This Sun Dried Tomato Pesto recipe (also called red pesto sauce and Pesto Rosso) is one of my favorites! It’s made with sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, kalamata olives, garlic, parmesan cheese and extra-virgin olive oil, and it comes together in a pinch!

A white bowl filled with red pesto. Two spoons sit in the red pesto sauce with pieces of bread sit next to the bow.

If you have never had pesto rosso (sun dried tomato pesto) before, you are in for a real treat! It’s quick and easy to make and it’s completely habit forming! Slather some on warm crusty bread and you’ll be hooked for good!

Small glass measuring bowls filled with sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, fresh basil and kalamata olives

What Is Sun Dried Tomato Pesto?

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto is made with sun dried tomatoes, which are tomatoes that have been dehydrated by being placed in the sun, a dehydrator or they are slow roasted in the oven to achieve a dehydrated state. They are chewy with a slightly salty sweet and concentrated tomato flavor and they make an amazing tasting pesto.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe

The ingredients for this red pesto sauce are few and you might have most of them on hand in your pantry.

  • Sun dried tomatoes. I use Homemade Sun Dried Tomatoes for this recipe, but you can also used sun dried tomatoes in oil. Just drain them before adding to the food processor. I recommend using sun dried tomatoes packed in oil. If using sun dried tomatoes in oil you can put them right in the food processor or blender, but if you’re using dry-packed sun dried tomatoes, you’ll need to rehydrate them in warm water for about 30 minutes before blending them.
  • Fresh Basil. The sun dried tomato and basil combo of flavors makes the flavor of this pesto amazing!
  • Parmesan Cheese. This adds a lot of flavor and creaminess to the pesto. Use a good quality Parma cheese.
  • Kalamata Olives.  Kalamata makes almost everything taste better. We only add a few here to add a nice complimenting flavor, not to steal the show.
  • Garlic.  What would pesto be without garlic! It adds great flavor!!
  • Extra-virgin olive oil. Use a good quality and affordable extra-virgin olive oil for this pesto.

Find printable recipe with measurements below.


  • Add 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts

How to Make Red Pesto Sauce?

This red pesto sauce recipe comes together in about 10 minutes with little cleanup afterward.

  1. Grate Cheese. Finely grate the Parmesan cheese.  I use a fine grater typically used for Parmesan cheese, rather than a box grater, so there are no larger pieces of cheese that might remain in the pesto.
  2. Chop Garlic and Olives. Coarsely chop the garlic and olives before adding them to the food processor or blender.
  3. Sun Dried Tomatoes.  Add the sun dried tomatoes to a food processor or blender. 
  4. Add Olive Oil and Cheese. While processor is still running, pour olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Turn the processor off and remove the lid to add your cheese.  Pulse a few times to incorporate the cheese into the pesto.

A whit bowl filled with sun dried tomato pesto (red pesto sauce). A spoon sits in the bowl and crusty bread sits next to the bowl.

How Do You Store Sun Dried Tomato Pesto?

Store sun dried tomato pesto in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To prevent it from browning, drizzle about 1-1/2 teaspoons of olive oil over the top of the pesto.

Can You Freeze Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce?

Sun dried tomato pesto freezes well. To freeze it, make the pesto according to the recipe, then spoon the pesto into ice cube trays and freeze for 3 – 4 hours or until frozen solid. Transfer the frozen cubes from the trays to a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw the frozen pesto cubes, transfer the desired amount from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw over 2-3 hours.

A white bowl filled with red pesto (pesto rosso). A spoon filled with pesto sits in the bowl.

12 Ways To Serve Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

I love to keep a batch of homemade pesto rosso (red pesto sauce) on hand because there are so many ways to use it to brighten up any dish. This Sun Dried Tomato Pesto goes with any dish you’d serve traditional basil pesto with, but I especially love to swirl it into soups and to slather it on warm crusty bread.

  1. Swirl into soups like this French Potage and this Soupe au Pistou
  2. Use it as a dip for warm crusty bread
  3. Serve it as a sauce with grilled chicken or fish
  4. Swirl into eggs (fried or scrambled)
  5. Slather on bread as a sandwich spread (great for paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches). This works great for wraps too!
  6. Add a spoonful to protein bowls.
  7. Toss with pasta or zucchini noodles like this Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Chicken
  8. Add to basic vinaigrette for a delicious salad dressing like I did with this Basil Pesto Chicken Salad
  9. Swap out the basil pesto to toss with cauliflower rice like I did with this amazing Pesto Cauliflower Rice
  10. Swirl into soups like this French Potage and this Soupe au Pistou
  11. Drizzle on roasted vegetables like I did with this Basil Pesto Broccoli
  12. Add Sun Dried Tomato Pesto to potato salad instead of mayo like I did with this Arugula Pesto Potato Sala

Red Pesto Vs Green Pesto

The primary difference between red pesto and green pesto is the main ingredient that is used to prepare each of them. Pesto Rosso (which means “red pesto” in Italian) originated in Sicily, Italy and uses sun dried tomatoes as the main ingredient. Whereas traditional green pesto originated in Genoa, Italy and uses fresh basil as the main ingredient. 

What Does Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Taste Like?

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto is slightly sweet and salty with a robust concentrated tomato flavor. It can be used in all the ways that traditional basil pesto is used.

Looking For More Pesto Recipes?

If you love this pesto rosso recipe, you might want to also try my Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. It’s delish on simple green salads and Mediterranean salads alike. 

White bowl filled with sun-dried tomato pesto
Yield: 6 servings

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

This Sun Dried Tomato Pesto recipe (also called red pesto recipe and Pesto Rosso) is one of my favorites! You'll love how easy this sun-dried tomato pesto comes together! It's made with sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, kalamata olives, garlic, parmesan cheese and extra-virgin olive oil. 


  • 1 cup Sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil or homemade
  • 1-2 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Add sun dried tomatoes, garlic, Parmesan cheese, kalamata olives, basil and 1/4 of the oil in a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse a few times to break up the tomatoes and other ingredients. Remove the lid and scrape down the processor bowl.
  3. With motor running on low, slowly pour the rest of the olive oil through the feed on the processor and blend for about 30 seconds or until the ingredients are processed well. Don't over process so it becomes a puree.
  4. Place pesto in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


How to Store Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Store pesto in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It helps to drizzle about 1-1/2 teaspoons of olive oil on the top of the pesto to prevent it from browning. 

How to Freeze It

Yes! I love to freeze pesto and it’s so easy to do! 

  • Just make pesto according to recipe
  • Spoon the pesto into ice cube trays
  • Place the ice cube trays freezer for 3-4 hours or until frozen solid
  • Remove the frozen basil pesto cubes from the trays and place in a plastic freezer bag
  • Place the bag in the freezer
  • Store in the freezer for up to 3 months

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 344Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g attempts to provide accurate information, however, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations. See full disclaimer on About page.