll add the oil that the sun-dried tomatoes are packed in as well.
The end result is a chunky, thick pesto that’s perfect as a dip or spread. If you like a thinner pesto (or are planning to use this on pasta) you can add additional oil until it’s thinner.
How to Use Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Just like with fresh basil pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto can be used in so many ways!
- Dip – Get your veggies in by dipping them in this delicious pesto! I love making a veggie board with a variety of sauces and this red pesto will certainly be making an appearance on my next veggie tray.
- Spread – Spread sun-dried tomato pesto on toast or crackers and top with ingredients of your choice! I love it with avocado and soft boiled or scrambled eggs, but the options are endless.
- Marinade – Yep, you can use this as a marinade with the protein of your choice and it’s absolutely delicious! Simply coat your protein and let marinate for at least an hour (I like to marinate overnight). So far, I’ve used it on chicken and salmon.
- Sauce – Substitute traditional marinara sauce or basil pesto for this sun-dried tomato pesto and use it on pasta or pizza! I prefer my pasta sauce to be a little thinner so I typically add a little extra olive oil when using it for pasta.
How to Store Red Pesto
Store sun-dried tomato pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. You can also freeze this red pesto! I’ve seen people freeze it in ice cub trays or muffin tins so they have individual portions they can use. You can also freeze the whole batch and thaw when you’re ready to use.
More Pesto Recipes to Try:
- Almond Pesto Dip
- Pesto Salmon Bowl
- Naan Pizza with Butternut Squash and Pesto
- Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
- Pesto Spaghetti Squash Salad
If you make this sun-dried tomato pesto be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting us know how it turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and our readers!
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- 1 8.5 oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, parmesan works too*
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cloves garlic
- additional 1/4 cup olive oil, optional
- Add all ingredients (including oil from the sun-dried tomatoes) into a food processor and process until combined.
- If you're using this as a dip, spread or marinade you don't need to add the additional oil. To use as a sauce for pasta, you might find that thinning the pesto with the additional oil is helpful.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.