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I have been making batches of pesto rosso since October when fresh basil for basil pesto was no longer available. I love everything about this pesto: the salty sweet umami taste, the versatility, the beautiful warm color that reminds me of late summer.

It’s a pantry sauce, so each batch is a little different depending on what you’ve got around, but it’s delicious every time. You’re going for a 1:1 ratio of tomatoes to peppers, so tinker with this if you don’t have a full jar of either. It might seem like a waste to drain the tomatoes, but I find the flavor of the oil they’re packed in can vary. I like the taste fresh oil brings to this sauce. If you’re out of rosemary but you have thyme, also no problem.

I love this on pasta. It’s addictive spread on a mozzarella sandwich. And best of all for the Big Social Season ahead, it’s a wonderful dip with crisp raw veggies and crackers. Bonus, it’s vegan and freezes well. Hmmm, maybe I should be gifting jars of pesto rosso. 

It goes like this.


1  jar (8 oz) sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained

1 jar (8 oz) roasted red peppers, drained

¼ cup blanched, sliced almonds

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste



Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined, but still a little chunky.

If you don’t have a food processor this can be put together in a mortar and pestle or just chopped by hand. If you do use a mortar and pestle or chop by hand, smash or chop all the ingredients together except the olive oil. Stir the olive oil in at the end.  

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About The Author

For Sarah Ross, everyday cooking is about winging it—with a classic or an old favorite recipe given to her by a friend. These are the recipes that get stained with spills from being on repeat, the ones to share.


  • I’m allergic to almonds. Will walnuts or pine nuts work? That’s what I use in basil pesto. I think I’ll have fun experimenting…

    • I think cashews are an underutilized nut! I’m thinking of cashews sautéed in ghee, so ubiquitous in Indian cooking. Maybe just dry toasted for this since there’s olive oil. Agree with Sarah that it would be fun to experiment.

    • I think walnuts or pine nuts would be great. It is indeed a fun recipe to experiment with. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Sounds delicious and perfect timing for my Knitting Circle holiday pot luck this Sunday, thanks Sarah! BTW, I didn’t find a link in today’s email to open this, I had to go to MDK website to find it. Glad I did 🙂

    • Thank you thank you!

  • I am definitely going to try this. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hope you like it – I’ve got a batch in my freezer ready for the weekend.

  • Sounds like a winner. I also had no link in my email.

  • Sounds yummy! Thank you for sharing with us all.

  • Made it tonight. Delish! Thanks!

  • Thank you! I volunteered a nibblie for a holiday gathering and your pesto looks so much better than anything I had considered.

  • Sarah, q for you… why drain the tomatoes if we need olive oil anyway? Why not use the oil in the jar? #frugal

    • This is explained in the head note.

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