With so much incredible flavour, this sun dried tomato pesto is great on everything from pizza to pasta to toast and everything in between.

Also known as red pesto (or pesto rosso), this Italian pesto sauce is a condiment used raw or in cooked recipes.

  • It can be swapped with basil pesto (green pesto) in any recipe.
  • Punchy, rich flavour, full of umami.
  • Quick and easy to make

I can never get enough of this delicious condiment. It’s the same pesto I use in my one pan chicken pesto pasta bake, and can also be used in place of the basil pesto in these pesto chicken calzone, easy salmon pesto pasta, or this chicken basil pesto pasta.

You may also love this Chunky Roasted Tomato Salsa and this Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce.

This recipe has been updated with new information and images.

A marble bowl filled with sun dried tomato pesto.

Ingredients in Tomato Pesto

So here we go, just 6 simple ingredients.

Ingredients for sundried tomato pesto on a marble surface.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Sun-dried tomatoes (very important): You can use the jar type preserved in oil but make sure to drain them first. Here, I’ve used vacuum packed sun dried tomatoes. If you do use those in oil, you can use some or all of the oil in place of the olive oil in this recipe.
  • Garlic: Make sure to use fresh garlic for the best flavour here.
  • Pine nuts: Pine nuts are a classic in pesto but you can use others. Try almonds, cashews or walnuts.
  • Parmesan cheese: It’s best to use parmesan cheese in block form and grate it yourself.
  • Lemon zest: You’ll just need one lemon.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: This adds the perfect flavour and helps to turn the pesto into a paste. Feel free to substitute with some or all of the oil, if you drained your sundried tomatoes.

Additions you can make: Try some jarred red peppers blitzed in for creaminess or some red pepper flakes (dried chilli) for a little spice.

How to make sun dried tomato pesto

This rich in flavour, red pesto sauce is incredibly simple to make.

A collage showing how to make sun dried tomato pesto.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Start by toasting the pine nuts. It’s technically optional but it does add a wonderful extra nuttiness and only takes a few minutes.
  2. Add garlic and drained sun dried tomatoes to a food processor (photo 1) or electric blender and process to roughly chop them.
  3. Add pine nuts, lemon zest and parmesan (photo 2) and blitz again to a fairly chunky consistency. I like mine a little chunky (photo 3).
  4. Now drizzle the oil in until while the processor is running until it’s all thoroughly combined.

You can choose how chunky you want it and even loosen the consistency by adding more oil.

How to use red pesto

There are so many ways to use sundried tomato pesto.

The wonderful thing about this pesto is it can be swapped for basil pesto in any recipe that uses it. It is a slightly ‘drier’ paste than my fresh basil pesto or Celery Leaf Pesto, but you can add a little extra oil and / or a dash of water while mixing until it reaches the desired consistency.


This tomato should be stored in preserving jars in the fridge for up to 2 weeks without opening or 1 week after opening. It can also be frozen – freeze it in ice cube trays, then transfer the solid portions to an airtight container to keep for up to 3 months.

Sun-dried tomato pesto piled onto a spoon.

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A marble bowl filled with sun dried tomato pesto.
5 from 2 ratings
Just 6 ingredients and a food processor are all you need for this easy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto recipe. Also known as pesto rosso, this pesto takes 5 minutes to make and is perfect in dips, through pasta and spread on toast plus much more.


  • 1 cup, packed sundried tomatoes (drained if in oil) (170g / 6oz)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • cup toasted pine nuts (50g / 1.8oz) (notes 1&2)
  • ½ cup parmesan (finely grated lightly packed) (40g / 1.4oz)
  • zest of 1 medium lemon (roughly 2 teaspoons)
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided


  • To toast pine nuts, place them in a dry frying pan. Toast while shaking the pan over medium heat. Remove from pan as soon as they are golden.
  • Place the tomatoes and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
  • Add the pine nuts, parmesan and lemon zest and blitz another 20 seconds or so until incorporated.
  • With the processor on low, drizzle in the olive oil until all incorporated.
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  1. Toasting the pine nuts: Place the pine nuts in a clean saucepan over medium heat. Cook, tossing regularly until you start to see them turning golden.
  2. Nuts: Feel free to use other nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews or macadamias.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.