The only thing better than regular sun-dried tomato pesto is homemade sun-dried tomato pesto! It's made with 6 ingredients and is ready in 5 minutes, and all you need is a food processor.
Let's all agree from here on out that pesto makes everything better. As much as I love traditional or even kale pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto is my true love language. If I have to choose between basil or sun-dried tomatoes, the tomatoes will always win.
I wish I could remember the first time I tried sun-dried tomatoes, but alas, I cannot. What I do know is that I was immediately hooked because I have plenty of tomato-based recipes on this site. The best part about pesto is that it makes a lot of servings and can be used in a variety of ways (see the end of this post!).
Why you'll love this sun-dried tomato pesto
- It uses the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, aka sun-dried tomato oil, instead of olive oil for extra flavor
- Cashews are used as a base to help thicken it up
- It uses canned diced tomatoes to create a sun-dried tomato pesto sauce with actual tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes - preferably in a jar. This recipe uses both the sun-dried tomatoes, and the oil that's in the jar. If you can't find them in a jar, use olive oil in place of the sun-dried tomato oil.
Cashews - raw, unsalted
Diced tomatoes - I almost always recommend fire-roasted, but in this recipe, plain canned diced tomatoes are best
How to make pesto
Step 1: Place all ingredients EXCEPT the oil into your food processor, then pulse for 20 seconds.
Step 2: With the processor still running, pour the oil through the top and keep pulsing until the pesto is smooth. Note: You may have to turn the processor off and scrape down the sides 1-2 times. If mixture is still stuck, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
Tips and FAQs
- Use raw cashews: For most recipes, you're going to want to opt for raw cashews instead of salted to eliminate unnecessary salt.
- Use fresh basil: Fresh basil is a must for pesto!
- Regular diced tomatoes are best: This is one of the only times I'll recommend using regular canned diced tomatoes over fire roasted ones. Normally, I'm all about the fire roasted, but they're not necessary for this pesto and may make the pesto spicy, which isn't what we're going for
- Cheese is optional: If you consume cheese, I recommend adding it because I think it gives the pesto a little extra flavor. However, if you want to keep this dairy free, simply omit the cheese.
What can I use this pesto for?
Honestly? Anything and everything, including but not limited to: pasta, pizza, toast, in a salad in place of or in addition to salad dressing, in a grain bowl, as a sandwich spread, with roasted veggies, etc. Seriously, the possibilities are endless!
More sun-dried tomato recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- 7 oz. sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ cup canned diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 12 basil leaves
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomato oil from jar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese shredded, optional
- 1 tablespoon water optional
- Place sun-dried tomatoes, diced tomatoes, cashews, basil, salt, and parmesan (if using it) in your food processor and pulse for 20 seconds.
- With the food processor still running, pour the sun-dried tomato oil (which you get rom the jar of sun-dried tomatoes) through the top and continue pulsing until the mixture is smooth. If you don't have sun-dried tomato oil, use olive oil. If mixture is stuck, add 1 tablespoon water and/or stop it and scrape down the sides and try again.
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in 2016. It was updated with new text in June 2020.
We have a cashew allergy in our house. Can I substitute something else?
I'd try pine nuts instead!
Fred Johnson says
How much of the weight of the 8.5 oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes is the weight of the oil? Apparently the recipe expects you to use 7 oz of the 8.5 oz in the jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil. Or do you mean that the sun-dried tomatoes that are fully drained of oil weighs 7 oz? That cannot be true. How do you translate this recipe by weight using the California Sun Dry tomatoes that are not in oil?
Hi! I'm not sure I understand the question? I used a 7 oz. jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil -- I took out the tomatoes and used all of them, then also used 1/4 cup of the oil from the jar. If you're using sun-dried tomatoes NOT in oil, you'll want to use 1 bag (even if it's less than 7 oz.. California Sun Dry makes 3 oz. bags of dried sun-dried tomatoes) along with 1/4 cup olive oil.
I just made this and it tastes really good. I used the oil from the jar of the sundried tomatoes. Thanks for the recipe.
Woohoo--thanks for the comment! 🙂
Are you using dried sun dried tomatoes or ones that are all ready marinated in oil.
I never buy the ones in the jar as I marinate them myself with herbs, and Parker Sean and lots of garlic.
I used sun dried tomatoes marinated in oil--the ones that come in a jar--but I don't use any of the oil in this recipe, just the tomatoes themselves, SO you can absolutely use your own tomatoes if you wish (they sound amazing!).
Quick question!! Do we use the oils in the jar off sundried tomatoes? I ask because there's also a 1/4 of olive oil! Thank you!
Would you recommend using raw cashews or dry roasted and unsalted? Also, how long can this last in the fridge?
Hi Dana--great question! I'd recommend using raw cashews if possible, and it can last awhile in the fridge. I kept mine in a mason jar in the fridge for a month one time and it was still good!
Awesome! Thank you so much!
Beverley @ sweaty&fit says
oooo this would be perfect for a sauce for homemade pizzas! basil + sundried tomatoes are soo good together
So true!! Perhaps I'll try that next... 😀
Dani @ Dani California Cooks says
I pinned this immediately!! It looks so creamy, and I love that it is dairy free!
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health says
Sorry to hear about the cookie fail but at least you have the right attitude on sticking with it! I get frustrated really easy with fails, especially desserts.
I'm also a huge fan of sundried tomato pesto! I love using it on pizza, it's so good. Your version looks super creamy from the cashews. Perfect for a pasta sauce!
Jen @ Chase the Red Grape says
I love pesto - my favourite is made with basil, walnuts, olive oil and salt and pepper - simple but so good!
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
Oh my gosh, I LOVE sun-dried tomato pestos!! Perfect in pastas, on pizzas...I love that you added some cashews in this version to make it extra creamy!
Thanks Lisa! And yes it just makes everything better!
Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen says
Pesto in ANY form I think I am pretty much on board with. I was obsessed with pesto on any sandwich in college. If a menu had something with pesto in the description, I was done. Kind of like how I am with avocado or goat cheese now... 🙂
I was the same way in college! Pesto always always always.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Mmmmm so smokey and perfect! I am all about making my own condiments! But always and forever..ketchup will reign king....always.
Emilie @ Emilie Eats says
I'm picky about tomatoes (raw) but sun-dried tomatoes are the shizzzzz. And then pesto? It's just...I NEED this now!
Yes please!! I love to spread hummus on wraps or sandwiches, it adds so much flavor!
girrrrrllll! you speaka my language! pesto, sun dried tomato, and low key weekend. haha. NEED!
Low key weekends//productive are the best - glad you and Miguel got stuff done around the apt and had time to relax! I'm always up for anything and everything pesto and am basically obsessed with sun-dried tomatoes, so this sauce looks sooooo good to me! I'd probably just spoon-feed it to myself before it saw the likes of food, ha! I must make this ASAP!
Glad you're equally obsessed--sun-dried tomatoes are just the best!
Rachel @ athletic avocado says
I think I could eat this by the spoonful!! Now I have no reason to buy the canned variety!
I may or may not have eaten a few spoonfuls by themselves.... 😀 No shame!