Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Sun-dried or oven-dried tomatoes tastes tart, salty and sweet at the same time. Preserved with herbs and olive oil, it adds good contrast to any hearty vegetable dishes. This no cook pesto sauce is good with almost anything, warm pasta to steamed or raw vegetables, hearty soup, or homemade gourmet sandwich/wrap or simply as dip with tortilla chips.

This pesto is very easy to make as you can use sun-dried or oven dried tomato straight from store-bought jar and blend with the ingredients listed here. Its taste of summer and can be enjoyed year-long,  even after summer is long gone.

I have been making this pesto and keeping it handy for a while now and we have found various ways to use it in to our already favorite vegetarian dishes to add some zest to them.

Sun-dried tomato pesto

Our current favorite is to add a spoonful of this pesto to cooked quinoa for healthy yet tasty salad with chickpeas.

Another one is Greek style caprese panini; ciabatta bread, basil-lemon pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto and slice of fresh feta cheese in brine, grilled toasty with extra virgin olive oil. Almost a grown up version of grilled cheese sandwich per say. This sandwich is a lunch box favorite too.

And here is how to make this easy peasy pesto/spread/sauce.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Zesty tomato pesto

Prep      |     Process      |   Total Time

10min                        5min                                15min

Recipe type: pesto

Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients

1 cup sun-dried or oven-dried tomato preserved in olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp lemon juice or juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or more per your preference, this is totally optional, well not really, smile.

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, have said it before and will say this again, if available, buy a chunk of good parmesan and grate at home so you know what you are getting. It ensures the freshness. Left over cheese can be refrigerated wrapped in plastic wrap for weeks.

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, think it’s too much oil? Not really, its necessary to thin the pesto as well as it acts as preservative without actually adding any. And besides it adds good fat to the diet or so I say to splurge on olive oil and avocado, however that s whole different topic for discussion.

Move to the next step once you have everything ready to blend.

Directions

Place everything except olive oil in food processor and pulse until it is combined.

Add olive oil little at a time reserving 1 tbsp for later and process until it’s fully incorporated.

Transfer in to large serving bowl, drizzle remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and serve immediately with pita bread, chips, crispy baguette or use it a spoonful to jazz up your favorite dish.

Sun-dried tomato Pesto

If storing, transfer in to an air tight container and drizzle remaining oil, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze extra for up to a month.

Here is another recipe suggestion, Greek veggie panini. Sauté your favorite vegetables (Eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, red onion) with herb and olive oil, spread basil-lemon pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto on each half of the sandwich, layer vegetables and olives and artichoke and grill in the panini press.

P.S. Check the recipe archive for Basil-lemon pesto recipe to make above meal.

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