Lightened-Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 9, 2012


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!


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 IMG_9896-2

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.


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!


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


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


5 from 3 reviews

Lightened-Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free


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.

3/4 cup
Prep time
Cook time
0 Minutes


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.

Nutrition Information


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.


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!


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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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

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Amber @ May 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I made this for dinner tonight. Everyone enjoyed it and ate it all including my 8 year old, picky eater. Delicious meal, as usual, when I cook recipes from your site.


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 15, 2012 at 7:45 am

yay that is great news!


Gwen May 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Angela, this recipe was amazing. My boyfriend (who is pretty picky) loved this pesto and so did I :) I used pistachios instead of walnuts (since it was what I had on hand) and it turned out great! The bf has decided to have the left over pesto for dinner again tonight :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

So glad you enjoyed it Gwen! (Sorry for the delayed reply) :)


Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie May 15, 2012 at 12:52 am

Summer basil = pesto.

In other words, DA BEST!


Tawnee May 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I just made this and WOW! is it good!


Nicolle May 17, 2012 at 7:38 am

This looks so good! I made your roasted tomato pesto and loved it, and I’m excited to try this recipe too! I think the pesto would also be really good on spelt pizza with loads of spinach :)


Susan May 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I made this and it was incredibly delicious! I tossed it with Spinach filled ravioli but I can’t wait to use it as a dressing for grilled vegetables, as a dip for crostini next to a glass of red wine, as part of a summer antipasto platter – the options are endless! :)
On a side note – I somehow accidentally managedto drop my 1/4 cup measuring cup into my food processor after i drizzled in the olive oil. It was metal so I think it did a number on the blade of my food processor – maybe this will give me the excuse I’ve been looking for to buy a new one.


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

So glad you liked it Susan! Sorry to hear about your food processor blade!


Amy S June 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

This pesto is awesome! I had raw cashews on hand, so I substituted those for the walnuts. I will definitely make this again! Thank you for sharing, I really enjoy your blog!


Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board June 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm

We made this for dinner tonight but used sundried tomato basil spaghetti and added some sauteed cherry tomatoes .. It was amazing!!


Mae July 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Not-So-Pro-Tip: If you don’t have time to soak your tomatoes you can get them set up in the soaking water for a few minutes, then microwave them (still in the water) for about 20 seconds. It’s like a fast forward.


Alexandra August 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm

This pesto is SO GOOD!! I ate it on lightly-sauteed julienned green and yellow squash. My mom took a bite on her way out the door to dinner and said she’d rather stay in and eat the pesto! It was super quick & easy to make; I’ll definitely be making this over and over again. Thank you!!!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) August 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm

hah love to hear that!! I cant wait to try it over julienned zucchini too.


Shana Curtis September 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I am new to vegetarian/vegan dishes– I am not a total convert but I do meatless meals for my family. I am trying to understand what is nutritional yeast and what is it for.



Angela Chavis-Bullard October 19, 2012 at 4:58 am

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made this for dinner last night for my parents and they loved it. It now will become a staple in my kitchen! I am new to your site and I can’t wait to try your other recipes!!!


Robin January 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm

It just tried this last night and it is wonderful, quick, and easy! I added mushrooms to mine as usual. I may add even more veggies the next time. It probably won’t make my regular rotation of meals since I tend to avoid pasta and oil most of the time. Two things that make me put on weight very easily!


Nina January 27, 2014 at 10:34 am

It is so good we put it on raw spiralized zucchini (somebody also made it with sauteed julienned zucchini) and we use soaked sundried tomatoes and then use the water from the tomatoes were soaking in – no oil! So yummy!


Lauren January 20, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Did you make the bread you paired with this pasta? If so, will you share the recipe? It looks phenomenal! =)


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 21, 2013 at 8:25 am

Sadly no, it`s from a bakery ;)


Emi February 4, 2013 at 5:30 am

Hi, i was just wondering how many people this serves? is it just one? :) it looks delicious! thanks x


R.A. February 7, 2013 at 11:41 am

We had this for dinner the other night with some tomato basil bread from Panara. Everybody loved the pasta, we will be having this one again and again, thanks for the recipe!


Brittany March 31, 2013 at 10:10 am

Can you also serve this dish cold?


Ciera June 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Made it tonight…delicious!! Thank you!


Lori July 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Hi Angela,

I made this recipe this week. I must say this is one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time. Just delicious and I did not miss the meat for one minute. I’m not vegan but looking for healthier things to fill my diet. This is great! I had the left pesto on a sandwich today.



Becka August 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I made this last night and it was AHmazing! Such a great flavor-can’t wait to try the roasted tomato pesto tomorrow night! Thanks for all of your amazing recipes, Angela. I pretty much exclusively cook from yours! As someone relatively new to the vegan kitchen, it has been so great.


Pixie August 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm

This does look very yummy. Can’t wait to try it. I printed a copy for myself and my adult daughter. (Is there any way your website could direct it to print full-page, rather than teeny tiny print? I’m thankful you have a print button – my website doesn’t!)


Marit September 27, 2013 at 12:48 am

Amanzing recipe! I’m trying to get my family into a healthier lifestyle, so I’m definitely going to make this pasta next week! I had one little question.. For how many servings did you use the pesto? We are with four, so I would like to know if the pesto is enough..


Nina December 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm

This pesto is gorgeous! My daughter had it for lunch and wanted it again for dinner. We made it the 1st time with sun dried tomatoes in oil and added no extra oil. The color was a beautiful red. For dinner, I used soaked in water sun dried tomatoes and added just a drizzle of oil into processor. We are trying to do more low-fat meals. The color was also very red and not orangey at all. This will be a go-to favorite. My daughter thinks you are a genius and trusts your recipes more than any other vegan recipe site. Thanks so much Angela!!


Vicki January 21, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Hi from Quebec!! I just wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your site. This recipe is the first I’ve made and it was absolutely delicious!! My kids loved it!! Thanks so much and keep up the great work. I can’t wait to buy your book.


Danielle Baiz April 4, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Another one of your winning recipes that my fiance and I can’t get enough of! Thank you so much for the time you dedicate to this blog. Many of us out there are indebted to you! Can’t wait to try everything on this site and in your books! :D


Natalie August 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I bought the Kindle version of your book and this is the first recipe I have tried. It was very easy to make with no super exotic ingredients and my family really loved it. I served it with quinoa pasta. Thank you for a great dish!! We have been trying to become vegan for about two months now and I’m proud to say that we are about 80% there! So far your book has been the best that I have seen for healthy vegan food that looks and tastes good.


Monica September 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm

I don’t have walnuts in my pantry right now…only almonds or cashews. Would you recommend one over the other? Or should I just leave them out?



shopping online clothes rue 21 December 19, 2014 at 7:01 am

This looks incredible; what a fun dessert to serve in the summer! Hope you had a lovely weekend.


Mia March 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Cannot wait to make this! Thank you for sharing your fabulous recipes!


Jane September 25, 2016 at 5:38 pm
Recipe Rating:

Hi, I just made this delicious recipe! I am vegan and gluten free so this was a wonderful recipe for me. I used gluten free Penne rice noodles, and made toasted gluten free Udi,’s whole grain bread to dip in my olive oil, and herb bread dip.

I used an Australian sweet red wine to soak my dried tomatoes in, but added a little water at the end to make enough liquid for the blender. The sweet wine complimented the tomato’s.

Also a note about using end of year basil…Fall is fast approaching and I decided this would be a great way to use the end of season basil. It was! I suggest soaking it in water in a colander to get any dead leaves and unwanted visitors nesting in your basil out.

I made a Meyer lemon and olive oil dressing for the spinach, petite red and yellow sweet peppers, onion, cucumber, tomato, herb, and toasted pumpkin seed salad. This went well with the pesto salad. I placed them side by side on my plate but ended mixing them together at the end because they paired well together. Oh yes, I poured a glass of the red wine to go with it. This was an amazing meal, perfectly timed for using the last of my basil.

I wish I could share the pictures with you.

For meat eaters, you can add chicken to the pasta, and even feta cheese. A great addition!

Thanks again!


Angela Liddon September 26, 2016 at 1:18 pm

That all sounds delish, Jane!! Glad you enjoyed it :)


Kelly December 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm
Recipe Rating:

I’m late to the party here but I made this pesto on the weekend for an event. I used it on rigatoni and made a cold pasta salad. It was a hit!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Hey Kelly, So happy this was a hit! I love cold pasta salads…the best!


Janelis June 9, 2018 at 9:59 pm
Recipe Rating:

How long can I keep this pesto in the freezer, for future use?


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

Hey Janelis, I’m not positive, but I would guess up to 1 month. If you try freezing it please let us know how it goes!


Terri with EatPlant-Based June 12, 2018 at 4:55 pm

It’s funny how new foods, that you never even thought you liked, suddenly taste amazing–like your sun dried tomatoes. I experienced this when we went plant-based. It took a few weeks, and then my taste buds began to change.

I eat a lot more variety now (5 years later) than ever before.

Another crazy thing is that I used to dislike anything spicy. Now, at Asian restaurants where the spiciness is on a scale from 0-10, I usually go for six. That’s a huge change, because I used to do zero!


mich July 13, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Just got on the zoodle train and of course, first stop for sauces/recipes is OSG! I am so excited to try this recipe. Just have one question, if using the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, do you measure 55g with the oil or should I drain some oil out before weighing?


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 16, 2018 at 8:16 am

Hey Mich, I measure after draining off the oil. Hope this helps!


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