This Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto is sweet, tangy, and a tad smoky. You could eat it with a spoon or, if you want to go the respectable route, slather it on bread and make the best grilled cheese ever.
This summer’s crazy amount of rainfall hasn’t been good for a lot of things. It makes for some pretty gloomy food photos, squelches any hope of making it to the pool, and puts a serious damper on those outdoor BBQs. But I’ll tell you one thing the rain has been good for: my basil plant. It is outta control. It’s surpassed the height of several of the tomato plants it sits next to, and has quickly become almost weed like in it’s ability to grow despite the lack of sunshine.
I’ve been keeping up with the supply as best as I can by throwing it on pizzas, in pasta salads, and on tomato soup, but the basil simply will not be stopped. Just as soon as I’ve plucked a few leaves it seems an entire stalk grows in its place. I was clearly going to have to up my basil-using game.
One of my favorite summer meals is a simple mozzarella grilled cheese sandwich with thick slices of tomato and a slathering of basil pesto. It’s comfort food for 90 degree days, the perfect balance of warmth and freshness.
My tomatoes are lagging a bit this year (apparently they want sun to grow…so needy!), so I thought my favorite sandwich was going to have to wait. But when one of my nesting urges struck and I found myself digging through my pantry with the ruthlessness of a counselor on Hoarders, I happened to discover a forgotten jar of sundried tomatoes.
And the rest is history. Those babies got whirred up in the food processor with a few generous handfuls of fresh basil, Parmesan, oil, almonds, and balsamic vinegar and voila, my new favorite spread was born.
Sometimes kitchen experiments turn out even better than you hoped, and that was certainly the case with this Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto. This stuff is incredible. I licked the food processor bowl clean, and I’m 100% not sorry about it. It’s delightful on crackers with a slice of cheese, but the real magic happens when you slather it on your favorite bread, top it with generous hunks of fresh mozzarella, and grill it in plenty of butter. The resulting grilled cheese will make you want to slap your momma, drop the mic, and declare yourself the queen of summer. Go ahead. Make some for yourself and see if it doesn’t put a swagger in your step.
Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounce jar sundried tomatoes + all the oil in the jar
- 1/4 cup oil + more if needed
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the salt and pulse to combine. If the mixture is having trouble blending, add enough oil to get it to blend to fairly smooth consistency. Taste and season with salt to taste. Serve with crackers and cheese, crostini, or on sandwiches. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.