Lightened-Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

148 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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{ 148 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers May 9, 2012

I can appreciate the lighter side of good food!

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emmycooks May 9, 2012

I like the intense flavor and convenience of sundried tomatoes, but I like the texture of roasted tomatoes even more–I saw your comment above and searched for that roasted tomato pesto and can’t wait to try both!

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Bees May 9, 2012

This looks amazing! Also, I just got on the green monster train.. outstanding! I’m kicking myself for not having tried it earlier. :-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

Glad to hear that!

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Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes May 9, 2012

You know you are always onto a tasty meal when pesto is involved!

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Diana@run4life.com May 9, 2012

Ahh I wish I liked sundried tomatoes since I absolutely love your other pesto recipes! I did recently post a recipe for a roasted red pepper pesto inspired by you though. It was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. Also, that salt incident sounds totally like something I would do!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2012

That sounds yummy! Glad you are enjoying them Diana.

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Angela May 9, 2012

I’ve made something similar to this and it was much tastier with the dried tomatoes. When I used oil packed tomatoes it didn’t have the same tomato hit. I also find it works better if you aren’t distracted and use pecans instead of walnuts!

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Kristy May 9, 2012

Sun-Dried Tomatoes are a staple in our house- I have to restrain myself from putting them on everything. This looks soooo good, and that crusty bread is calling my name!

P.S. I love your new logo- It’s so cute! :-)

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 9, 2012

This looks delicious! I never used to like sundried tomatoes, but now I love them! Same goes for avocado. On the other hand, I’m still not a big fan of mushrooms!

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Heather May 9, 2012

Looks amazing! Can’t wait to try this when I get home.

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Sophie May 9, 2012

I find sundried tomatoes a bit acidic and overwhelming sometimes and put myself off them but recently I discovered sunblush tomatoes and I could eat a whole jar very easily. Ignoring the pretentious name, they are so much sweeter and juicier and… heavenly?!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

I will have to keep an eye out for those!

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Robyn May 9, 2012

I was so cocky in thinking I had sun-dried tomatoes(I just moved/unpacked AND should have known better!),,,anyways I used some leftover cherry tomatoes and roasted peppers for the pesto over zucchini noodles,,,loved it! Will make again…with the sun-dried tomatoes next time :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

haha glad to hear it worked out anyways :)

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Kristin May 9, 2012

Thats crazy you used to not like avocados! My mom always made fresh guacamole growing up, so I have always loved them, but I never used to think to eat them in other dishes, before I change my unhealthy eating habits… I have about 1 a day haha :) although it gets a little pricey

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Fiona @ Well-Fed Redhead May 9, 2012

This is really weird but the same thing happened to my salt so now I have to keep mine upside down as well! haha

This looks amazing! I love pesto!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

Thats funny! There is strength in numbers…heh

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Lindsey May 9, 2012

This recipe has been a GODSEND!! Last year i harvested about 70 pounds of tomatoes…those that didn’t get snacked on we roasted and made into the roasted tomato version of this pesto. AMAZING!!! I froze alot of it and we have been enjoying it all winter long. It freezes beautifully… We used the last of it up last week… : (
This is such an amazing recipe along with your avocado pasta recipe… they rank 1 and 2 on my list of all time pasta favorites!!! Looking forward to this year’s crop of ‘maters so i can make more… Thank you so much!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

Wow thats a lot of tomatoes!!! Amazing. So glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes Lindsey!

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Leah May 9, 2012

Oh my gosh. I have been having a borderline obsession w/ sun-dried tomatoes recently. I can’t get enough and have been digging for recipes. Can’t WAIT to try this one–looks amazing!

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Sara Nickel May 9, 2012

This is lovely! I was just checking out some of your older recipes and was going to try the roasted tomato pesto recipe, but I like how this one is lightened up a little. I have family coming into town this weekend and might just try both and see which one we all agree on:) Sun-dried or roasted? I’m sure either will be wonderful!

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Willow May 9, 2012

Yum! I made a sundried tomato basil pesto a while back and used it (thinned out with some tomato sauce) on a caprese pizza – so good! Yours looks divine, and I love the idea of using it on pasta. Definitely something I need to make again, soon! :D

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin May 9, 2012

I love sun dried tomatoes and always have them in my fridge! They make such a nice addition to grain and bean salads. I’ve never tried making pesto with them, but this recipe looks fantastic. Do you have any suggestions for making a nut-free version? Maybe pine nuts or sunflower seeds?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

Seeds might work too, however it tastes good without any nuts at all. The addition of the walnuts was more of an afterthought than a main ingredient.

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Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 9, 2012

This pasta is just packed with amazing flavours!

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Liz @ iheartvegetables May 9, 2012

This look absolutely fabulous!

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Leah @ DeLeahLicious May 9, 2012

Too funny. Avocado and mushrooms are two of my obsession foods. I will need to make this recipe asap!

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theresa @ aspoonfulofsunshine May 10, 2012

I loved your Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto and if this one is tied for first, I am definitely going to have to give it a try! I can’t wait!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

I hope you like it Theresa!

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DeeLight May 10, 2012

How much pasta?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

The pesto will make enough for 3-4 servings, but I just made 2 and saved the rest for wraps.

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Clem May 10, 2012

Angela, come cook for me, please. Pretty please.

I’m trying to like avocados because I had it in a sandwich the other day (purchased, not made by myself) and it was amazing. However, I have no idea how to judge if an avocado is ripe or not when I buy it in the supermarket. I got one yesterday and it turned out it was rock solid and thus pretty disgusting to eat. Any tips you have for me?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

Hey Clem, When it’s ripe it should be *just* soft to the touch. However when you press it with your thumb, it shouldn’t push inward super easy. It takes a bit of trial and error, I’ve found, but eventually you will be able to tell when it’s perfectly ripe. If it feels like a baseball in firmness give it a few days and do the push test again.

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greenthyme May 10, 2012

Great recipe! I too love sun dried tomatoes. I’m bookmarking this. Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks! I once made a savory sun dried tomato jam with onions. Ooh now there’s something you could maybe work with ;) I served it with crostini.

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Jenny May 10, 2012

Thanks Angela, made this last night and it was a hit!

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Ellie@Fit for the Soul May 10, 2012

I love sundried tomaterz too! They’re SO tasty and SO versatile….I enjoy it in pastas too, & sometimes in salads. And I’m a fan of all your past-fear foods! But I haven’t tried raw cacao powder yet–I’m so curious now!

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Danielle May 10, 2012

Love your photos… and the meal looks delicious!

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LizAshlee May 10, 2012

Wowsa…this pasta looks amazing!!!!! I love sun dried tomatoes and pesto..mmm..mmm:)

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Christine May 10, 2012

OMG! I made this last night and it was uh-MAY-zing! I think I may actually love this more than regular pesto! Tossed it on some high fiber spaghetti with roasted asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and spinach and it was a fabulous dinner. My boyfriend loved it too! Thanks for the great recipe :-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

Hey Christine, so glad you enjoyed it! We are pretty crazy for it too.

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Jennifer May 10, 2012

Oohh I can’t wait to try this! I make the roasted tomato basil pesto every other week, just can’t seem to get enough of it! I did find a shortcut, since roasting the tomatoes in my apartments ancient oven takes FOREVER.. I use a can of organic fire roasted tomatoes and it came out just the same! Great for when you are short on time :) Heading out to look for sundried ones asap! Thanks Angela!

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers May 10, 2012

Great dish! My newest find is an avocado. I made gaucamole last week, with knowing I have an allergy to avacado, and all of a suddne when I had the gauc, nothing happened, I felt fine! Now I can’t wait to explore the world of avocado!!

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Isa May 10, 2012

Mmmm , this looks yummy, thanks Angela…
You should put your salt in a glass jar, it would go with your pretty pantry collection ;)
Have a great day,
Isa

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2012

thats a great idea actually!

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Patty May 11, 2012

This recipe is definately going in the “FAVORITES” section in my recipe book, right next to your Avocado Pasta! We are what we call Vegan-ish in our house (we still eat fish sometimes)… We used the pesto on top of tilapia and as sauce over Trader Joe’s Basil and Garlic Linguine. Oh. MY. GOODNESS! This was delicious! Thanks for another easy go-to dinner dish!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 11, 2012

Thanks Patty so happy to hear that!

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Alyssa May 11, 2012

This looks yummy!! I am on a raw pesto with raw daikon noodles kick right now. I add spinach, which might make your pesto a bit more appealing?? Or it might end up looking like baby poo.. haha I am not sure.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 11, 2012

haha either way Im sure it would taste great!

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meaghan dawson May 11, 2012

Oh my Gosh! I just made this and think I died and went to heaven! What an amazing recipe! I didn’t have the walnuts so I left them out and didn’t notice anything missing. I had cashews and considered throwing them in but didn’t at the last minute. I wonder how that would have tasted?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 12, 2012

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com May 11, 2012

Along with delicious flavor that sun dried tomatoes add to the dishes they are a natural source of Vitamins C and a good source of iron. Love them!

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Nic@diningwithastud May 11, 2012

What an amazing meatless dinner. I’ve got all these ingredients handy too :)

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Maggie May 12, 2012

Angela – I tried this yesterday with my husband! We don’t have a food processor, so we used a blender and minced the nuts/garlic ourselves – it still turned out DELICIOUS! I <3 whole wheat pasta.

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Pete Nott May 14, 2012

For about a week I had this odd craving for pesto. I never really give it much thought, I’ll eat it when it’s there but not really a shopping list essential.
I think it must have been because I bought a pesto and balsamic dressing the other day and I remembered how good pesto was.
Then my work colleague that pesto and pasta for lunch and it smelt amazing, I definitely need to make some, if not at least buy a jar!
With sundried tomatoes, I find it hit and miss, sometimes they are delicious and sometimes they have a really odd taste to them. I prefer the ones you get from the deli.

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