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A homemade Sun Dried Tomato Pesto that is so much better than store-bought.  Jarred tomatoes, good olive oil, fresh basil and parmesan cheese – a marriage made in food heaven!

This post and its photos were updated June 16, 2018.

Have you ever had one of those nights when you arrive home from work and you’re just too tired to cook anything?  But, you have to cook something, because you’re hungry, you’re tired of take out (or just can’t afford it), and you’ve got other mouths at your table to feed.  No doubt then, you’ve often reached for pre-made, store-bought, jarred pasta sauce.  Am I right?

We’ve all been there, Dear Reader, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it!  We can’t all be perfect and sometimes the ease of grabbing a jar of pre-made sauce is just what you need to help you keep your dinner-time sanity.

I don’t have a large family, so I really can’t complain about dinner-time madness around the kitchen table.  It’s just me, and John.e, and McKenna.  But, in comparison to let’s say, Margaret – my coworker, who has a family of six, my two are vegetarians.  And, that makes jarred pasta sauce tossed with cooked pasta the easy out; the go-to meal.

Unfortunately, pasta cannot shouldn’t be the only thing I make for dinner every night.  But, if I’m in that state of mind where pasta is the only thing I can muster up, because of a long day at work or whatever the reason, I prefer to toss that pasta with my Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.

If you or your family thinks like me or my family at all, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto can be eaten right from the jar with a spoon!  Pre-making this super easy sauce will save you the hassle of having to go to the grocery store on your way home to pick up a jar, and you will not believe the difference in the taste!

I kid you not, there’s been times when we’ve had six jars of store-bought Sun Dried Tomato Pesto sauce in our pantry – for two reasons.  The first reason, of course, is that we love that flavour.  And the second reason is that Lord Byron loves to stock up on pantry items when they’re on sale!

You see, grabbing a jar of store-bought pesto, heating it through, and tossing it with some cooked pasta could not be easier on a weeknight, especially after a hard, busy day at the office, and having just a few minutes to spare before you head off to a 7:30pm social committee meeting, or a membership meeting.  Yes, we are those people who volunteer on committees!

Taking a few minutes – yes, I said a few minutes – to make this Sun Dried Tomato Pesto on the weekend, will find you much happier when you go to eat it.  It’s a million times better than the kind you buy in the store.  It’s fresh and simple, you get to control the amount of oil and salt.

And, because you live life on the edge and you’re not afraid to push the boundaries, you can add whatever you’d like to your homemade pesto – try adding chili flakes for some heat, add capers if you like the extra saltiness, load up on extra basil or even throw in some oregano!  Be brave and fearless, Dear Reader!

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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 76 kcal
Author: Lord Byron's Kitchen
A homemade Sun Dried Tomato Pesto that is so much better than store-bought.  Jarred tomatoes, good olive oil, fresh basil and parmesan cheese - a marriage made in food heaven!
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups jarred sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, do not drain
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Layer the ingredients into your food processor as follows - basil leaves, garlic, sun dried tomatoes with the oil from the jar, salt, and black pepper.

  2. Pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. Pesto is not meant to be extra smooth, so don't over process the ingredients.
  3. Remove the lid and add the parmesan cheese.
  4. Again, pulse a few times to blend through the cheese. Check the consistency. Add more olive oil if you'd like a more wet pesto. I always add 1/4 cup more, but you can add a tablespoon at a time until you get to your desired consistency.

  5. Place in clean mason jars and store in the refrigerator until needed. Will last 7-10 days.
  6. When ready to use, simply heat the pesto in a sauce pan, and toss with freshly cooked pasta.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes 2 cups, or 500mL of Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.  A serving size is 2 tablespoons.

Nutrition Facts
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 76 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 154mg 6%
Potassium 146mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 4.9%
Vitamin C 11.1%
Calcium 7.7%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Ooooo I must make this, we always dry some of our tomato harvest and typically use them to bulk out tomato based sauces but I always forget about pesto, it is such a great dish!
    1. I love the idea of drying your own tomatoes! You could probably preserve the pesto too, although I think there's a special process for preserving foods with olive oil. I usually use the water bath method, but I don't think it would work for this recipe.
  2. I LOVE sun-dried tomato anything, and I have a ton of basil at my house that needs some use -- I actually bought it for pesto, but may have to make your version. It looks delicious!!
  3. This looks delish! I have to say, I get a little tired of basil pesto, so throwing in sun dried tomatoes sounds perfect. Not that I have any committee meetings to attend, but still! ;)
    1. I'm not sure about the freezing of olive oil. To be honest, I'd prefer to make it fresh, it's so easy any way. :)
      1. You can freeze this. BTW, it's delicious! I used the Ball Brand of silicone herb trays, they are made for freezing herbs with olive oil. All of this fit into one tray and now I have them frozen into perfect proportion squares when I need one. Yummy! I did throw in a handful of piñon nuts while blending and used vegan "parmesan cheese". I'd add a photo of it but don't see how to do that, it also won't let me give five stars (must be an I-pad issue) And yes, I did lick the spoon! Who wouldn't! *****
        1. Thanks, Deanna! I gotta get my hands on some of those silicone herb trays! And, yes, licking the spoon is a must with this particular recipe. :)
  4. I literally just got done making this, and it is delicious! I doubled up on everything because it's for fairly large amount of people, but it stayed true to the taste. There will definitely be a repeat in the near future.
    1. Thank you, Peter. It certainly is a delicious homemade pesto - I double it quite often when I make it as well. :)
  5. Made this today. Absolutely fantastically delicious. Never used sun dried tomatoes before. I'm now hooked.
  6. I was searching for a vegan pesto recipe when I came across this incredible recipe! I absolutely LOVE sun-dried tomatoes, and the idea of putting this over a pasta dish I'd been thinking about making seemed perfect. Tonight was the night, and my family couldn't stop raving about how yummy the sauce was! Even my 10 year old, who loves veggies but is hard to win over with dinner, asked for seconds and then thirds. Thank you so much for creating this pesto. I subbed out the parmesan for nutritional yeast for a truly vegan version. Now I plan to make batches to keep in the fridge. You're right, I could eat it by the spoonful. ;)
    1. Ha! That's so great to hear! I've made it it nutritional yeast as well. I not a vegan, but I like to use traditional yeast instead of parmesan when I'm looking to cut sodium or calorie levels in certain foods.
  7. Thank you for providing the red side of normally green pesto! Just home from Côte d Azur where I tasted & bought many small jars of this lovely “Pistou Rouge.” Perfect for champagne/appetizer parties on the beach...please join us Lord Byron if you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara!
  8. Such a rich taste, layers of flavour. But chilly here so short basil growing season, I wondered if this dip could freeze ice cube tray style. I should love to have a bit at xmas. I have a feeling dry basil will be just awful with this,
    1. Thank you, Pongodhall. :) I have never tried freezing it, but freezing pestos is a very common thing to do, so go ahead! I'm sure it will still taste great!
    2. I have used this with dried and fresh basil and it tastes great both ways. My daughter gave me a gigantic industrial bag of sun-dried tomatoes. NOT saved in oil, just dried. I have used this recipe over and over again to use them up. My latest obsession has been using this pesto with Trader Joe’s spiralized carrots, which are in their frozen section. I recently had a group of girlfriends over and they went crazy for this pesto over the spiralized carrots. I have also added a single can of black beans, rinsed and drained, to the pesto and carrots and it was also incredibly yummy. I love, love, love this pesto :-)
      1. Thank you, Susan! I'm so glad you like this recipe just as much as I do. We make it very often. Have you tried it with the packaged sun dried tomatoes from Trader Joe's? So good!
  9. This sun dried tomato pesto is a hit with family and friends. I also like using it to spread on my hamburgers. Yummy.!!!!!! Thanks for sharing Bryon. 😊
    1. I love canning, Lori, but I'm always weary of canning anything with so much oil. I know it can be safely done, but to be perfectly honest, pesto never lasts long enough in our home to make it to the canner. :)

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