This red pesto pasta is a 20 minute dish that is bursting with flavor, so easy to make and naturally vegan. Serve it with your favorite protein or enjoy as is!
I can hardly go two weeks without sharing a new pasta recipe with ya’ll. They’re always popular, always delicious and always so easy to make! What’s not to love?!
This red pesto pasta is quick, easy AND flavorful, which is my kind of meal. The sauce is done and ready to go by the time the pasta is done cooking, so it’s all ready to go in about 20 minutes!
While I love serving this recipe with pasta, it’s also great to have a jar on hand in the fridge and serve it with sandwiches or as a dip with your favorite veggies.
Red pesto is similar to regular green pesto in that it is made with a base of a nut (usually pine nuts or walnuts), basil, olive oil, parmesan and garlic. Red pesto, on the other hand, also uses roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of tomato paste to make it red and add lots of flavor.
I love using fire roasted peppers, but you can use regular roasted red peppers from a jar, or make your own! You’ll also need sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in olive oil, which are going to be more flavorful and easier to blend than sun-dried tomatoes that are just packaged dry.
How to make red pesto
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Be sure to save ½ cup of the pasta water for the sauce which will help thin it out a bit but also make it creamy thanks to the starches that are present from the pasta. If you forget this step, no worries, regular water will do the trick.
Meanwhile, add add sauce ingredients to a food processor or blender. Start with ¼ cup of the pasta water and add more as needed to thin the sauce. Blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Toss with the cooked pasta and serve with extra basil, parmesan and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
I like to double the pesto recipe and keep a jar of it in the fridge to use on sandwiches, as a dip for veggies or on crackers throughout the week!
Does it keep?
Yes! This red pesto recipe stores well in the fridge for 3-5 days. However, because of the sauce ingredients, it can turn a bit brown after 24 or so hours, but I promise the flavor holds up well! Just reheat it on the stove or in the microwave with a touch of oil until warm.
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Red Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound pasta of choice (I used gluten free)
- 2 roasted red peppers (I like fire roasted, but regular work too)
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- 1 cup fresh basil
- ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts
- ¼ cup cashew parmesan (click for recipe)
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 large cloves garlic
- ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
- ¼-1/2 cup pasta water
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like spice)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Be sure to save ½ cup of the pasta water for the sauce.
- Meanwhile, add add sauce ingredients to a food processor or blender. Start with ¼ cup of the pasta water and add more as needed to thin the sauce. Blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust flavors as desired.
- Toss with the cooked pasta and serve with extra basil, parmesan and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!