Our sun-dried tomato pesto is a quick, yet delicious recipe for a rich, nutty, flavourful pesto that you can use as a spread, dip, or condiment for a quick pasta dish.
You can make it with most blenders, and a few pantry ingredients. We even keep it dairy-free so that most people can enjoy it. This red pesto is a must-try!
To learn more on this topic, check out our guide on how to make vegan pesto + 9 pesto recipes.
In the plant-based world, sun-dried tomatoes are one of the most flavor-dense ingredients of all.
Drying tomatoes in the sun makes them concentrate of umami and taste. And that's why sun-dried tomato pesto is one of the tastiest spread/sauces you'll ever taste, despite the fact that is made with a few simple ingredients. And without parmesan cheese.
We keep this sun-dried tomato pesto recipe super simple so that you can do it with pantry ingredients. However, don't feel that you have to follow this recipe to the letter.
Feel free to change it up and add fresh herbs. Try fresh basil leaves, spinach, or arugula. To add some spice, use a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Also, we like to keep our sun-dried tomato pesto thick and creamy. That's because we often use it as a spread in sandwiches, flatbread, or on toasted bread. If you want a thinner pesto, for instance, to drizzle on roasted vegetables, or to use as a pasta salad dressing, then add more water, until you reach your desired consistency.
Finally, although pesto is traditionally done with mortar and pestle, sun-dried tomato pesto recipes have to be done with a food processor.
Sun-dried tomatoes: we recommend sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil for this recipe. The dry sundried tomatoes are hard to blend and make the pesto less creamy.
Garlic: it's a key ingredient in any pesto. We add a small clove to make the pesto kid-friendly. You can add as many garlic cloves as you like.
Walnuts: they are just the perfect combination with sun-dried tomatoes and they replace the parmesan cheese perfectly in this recipe. You can replace walnuts with macadamia nuts and almonds. Also, if you want to give this recipe an Italian touch, you can include 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. They are optional, but they are always welcome in a good pesto sauce.
Nutritional Yeast: if you haven't tried nutritional yeast yet, this pesto is the perfect recipe to do so. Nutritional yeast adds a mild cheesy flavor and it is especially suited for pestos.
Olive oil: you can use regular olive oil or extra virgin olive oil. Truth be told, you won't be able to tell the difference in flavor since the sun-dried tomatoes here have a dominant taste.
Water: To make the pesto a little thinner and lighter.
Salt and pepper: a pinch of salt is required. Black pepper or red pepper flakes are optional.
To a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients for the pesto: sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, water, olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and garlic.
TIP: if your blender is not the most powerful, then cut the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces before adding them to the blender.
Blend until you reach a pesto consistency. Depending on how dry your sun-dried tomatoes are you might need to add more water until you reach your desired consistency.
If you use the pesto as a spread (sandwiches, flatbreads, toasted bread, wraps) then keep it thicker. If you use it as a sauce or dressing (pasta, salads, drizzled on veggies) then make it thinner.
Be flexible with the ingredients. The quantities of oil and water you see below in the recipe box are just an indication. Depending on how dry your sun-dried tomatoes are, you might need to add more or less oil and water.
For example, we make this pesto with sun-dried tomatoes that are quite soft because they are stored in oil, so we don't need to add a lot of oil and water to turn them into a pesto.
But if your tomatoes are completely dry, then you might need to double or triple the quantity of water and oil in this recipe.
Make it herby: if you'd like to add fresh herbs such as parsley or basil, or greens such as arugula or spinach, then do it at the end. Blend the other ingredients first, then add the herbs or greens and pulse till they are fully incorporated.
For more variations, check out our in-depth guide on how to make vegan pesto, or check our selection here:
- Arugula pesto: a healthy and green sauce that works well in potato salad
- Artichoke pesto: a 5-min creamy and mild sauce that is a perfect pasta condiment
- Chestnut pesto is perfect for fall and winter and pairs well with spaghetti and roasted mushrooms - super creamy and cozy
- Red pepper pesto is a spreadable pesto that pairs wonderfully with grilled veggies in a focaccia sandwich, one of our favorite quick lunch ideas
- Parsley pesto is perfect as a drizzle on air fried and roasted veggies, for example with asparagus and Brussel sprouts
- Zucchini pesto is a fresh summer pesto. It's a perfect condiment for grill season and BBQ to drizzle on basically anything
What is your favorite variation of pesto? Let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you!
Store this vegan sun-dried tomato pesto in an air-tight container such as a small mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This pesto is suitable for freezing. You can put it in a jar or in ice cube trays and freeze it for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
For more condiment ideas, check out our dressing and sauces category page.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- Food processor or blender
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- ¾ cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoon water (add more for thinner pesto)
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 twists pepper (or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes)
- To a blender, add all the ingredients for the pesto: sun-dried tomatoes, water, walnuts, olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and garlic.TIP: If your tomatoes are in oil, drain the oil first.TIP: if your blender is not very powerful, cut the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces before adding them.
- Blend until you reach a pesto consistency. Depending on how dry your sun-dried tomatoes are, you might need to add more water, until you reach the desired pesto consistency.
- Serve on flatbreads, toast, bread, pasta, or as a dip.Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.