This Pesto Rosso Sauce recipe is a delicious Italian condiment that’s easy to make at home with sun-dried tomatoes. Perfect to use as pasta sauce, as a dip or spread on pizza, burgers and bread. It’s dairy-free, vegan and nut-free possible!
The Best Homemade Pesto Rosso Recipe
One of the best things about vegan cooking is that you can substitute many store-bought products with homemade versions. In this recipe I show you how to make your own Pesto Rosso that tastes fantastic is insanely easy to make in just 5 minutes!
To prepare this tasty Sicilian pesto, all you need is a handful of pantry staple ingredients and a food processor or blender. By making this condiment at home, you can adjust the flavor and texture to your liking. Since it’s freezer-friendly, you can whip up a big batch to store in the freezer for the future.
What is Pesto Rosso?
Pesto Rosso, also known as pesto alla siciliana or pesto alla trapanese, is a Sicialian version of pesto genovese from the province of Trapani. Traditional pesto genovese is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt. Pesto Rosso, however, uses sun dried tomatoes in addition to the traditional pesto ingredients.
Like all pestos, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto recipes also vary by region and cuisine. The sauce typically calls for almonds instead of the pine nuts, however, feel free to customize the pesto to suite your taste. You can add vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes to make the sun dried tomato pesto more flavorful. Swap out the pine nuts for almonds or walnuts, or add fresh basil, spinach or arugula. You can also infuse the Italian pesto with other herbs, like rosemary or add some olives or capers for an even deeper flavor.
Either way, the result is a vibrant, rich pesto with a slightly sweet, tangy, savory flavor. Perfect for using in all the ways that you’d use other pestos too.
Dry-packed vs oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
You’ll usually find two types of sun-dried tomatoes at the market: dry-packed and oil-packed. Either can be used for this recipe, however, make sure they don’t have garlic or herbs added. By using the plain version you can control the flavors yourself.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: You can use dry or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes for this Italian pesto recipe.
- Olive oil: If using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, you won’t need extra oil. Otherwise, I recommend using high-quality extra virgin olive oil for best flavor and more nutritional value.
- Pine nuts: Feel free to use other nuts like raw almonds for a more traditional pesto rosso.
- Garlic: you can adjust the quantity to your personal taste. You could also use a combination of raw and roasted garlic for extra depth of flavor.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Alternatively, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar would work in this red pesto.
- Salt & Pepper: to taste.
- Vegan Parmesan: you can make this at home with my homemade recipe or use your favorite cheese alternative from the supermarket. However, you can also add just nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy flavor or omit it entirely.
- Optional: feel free to add some dried or fresh Italian herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme or whatever you love. You can also add some red pepper flakes or chili to make this red pesto more spicy.
As always, I recommend checking out the recipe video and these step-by-step instructions first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Toast pints nuts and blend
First, toast the pine nuts in a pan until golden brown. Allow to cool a bit, then put to a blender or food processor along with the other pesto ingredients and blend into your desired consistency – chunky or smooth. Add more olive oil and seasonings as needed.
Step 2: Serve now or keep for later!
You can serve the pesto rosso immediately with Spaghetti or other pasta and fresh basil or store in the fridge for later. Enjoy!
You can make the sun-dried tomato pesto ahead and store in an airtight container or sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Just make sure the sun-dried tomato pesto is always covered with olive oil or it won’t keep as long. The olive oil may solidify when chilled, but you can scoop it out or bring it back to room temperature before using.
You can also freeze this pesto in a freezer-safe container or in an ice-cube tray for individual portions. Once frozen, transfer the pesto ice cubes to a ziplock bag and store them for up to 3 months in your freezer. Then thaw in the fridge or on the counter whenever you need some homemade pesto.
Not only is vegan sun-dried tomato pesto delicious and easy to make, it’s also very versatile!
- Pesto Sauce: combine the pesto with your favorite vegan pasta, ravioli or gnocchi. Or drizzle it over potatoes, vegetables, quinoa, rice or other grains.
- Spread: serve it as a spread on top of bread, between sandwiches, burgers or wraps.
- Topping: use it as a filling or topping for pizza, casseroles, quesadillas or puff pastry straws.
- Dips: use it to refine your favorite dips like hummus, baba ganoush, guacamole or cashew dip.
- Marinade: pesto can be also used to marinate meat alternatives like tofu, etc.
- Seasoning: add the pesto to potato salad, pasta salad, tomato salad, vegan egg salad or any salad or veggie-stir fry you love.
- Add to boards: pesto is also a delicious addition to snack or appetizer boards.
This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce recipe is:
- Dairy-free (lactose-free)
- Quick and easy to make
- Without dairy cheese
- So delicious!
- Perfect for pasta, veggies, bread and more!
More Popular Vegan Pasta Recipes
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- Vegan Lasagna Bolognese
- Pasta alla Puttanesca
- Vegan Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta
- Spinach and Mushroom Pasta
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- Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce
- Vegan Carbonara with Spaghetti
- Lentil Zucchini Lasagna
- Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- Tomato Cream Pasta alla Vodka
If you try this best pesto rosso spaghetti recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your delicious pesto dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka so I don’t miss your post! Enjoy! 🙂
The Best Pesto Rosso Spaghetti Pasta RecipeAuthor:
- ½ cup (50 g) pine nuts or other nuts or seeds
- 1 jar (180 g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil or 3.5 oz (100 g) dried tomatoes + about ⅓ cup (80 ml) olive oil
- 80 ml olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or other vinegar to taste
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbsp vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast flakes (optional to taste)
- spaghetti or another pasta type
- fresh basil
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step instructions above!
- First toast the pine nuts in a small pan without additional oil, stirring often, until about 2-3 golden brown.
- Allow the toasted pine nuts to cool slightly, then put them to a small blender or food processor (or small narrow container, if using an immersion stick blender).
- Add the dried tomatoes including oil, garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper and optional vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast flakes and process into your desired consistency - chunky or smooth. Add more olive oil and seasonings as needed.
- Fill the pesto into a clean jar with a screw cap and store in the refrigerator (the pesto should always be covered with olive oil to ensure it will keep for a long time).
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Once the pasta is 'al dente', drain the cooking water and combine immediately with the pesto.
- Sprinkle the pesto spaghetti with more vegan parmesan and pine nuts, if desired, and garnish with halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.
- Check out more serving suggestions here. Enjoy!
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