Sun Dried Tomato, Chilli and Basil Pesto

Sundried tomato, chilli and basil pesto

Be honest, how often do you make your own pesto? Hardly ever or all the time? I fall into the hardly ever category out of sheer laziness most of the time and I want that to change. I quite often buy red pestos because the other half prefers them to green, he just likes anything with tomatoes really. But lately I’ve been increasingly disappointed with the selection available, even the premium ranges aren’t all they’re cracked up to be so I figured it was time I have a go at making my own red pesto. It’s so easy to do, just chuck everything in a food processor and pesto is ready in a matter of moments. I know the ingredients to make pesto seem expensive compared to buying a jar for around £2, however you only get 190g in those piddly little jars. This pesto cost approximately £5.50 to make buying ingredients from Tesco, which I know is more than double the price of a jar. However you also get more than double the pesto at around 450g, so for me it’s definitely worth spending a bit extra upfront on the ingredients to have something that tastes miles better. As this recipe makes so much pesto you can also freeze some for future speedy suppers.

This sun dried tomato, chilli and basil pesto does have a bit of a kick to it because I left the chilli seeds in but you’ll still get a great tasting pesto if you remove them first. If you wanted to make it a bit cheaper then the pine nuts could be swapped for cashews or any other nut you fancy.

Sun Dried Tomato, Chilli and Basil Pesto
Prep time
Total time
A spicy red pesto made with sun dried tomatoes, chilli and basil that's bursting with so much flavour you'll never buy a supermarket jar again.
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 large jar
  • 280g marinated sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 75g pine nuts
  • 20g fresh basil leaves
  • 20g grated parmesan or vegetarian equivalent
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1 large red chilli, seeds removed if you want a milder heat
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Place all of the ingredients except the salt and pepper in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and then season with salt and pepper if required.
  2. Serve stirred through your favourite pasta or transfer to a large jar, cover with a thin layer of olive oil and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Pesto can also be frozen, just transfer to a suitable container or an ice cube tray.

My favourite way to serve this pesto is just simply stirred through pasta. I recently bought fusilli lunghi for the first time after spotting it on the shelves when buying the pesto ingredients. I seem to remember Nigella Lawson made this popular by calling it telephone wire pasta a few years ago. It works really well to hold the pesto and looks good on the plate too.

Sun dried tomato, chilli and basil pesto served with fusilli lunghi

Red pesto tends to get overlooked in the recipe world in favour of green but I’ve found a couple of other recipes from the blogosphere that also look delicious. These are Recipe From A Pantry’s rose petal and roasted tomato pesto and Baking Queen74’s red pepper and chard pesto.

Sun dried tomato, chilli and basil pesto. Perfect served with fusilli lunghi pasta.
  • Florian @ContentednessCooking
    July 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    This looks fantastic, great flavors!
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  • Sisley White
    July 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I love red pesto but I’ve never made it at home with chilli. I will have to try this x
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  • Kirsty
    July 4, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Sounds lovely. My type of flavours. Will have to make some and try if! Xx

  • Choclette
    July 4, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve never tried red pesto, but it’s bound to be good with all those tasty ingredients. I don’t buy pesto as I’ve never come across one which is even 1/4 as good as homemade. Although it’s a bit pricy, the proportion of nuts and cheese will be heaps higher than in the bought variety – that’s gut feeling rather than fact speaking!
    Choclette recently posted…Plump for a Pimms or Mash up a Mojito?My Profile

  • Dawn @ Words Of Deliciousness
    July 4, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    I have never tried making pesto. Your pesto looks yummy and full of flavor.
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  • Sam @ SugarSpunRun
    July 5, 2015 at 2:37 am

    I have never made my own pesto, but now I really want to try it. This looks amazing and I bet it is so flavorful!

  • Mel@
    July 5, 2015 at 6:25 am

    This looks great…I love pesto!

  • Kavey
    July 5, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I think the main advantage of home made for me is being able to balance the ingredients to my own tastes. This one looks lovely!
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  • Fareeha
    July 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I love the sun dried tomatoes.. this looks delcious
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  • Lucy @ BakingQueen74
    July 5, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Mmm, this looks so good! Great value for homemade pesto too I think. Thanks for linking to my recipe too 🙂
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  • Byron Thomas
    July 5, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Perfection in a jar!

  • Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    July 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I love the addition of chilli in this.
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  • Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours
    July 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Lovely recipe – I suppose that you could slowly roast your own tomatoes for it and use those?
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  • Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
    July 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I LOVE using sun dried tomato pesto for pasta or pizza dishes! Never tried adding a chili in there before though!
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  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    July 5, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Oooh I love that pasta shape!! Not seen that anywhere. I love making my own pesto – yours sounds lovely, love the kick of chilli.
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche recently posted…Easy Sri Lankan curry with toasted cashewsMy Profile

  • Jane @ Littlesugarsnaps
    July 5, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Lovely recipe. I’m in the same camp as you when it comes to making pesto, but I am very picky and often immensely disappointed by the bought jars. I had never though of freezing pesto before, so thanks for the tip.

  • Joanne T Ferguson
    July 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I love sundried tomato pesto and yours looks delicious! Pinned and shared!

  • Laura@howtocookgoodfood
    July 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

    How lovely, a jar of this pesto in the fridge would make me happy and I also love to eat it as a dip with bread, especially love the added chilli!

  • Sarah Maison Cupcake
    July 7, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I’m always making green pestos but you’ve inspired me to do a red one. This looks wonderfully tasty!
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  • peter @feedyoursoultoo
    July 7, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Love the look and the flavors. It would go so well with so many ideas.
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  • Healing Tomato
    July 11, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    This has to be the best looking pasta sauce I have seen. I love the use of sun dried tomato in this recipe.
    Healing Tomato recently posted…Long Island Iced Tea (Mango Flavored)My Profile

  • Matt @ Plating Pixels
    July 15, 2015 at 12:17 am

    I’ve made a sun-dried tomato pesto before and it’s wonderful! Never tried with chili so adding this to the list
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  • Claire @foodiequine
    July 19, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever had red pesto. Love the telephone wire pasta.
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  • Winnie
    August 17, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    It looks SUPER delicious!! And I happen to really love pesto 🙂
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