Lightened-Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

150 comments

IMG 9901   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Don’t you love when you discover a new food that blows your mind, despite the fact that others have been raving about it for ages?

Some of mine:

  • Avocado (I “hated” avocado until I ate my face off w/ guacamole in Mexico, 2007)
  • Mushrooms (anyplace, anytime)
  • Beets (raw, cooked, juiced, I like them all)
  • Tofu
  • raw cacao powder (a recent baking discovery…I’m obsessed!)
  • Dark chocolate (it took me a while to appreciate the intensity, but now I love it)

 

My latest cooking discovery: Sundried Tomatoes!

IMG 9862   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Where have you been all my life?

I can’t seem to stop putting them in my food. My first recipe was Sundried Tomato Cheezy Kale Chips. Sundried tomatoes are just so flavourful and fun to add into so many dishes.

For some reason, I could not get the thought of sundried tomato basil pesto out of my mind.

IMG 9897   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta IMG 9896 21   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

I made two trials of this pesto using both oil-packed (shown today) and non-oil packed sundried tomatoes. Both worked wonderfully, however the recipe changes slightly which I will note below. If you are using non-oil packed tomatoes, be sure to soak them in water for at least 1-2 hours before making this pesto. Finally, look for organic, sulfite-free sundried tomatoes if you are concerned about consuming sulfites.

IMG 98602   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Don’t mind the upside down sea salt. It’s a long story that resulted in an exploded bottom with salt spilled over every nook and cranny of the kitchen. I won’t mention any names (cough, husband, cough). It now rests upside down with tin foil covering the jagged plastic bottom.

You will need about 20 grams of fresh basil which is equal to a 1/2 packed cup. Really pack it in so it’s overflowing!

IMG 9867   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Much like my Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto, this pesto isn’t the prettiest to look at, but it sure tastes incredible!

IMG 9869   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Ok, maybe it is kinda pretty with the right lighting! It’s a sunny & orange sundried pesto.

IMG 9883   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Lightened-Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

This lightened up pesto has just 1/4 cup of olive oil, but I promise you won’t know the difference . The sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and basil create an extremely flavourful pesto that goes wonderfully with pasta, sandwiches or wraps, or mixed into some grilled vegetables. Can’t have nuts? Just leave them out. The addition of the walnuts was more of an afterthought than a main ingredient.

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Yield: 3/4 cup

For the pesto:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 20 grams fresh basil leaves (1/2 cup packed)
  • 55 grams (about 7) oil-packed sundried tomatoes (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 tbsp water
  • 3-4 tbsp walnuts (toasted, if preferred)
  • Fine grain sea salt  + pepper, to taste (I used 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

 

For the pasta:

  • Your choice of pasta
  • Walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • Fresh basil
  • Sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • Pesto

 

1. In a food processor, with the machine running, drop in the 2 garlic cloves to mince. Now, drop in the basil and process until finely chopped.

2. Pour in the olive oil, with the machine running, along with the tomatoes, nutritional yeast (optional), and water (add slowly as needed). Process until mostly smooth.

3. Pulse in the walnuts until chunky and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: If using dry, non oil-packed sundried tomatoes, soak 30 grams in a bowl of water for 1-2 hours until very soft. Reserve the soaking water and use it in the pesto. I used 9 tbsp of soaking water, but you may need less or more depending on your preference.

IMG 9886   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Served with toasted crunchy bread, this meal was one to remember. I didn’t think I would ever like a pesto more than my Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto, but this one is now tied for first!

IMG 9890   Lightened Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

If you find yourself with leftover pesto, I recommend spreading it on a sandwich or wrap, along with roasted veggies, spinach, and avocado. Mmmmm, yes I highly recommend that. Or just mix some pesto into some roasted veggies for a tasty side dish. It should keep for a week in the fridge, but I doubt it will last that long.

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{ 150 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 9, 2012

Oh wow, this looks delicious! I’m with you on the sundried tomato craze… I recently found some dried organic ones at a local health food store and have been adding them to every meal possible! My fave so far has been rehydrating them and blending with roasted red peppers to make a dip/spread (the recipe is here: http://eat-spin-run-repeat.com/recipes-2/?recipe_id=6021879).
PS where are your wooden bowls from? They’re gorgeous!!! (And so are the photos, but I know that’s because there’s one crazy talented lady behind the camera.) ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

They are from a garage sale…heh :)

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Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air May 9, 2012

I cannot believe you didn’t like avocados – one of my biggest joys in life!! Glad you’ve come around to the right side

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Andrea @ Vegvacious May 9, 2012

This sounds and looks incredible! I always thought I didn’t like sundried tomatoes and then one day I had them on a pizza and Boom! I loved them. Now I eat them on pizza, in salads and pastas and sometimes I just grab a handful to munch on while I’m cooking dinner. I just bought a ginormous bag of sundried tomatoes at Costco, so now all I need is the basil and I can make this!

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Jasper {crunchylittlebites} May 9, 2012

I love mushrooms TOO Angela! The texture is one that I think I’ve heard people say they “HATE” or “LOVE” more than any one food item. {
lovers say “wonderful”
haters say “rubbery”}
But I’ve not been around for too long ;). Thank you for this recipe, Angela. We FINALLY broke into that giant sun-dried tomato container and we made a tossed pasta salad with it~ your looks really nice

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Shelly May 9, 2012

I just discovered sundried tomatoes too! They’re awesome in this vegan recipe from The Kitchn:
http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-braised-coconut-spinach-chickpeas-with-lemon-164551

I love anything that lets me stew them though. They’re great in a big stew of quinoa cooked in veggie broth, then mixed with tomato sauce, chick peas, and chipotle peppers! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

Wow that looks great!

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Shelly May 10, 2012

I really enjoyed it, although I made it with collards instead of spinach b/c I think spinach gets too wilted when it braises. That’s just a matter of personal taste though. :)

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Trish May 9, 2012

Totally agree about sundried tomatoes. One of my favourite ingredients! Your food always looks so amazing.

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Renee May 9, 2012

Oh yum!!! I love sundried tomatoes…so intense in flavour! Im going to try this tonight!! Thanks!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

Hope you like it!

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Catalina @ Cake with Love May 9, 2012

I love sun dried tomatoes, too bad my husband can’t eat them, but he loves basil, so maybe this combination will be a winner in our house!!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape May 9, 2012

This looks fantastic!!! I love pesto in all of this delicious permutations :D

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Allison Smith May 9, 2012

I bought sun dried tomatoes at my health food shop the other day and they contain no sulphites (used to help preserve dried fruit and is in some wines) the brand is Ceres Organics, they are a dried tomato and are dark in colour but they still look good, I will be using some to make this pesto which sounds delish

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Ana May 9, 2012

Sundried tomatoes are super easy to make in a dehydrator!

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Gabby @ the veggie nook May 9, 2012

I love sundried tomatoes, I love pesto, so I how could I not love this?? Awesome recipes!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 9, 2012

I was the same way with avocado. I started eating them on a trip to California in 2008 and couldn’t stop (we won’t talk about what that does to your bathroom experiences… LOL!).

Gorgeous looking dish! I love SDTs. I even began adding a little of the “juice” from them in regular basil pesto.

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katie@ KatieDid May 9, 2012

same exact thing with avocados… minus the whole mexico part. But seriously, once I actually tried them I realized my hate for them was completely made up in my mind!

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Hailey May 9, 2012

This looks amazing! I wish you were here to cook me up a batch of this right now! :-) This looks like a super easy, great weeknight meal that you can make over and over again. I can’t wait to try this.

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Hailey May 9, 2012

Ooh and I like your new picture. :)

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Helen May 9, 2012

I made this original version, but wonder what you reckon to roasting the garlic first? Do you think it would enhance or impede the flavour? I only ask as even though I love love love garlic, sometimes it upsets my tummy when eaten raw….

I am craving pasta now!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

I think roasted garlic would taste amazing. I think that’s what I did in my roasted tomato pesto recipe if I recall. :)

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Stephanie @ Legally Blinde May 9, 2012

Oh this sound amazing!! I’m a huge fan of pesto, so I’m sure I’ll love this variation. Can’t wait to try it out!

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Carrie May 9, 2012

Oh yum! I love sun-dried tomatoes and this looks right up my alley! I never make pesto though…my husband is allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds, so I never know what to sub in.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

To be honest this pesto tastes good even without the nuts at all. The addition of walnuts was more of an afterthought than a main ingredient.

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Jo May 9, 2012

I love sundried tomatoes! This looks fantastic!

I make all of my own sundried tomatoes every year – I buy a big bin of tomatoes at the farmer’s market during tomato season, put them in my dehydrator overnight, and voilá! They taste just like the real thing and last me all year! I can also make them raw if I want. I’m sure you could also make them in the oven.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

I can’t wait to try this in my dehydrator!!

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j3nn May 9, 2012

Yum! That looks delish. My husband recently discovered sun-dried tomatoes and has been eating them a few times a week; I bet he’d like this dish! I realized that I like them even more than before, too, which works out well for both of us. :)

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Alex @ Raw Recovery May 9, 2012

I love sundried tomatoes. I think one of the best pasta salads I ever had with pesto was in St. Thomas and it had pasta, pesto, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and golden raisins oh and sundried tomatoes. It was fantastic. Now I just have to use a vegan type parmesan cheese and all will be right in the world :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

Golden raisins sounds fun! It’s funny…our bread had raisins and cranberries in it and I thought it would taste weird, but I really enjoyed the salt and sweet contrast with the pesto.

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Katie @ Creature of Habit May 9, 2012

Your list of discovery foods looks very similar to mine. I would add eggplant too. It’s not up there with avocados and mushrooms but I used to hate it and now it’s slowly showing its better side.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

agree…I *almost* put it on the list, but I don’t quite love it yet. It’s getting there slowly perhaps! I do love this eggplant parmesan recipe though: http://ohsheglows.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6005393

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Heather (Heather's Dish) May 9, 2012

love the flavors in this pesto! it sounds completely addictive…

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StoriesAndSweetPotatoes May 9, 2012

I’ve got basil growing in the back yard!

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Carrie May 9, 2012

Love sundried tomatoes, and love this pesto idea! I’m eating low-carb in May, so pasta is out, but I’m drooling over how wonderful it would be paired with some tofu & veggies in lettuce wrap…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

A lettuce wrap is a fun idea! Might have to try that.

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Lisa May 9, 2012

Or eat with spaghetti squash or zucchini ribbons!

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Michal May 9, 2012

I used to make a bread with sundried tomato, but haven’t used it in years.
I just got my own basil plant and wasn’t sure I’d find enough recipes to use it for (though all my friends are obsessed with your basil-avocado pasta sauce!). Can’t wait to try this – thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

Bread with sundried tomatoes sounds amazing!

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Michal May 13, 2012

I could find the recipe for you if you’d like!
Btw, my friends picked this pasta recipe as the main for our dinner party this week!

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Joann@womaninreallife May 9, 2012

That looks amazing. I could go for some right now! Now!

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Laura May 9, 2012

I’ve been enjoying your posts – even though I’m not much of a cook. I had to let you know that I have the same love affair with avocados. I get a little panicky if I don’t have a ripe one in the kitchen. I put them on everything!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

Glad you share my love for them :) Thanks for reading Laura!

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Jen @ Passport to Bliss May 9, 2012

I just ate breakfast, but if that pasta was sitting in front of me right now, I’d devour the whole thing!!

I was the same way with mushrooms. When I was younger, my mother loved mushroom pizza, and I would pick the mushrooms off one by one. Now mushroom pizza is one of my favorites!! Funny how taste buds change over time.

Thanks for the recipe!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

Thank you, what a compliment! Im the same with mushrooms…love them on pizza too

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Liz May 9, 2012

Angela,

I ave the SAME EXACT upside down salt container in my spice drawer. LOL The creation of how mine came to be was much less dramatic than yours (No explosions) and less messy, but I can’t wait to use it all up so I can have a “normal” salt-using experience again. :) It’s the little things, right?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

For some reason this makes me happy to know that I’m not the only one! but I do feel your pain. hah. Eric dropped it on the floor and the bottom exploded out….Im still finding salt in weird places.

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Melanie May 9, 2012

Can’t wait to try this! It sounds amazing!

I too, didn’t like avocados until a few years ago. Now a day doesn’t go by that I’m not adding avocado to something. Cilantro was another that wasn’t on my favorite list until about 6 years ago. Now I love it too!

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Amy @Health Hungry May 9, 2012

YUM! I wish there was a simple method of copying recipes I want to try, and organizing them all – I’ve got to get a system down! I tend to cook mostly from what sounds good vs. trying recipes… it’s so easy to get bored when you don’t experiement with other thoughts, flavors, etc. Thanks for the post! :)

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Averie @ Averie Cooks May 9, 2012

Sundried tomatoes are one of my fave things! When I was strictly vegan I made all kinds of raw nut “meats” and one was a “taco meat” that involved sundried tomatoes and to this day, it’s one of my fave raw, vegan, GF, etc EASY eats.

And I love basil & pesto…hungry now!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

it’s so funny you mentioned this because Eric said they taste like sausages! LOL. I will have to try the nut meat…I was thinking theyd be good in a veg burger too.

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Jill | A Cook's Nook May 9, 2012

we loved your first version of this and used it on pizza- which was awesome-, i’ll have to try this one! ps- your crazy woman pudding looked so good that I had to try my own version (we didn’t have all the ingredients) and it was such a great breakfast. Of course- I gave credit where it was due- thank you for your inspiration

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

I’ve had it on pizza too…so good! Glad to hear you made a spin off of the pudding & enjoyed it. Those recipes are fun to play around with!

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Taylor May 9, 2012

Looks amazing! I have a crazy love for sun-dried tomatoes, I don’t buy them often because I am notorious for using them in a meal and then sitting down to eat the entire container of them while the food is cooking. Must practice self-control!

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Dev May 9, 2012

I was just going to ask about the kind of bread that was as it looks great!
Cranberry & Raisin? I’ll have to look for that. Interesting pairing with the pesto.
Forget Mayo, I’m going to make a sandwich with your pesto and crusty bread if I can find it:)

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Char @ www.charskitchen.ca May 9, 2012

omg, I will be making THIS! Looks so amazing, Angela. I love sundried tomatoes- especially in pasta!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit May 9, 2012

haha the upside down salt… too funny. Kevin did that with white rice flour once. I’ll never forgive him for that. He dropped a huge bucket of it when he was looking for his passport before leaving on a business trip. Why he thought the passport would be in the pantry is beyond me. Then he scurried off to the UK leaving me with a kitchen/pantry filled with flour everywhere. It even got on the ceiling. Ugh.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

nice going away present! hah

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Jenny May 9, 2012

Hi Angela, looks great! I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned these yet, but they are fantastic. Extra moist but not oil-packed, and smoked- yum!
http://www.amazon.com/California-Sun-Dry-Tomatoes-Julienne-3-Ounce/dp/B001LQTDZA

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Ariel Scheirer May 9, 2012

This is unbelievable — not only do I have the ingredients for this on hand, but I’m confident both my husband and I would inhale this delightful, healthy, vegan recipe. My lucky day.

I like to stir pesto into rice, particularly when I have company over. It seems so high-end. . . ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

mmm that’s a great idea!

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