Sicilian Almond Tomato Pesto

This almond tomato pesto is simple to make and full of fresh Mediterranean flavours. You’ll need just a handful of ingredients and 15 minutes to make this delicious vegan red pesto recipe!

Almond tomato pesto pasta in a bowl.

When you think of pesto you usually think of the green stuff, right? And when you think of red pesto you might imagine the kind with sun-dried tomatoes. Well, this almond tomato pesto is neither of those things but definitely one you’ll want to try if you haven’t already!

This almond tomato pesto recipe comes from Sicily and great for stingy vegans such as myself as there’s no need for exorbitantly expensive pine nuts and large amounts of basil (when my basil plants aren’t growing that stuff’s expensive!).

Like most of the other vegan Italian recipes I have on this blog, the beauty of this recipe comes from its simplicity and the quality of the ingredients. Since the pesto isn’t cooked, it’s really a recipe best made in summer when fresh tomatoes are at their most delicious.

A close-up of vegan almond tomato pesto pasta in a bowl.

I’ve seen versions of this recipe made with both cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes and if it’s summer you can take your pick. If using plum tomatoes, other recipes suggest peeling and deseeding them first in order to not water down the pesto too much.

That’s not necessary with cherry tomatoes as their skin is tender and they don’t contain too much water. And if you’re making this recipe outside of peak tomato season, cherry tomatoes are probably your best bet as they tend to be a bit more flavourful than other varieties available at that time of year.

Be sure to pick up raw almonds to make the base of this pesto. I used whole, peeled almonds and toasted them to coax out a bit more flavour. You can also use sliced or slivered almonds, and if you have almonds with the skin still on you’ll want to blanch and peel them first.

Almond tomato pesto pasta served in a bowl with a fork in it.

So to make this vegan red pesto it’s simply a question of pulsing all the ingredients together in a food processor. I have seen recipes where the ingredients are completely pureed to resemble the usual basil pesto but I like it better with texture, it makes it more interesting!

Normally when I make vegan pesto I replace the cheese with a bit of miso paste for that same sort of savoury, umami flavour. I think this almond tomato pesto is delicious just how it is but feel free to add some nutritional yeast if you want a bit of cheesiness!

Wanna see how easy this almond tomato pesto pasta is to make? Watch the video:

Almond tomato pesto pasta in a bowl.

Sicilian Almond Tomato Pesto

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This almond tomato pesto is simple to make and full of fresh Mediterranean flavours. You’ll need just a handful of ingredients and 15 minutes to make this delicious vegan red pesto recipe!


  • 250 grams (9 oz) pasta of choice
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) raw almonds
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • A small bunch (20 grams / ¾ oz) fresh basil
  • 450 grams (16 oz) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • Pepper, to taste


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve some of the cooking water just in case.
  2. Toast the almonds in a pan over medium heat. Stir them regularly so that they don’t burn.
  3. Transfer the almond to a food processor along with the garlic and red chili flakes. Pulse until broken down into chunky crumbs. Add the basil, cherry tomatoes and salt and pulse a few more times to chop up the tomatoes.
  4. Transfer the mix to a bowl and add the olive oil. Stir to combine then add the cooked pasta and combine well. If it seems a little dry you can add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water.
  5. Add pepper to taste and serve hot or at room temperature.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 511Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 538mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g

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