How to Make Tomato Herb Pesto

Interested in a twist on the traditional pesto recipe? Look no further than your tomato patch for a way to create a new flavor that will liven up any dish!

Think sweet. Think slightly salty. And think earthy herb bliss.

I used cherry tomatoes to make this recipe, because they are sweeter than the larger tomatoes and we have a lot of them available in the garden this time of year. My favorite is Sun Gold because I love their cheery orange color and they are the most flavorful of any cherry tomato that we’ve grown.

But this recipe is completely versatile and you can use whatever tomatoes you have available.

Using the ingredients below yielded me enough for a small container, which will last us for a while. Double or triple ingredients for larger batches.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 30 Cherry Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBS Sea Salt
  • Other herbs of choice

Dehydrating the Tomatoes & Herbs

For this recipe, you’ll be drying the tomatoes, basil and any other herbs you want to blend in. To do this, I used our dehydrator, but if you don’t own one you can also use your oven to prepare everything.

Wash and slice the tomatoes in half, then dip them lightly in olive oil before placing them cut side up on your dehydrator trays. I like to cover the trays with parchment paper to keep anything from falling or dripping through.

Sprinkle the tomatoes with your favorite herbs. I used a garlic, lemon & oregano mix I already had. Some other options would be thyme, rosemary or cilantro.

Now your tomatoes are ready to be dried. Set the temperature on your dehydrator to 135. It can take anywhere between 12-24 hours for your tomatoes to be fully dried, depending on the kind of dehydrator you use. It’ll take a little longer than normal due to the olive oil. Check them after 12 hours. If they are still pliable let them go until they are fully dried.

If you’re using an oven, set your temp on the lowest setting. Tomatoes should be fully dried in 6-8 hours.

I dried our basil in the oven, because it doesn’t take very long to get a large batch dried at once. I’ll usually store the dried basil in mason jars with a lid until I’m ready to use it.

To dry fresh basil in the oven, set your temp to the lowest setting. Spread your basil leaves out on a baking sheet pan and bake for up to two hours. Basil should be brittle to the touch.

Mixing it all together

Once your basil and tomatoes are dry, it’s time to process and mix everything together!

I use our Bullet mixer to grind everything up. This makes it super simple and quick. You can also use a coffee grinder or food processor.

Grind up your tomatoes until they are processed down to a coarse mix. Because we dipped them in olive oil, they’ll likely be a little clumpy, which is okay.

Add a tablespoon of sea salt. Also add a couple pinches of dried basil (more if you want). Then grind everything together until well blended.

Store in a small glass container with a lid. Give it a shake every week to prevent clumping.

How to use Tomato Herb Pesto

This dried herb “pesto” will go great in so many dishes. You’re only limited by your imagination. But here are a couple ideas…

  • Sprinkle on grilled chicken or fish
  • Incorporate in pasta, especially a carbonara or linguine dish
  • Use to top off bruschetta
  • Sprinkle on scrambled eggs
  • Bake into bread, especially sourdough
  • Mix into your salad dressing, cottage cheese or guacamole

Enjoy!

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