Tomato Almond Pesto

Tomato almond pesto

Dinner with friends is a lovely way to wrap up the weekend and welcome the work week.  It’s also a great excuse to crank out a new recipe and finally linger in the kitchen (still feeling that hiatus).  The weather in the Bay Area was sunny all weekend, and it finally started to feel like spring.  Coupled with the sunshine, I tend to crave vegetables so I decided to make a fresh tomato pesto pasta.

According to the recipe head notes, tomato almond pesto is still an Italian pesto – a different spin on the usual basil and pine nuts variety.  This red pesto originates from Trapani, Italy, a village on the western tip of Sicily.  Nice to know that it’s still authentic and tastes just as delicious as green pesto.

Tomato almond pesto

Pasta with Tomato Almond Pesto
Adapted from:  The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011

To quicken the process, I purchased a bag of oven roasted slivered almonds – the sort that sprinkles over a salad.  I also had a difficult time finding fresh pepperoncini (banana peppers), yet was able to buy a small handful at the deli section of my grocery store.  For my recipe, I used whole wheat spaghetti and also tossed in some sun dried tomatoes at the end.      

1/4 cup of almonds, slivered
12 oz. cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepperoncini, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lb. spaghetti
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

In a food processor, blend the almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, and salt for one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the container.  Run the processor on low while slowly drizzling in the olive oil.

Prepare and cook the spaghetti as instructed on the packaging.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta’s cooking water.  In a large pot on low heat, stir the pesto sauce and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese into the cooked pasta.  Pour in the cooking water as needed until the desired consistency is reached.  Ensure that the pesto sauce coats the pasta.

Serve garnished with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 4


This post is part of Meatless Monday by Vegan Mother Hubbard.

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  • Sandra Kohlmann

    This looks crazy good. I’m going to put it on my menu for next week. Here in Wisconsin, there’s no option to get good, fresh tomatoes at this time of year, but I’m quite certain that this would work with organic, canned tomatoes. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    • I’m pretty sure the canned tomatoes will produce a richer tomato taste that fresh ones don’t quite have. Can’t wait to hear how it goes and thanks again for hosting the Meatless Monday hop!

  • I think the only time I have ever seen pepperoncini is in a jar at the grocery store. I’m so jealous of Californians ability to find fresh local products year round. When I was in San Fran in November I was amazed at their farmers market. It was like a tally of our full year’s worth of farmers markets at the same time.

    • Thanks for stopping by Miriam. I think sometimes I do take it for granted with our continual access to produce and local farmers. Did you go to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in SF? That really is one of the best that I’ve been to, as well.

  • Shawn Maye

    I’d never heard of red pesto until your post…I can’t wait to make this dish!

    • Hi Shawn, I never heard of it until I saw it in my recipe book either. I guess you can make a “pesto” in very different ways by mixing up the nuts. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Like Miriam, I’m a little jealous of Californians able to get fresh produce all year long. It’s just not the same here in the northeast. When my friend from CA sent me those lemons they were so much better than any I can purchase here in CT. Now back to the recipe, I’m going to have to try it. It looks so tasty and simple. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Oh my gosh Pauline this looks so delicious! I loooove pesto and can’t wait to try this variation :)