Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (Red Pesto)



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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.

From a quick search on the blog, you’ll be able to tell I’m a big pesto fan. I love pesto on pasta, pizza and just about everything in between.

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!

Glass jar on a wood cutting board full of sun-dried tomato pesto. The pesto has a white spoon stuck in it, and garnished with a fresh basil leaf.

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

Food processor with the ingredients to make sun-dried tomato pesto-- basil, cashews, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan and 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.

Bird's eye view of a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto topped with a sprig of fresh basil.

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.

Hand holding a slice of bread spread with sun-dried tomato pesto. The bread has a bite taken out of it. There is a jar and spoon full of sun-dried tomato pesto.

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:

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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

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.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 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.


To make this pesto vegan, you can use 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast instead of the fresh Parmesan.


Serving: 1/10 of recipe | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 330mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sun-dried tomato pesto
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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  1. Will this recipe work by substituting nutritional yeast for the Parmesan. If so, what would the substitution look like?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Elizabeth! I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would. I would start with subbing the parmesan 1:1 with the nutritional yeast and adding more if you prefer. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!!

  2. I dried my own tomatoes. Shall I just use some of these and extra oil since I’m not using the store bought ones?