This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta is packed with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, spinach and spices. It smells amazing and taste even better! I’ve added it to some rigatoni pasta for a super easy and delicious vegan dinner recipe.
I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t think I had ever eaten sun-dried tomato pesto pasta until recently. I love pesto and I make it often, but before now I had never thought to add sun-dried tomatoes. And, honestly, I might almost like it better than regular pesto!
The flavor kinda reminded me of pizza and I’m definitely not mad about it! This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta is a dinner that only takes about 15-20 minutes, but the flavors are so amazing that everyone will be impressed 🙂
What Are Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Sun-Dried Tomatoes are just like they sound, they’re fresh tomatoes that have been dried in the sun. They are usually pre-treated with salt or sulfur dioxide to retain their color. You can also make them in the oven by cooking them low and slow.
I’ve seen both sun-dried tomatoes jarred and packed in oil and some that are dried and just sold in a plastic container with no oil. I really recommend you get the ones packed in oil for this recipe. They are usually more flavorful and not quite as dry.
Ingredients for Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes – As I said above, I really recommend the ones that are packed in oil for this recipe. I actually use the entire jar, oil and all which makes it even more flavorful than adding regular olive oil to your pesto.
- Basil – Although the tomatoes are the star of this dish I still wanted to add some fresh basil for a nice summery flavor. I used one cup of fresh basil leaves.
- Spinach – Spinach is not a traditional ingredient in most sun-dried tomato pesto recipes, but if you don’t grown your own basil, it’s much cheaper than buying lots of fresh basil and it doesn’t add a strong flavor. Kale would work as well, but is a little more bitter than baby spinach would be.
- Pine Nuts – Really, any type of nut would work for this recipe but I just happened to have pine nuts on hand, which are traditional to pesto. I also like to use walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts.
- Miso – The miso adds a nice salty flavor. If you don’t have miso it is an optional ingredient.
- Lemon and Garlic – Fresh lemon juice and garlic add flavor and freshness. You can add as much or as little as you like.
You can really use this sun-dried tomato pesto recipe anyway you like. It would be great on pizza, in a wrap or sandwich, on ravioli or on some nice rigatoni pasta like I have here. Any type of pasta would work great, but I love using the rigatoni in this recipe because it has the nice grooves for the pesto to stick to and ensures you will gets lots of delicious pesto in each bite 🙂
How To Store The Pesto
The pesto can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months. If storing it in the refrigerator or freeze I would recommend using a glass or plastic container and then topping with a layer of olive oil to help keep it nice and fresh tasting. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter before using.
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This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta is so delicious and flavorful that no one will believe it only took you about 20 minutes to make!
- 1 lb pasta, rigatoni or your favorite kind
- 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 (8 oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes (You will use the entire jar, tomatoes and oil)
- 1/4 cup pinenuts
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- Juice of 1/2 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon light yellow miso paste (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Optional toppings: cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, pine nuts
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve about a cup of the pasta liquid and then drain pasta and add back into the pot.
- While pasta is cooking, add all remaining ingredients (use the entire jar of sun-dried tomatoes, including the oil) to a food processor and blend until a thick sauce is formed.
- Add the pesto to the pasta, mix together and slowly add the hot pasta water to thin it out a little bit. I prefer to thin the sauce with pasta water rather than adding extra olive oil in.
- Top with fresh basil, tomatoes, pine nuts and serve immediately. Salt and pepper to taste.
If you can’t find a jar of sun-dried tomatoes are have to use the dry ones, you will need to add 1/4-1/3 cup of olive oil to the pesto to help turn it into a sauce.