Best Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

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5 from 3 votes

Sun-dried tomato pesto is versatile, and the perfect balance between tanginess and sweetness. Also known as Pesto Rosso, it’s made from sun-dried tomatoes, olives, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. Toss into pasta, spread on a sandwich, serve on a charcuterie board, or on top of meat or fish!

Sun-dried tomato pesto, AKA Pesto Rosso, is very much a winter pesto. The subtly tangy, sweet sun-dried tomatoes add a depth to the traditional basil pesto that you didn’t know you were missing! While classic pesto is primarily made with basil, this pesto only includes a touch of basil for aromatics. It’s a great option when basil isn’t in season, when you don’t want it to be the star of the show! The sun dried tomatoes and olives add deeper, richer flavor that is the perfect addition to so many of your favorite wintery dishes!

Building a Christmas Charcuterie Board? Serve sun-dried tomato pesto with crackers or Crostini. Sick of reaching for mayo or mustard? Spread this pesto on your sandwich! Versatility is this pesto’s middle name. What’s even better? It lasts in the fridge for 4-5 days.

What Is Pesto Rosso?

Sun-dried tomato pesto is also known as Pesto Rosso, or “Red Pesto”, because of its deep red color. The green basil pesto you may first think of when hearing “pesto” traditionally mixes basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, olive oil and salt, resulting in a herbaceous sauce or spread. Pesto Rosso utilizes many of the same ingredients as green basil pesto but with the use of fresh or sun-dried tomatoes. I personally prefer sun-dried tomatoes that add a richer, deeper flavor. A handful of olives adds dimension and a touch of brininess that complements the sun-dried tomatoes.

How To Make Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!

  1. Toast.

    Toast pine nuts for 5 minutes in a 350℉ oven.

  2. Add.

    Add all ingredients: sun-dried tomatoes, green olives, Kalamata olives, Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil, lemon, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and anchovy (optional) into a food processor. Begin with half the amount of olive oil.

  3. Blend.

    Pulse the ingredients to desired smoothness. Add more olive oil as needed.

  4. Serve.

    Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature.

How To Serve Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Sun-dried tomato pesto is so versatile it can be mixed into dishes or even used as a spread or dip! Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve: 

  • Mixed into pasta: use it as a sauce for pasta. My favorite is to mix it into either a spaghetti or a fettuccine for some extra flair. 
  • Charcuterie board: put together a yummy charcuterie board at your next girl’s night with crackers or Crostini, grapes, Brie cheese, Candied Pecans, your favorite cured meats like Prosciutto along with this yummy sun-dried tomato pesto spread. 
  • Sandwich or panini: use it as a burst of flavor for Grilled Cheese, paninis or cold sandwiches like a Caprese Sandwich
  • Gourmet pizza sauce: spread this sun-dried tomato pesto as a tasty alternative to traditional pizza sauce. Add your favorite cheese and toppings, enjoy! 
  • On chicken or fish: use a flavorful topping on chicken or fish. 
  • Stuffed mushrooms: stuff baby bella mushrooms with the sun-dried tomato pesto and serve warm or chilled.

Helpful Tips

  • Use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes are sold in two forms: in oil or dried. Use the sun-dried tomatoes stored in oil for the added flavor and moisture. You can find them at your local grocery store. 
  • Use fresh garlic. If you use jarred garlic from the store, it’ll be less potent and bold of a flavor. Fresh garlic has a robust flavor and no extra time for mincing is required! 
  • Swap cheese. Don’t have Parmigiano-Reggiano or parmesan? Substitute with Pecorino or asiago. 
  • Adjust the amount of olive oil: if you’re looking for a spread, use less olive oil. If you’re looking for a pasta sauce, use more olive oil!

How To Store Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

  • Store: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 
  • Freeze: freeze in an airtight container, for 3 months. When you are ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and make sure to mix thoroughly before use. 

More Tomato Recipes You’ll Love!

Best Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Sun-dried tomato pesto is versatile, and the perfect balance between tanginess and sweetness. Also known as Pesto Rosso, it’s made from sun-dried tomatoes, olives, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. Toss into pasta, spread on a sandwich, serve on a charcuterie board, or on top of meat or fish!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Sauce & Dips
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: fall, winter
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 274kcal
Author: Tastefully Grace


  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil drained and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup pitted green olives preferably frescatrano or castelvetrano olives
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or regular parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup basil packed
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 anchovy fillets optional but recommended


  • Toast pine nuts in the oven at 350℉ for 5 minutes.
  • Add all tapenade ingredients to a food processor, starting with half the olive oil. Blend to desired smoothness. Add the rest of the olive oil if needed. I like my tapenade almost smooth with a slight bite to it!
  • Serve at room temperature, cold or warm.



  • Mix into pasta, on a charcuterie board, “bruschetta” style, or on a sandwich or panini. More serving suggestions in the blog post above.
  • Makes roughly 1 cup of pesto which is enough for a pound of pasta or 4-6 people on a charcuterie board.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 642mg | Potassium: 438mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 599IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Geneva King
    July 23, 2021 / 10:56 pm

    This recipe is perfection. It’s straightforward and tastes SO GOOD. I used toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts, which is what I do with pesto as well. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Grace!

    • TastefullyGrace
      July 26, 2021 / 12:59 pm

      Hi Geneva!

      Thank you so much for your comment! I am SO happy to hear the recipe turned out well. Keep me posted on other recipes you try!


5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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