Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (2024)

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$2.45 each

by Beth - Budget Bytes


4.75 from 8 votes

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I went all Splurgy McSpurgison on this Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but you know what? It was so worth it. And still a fraction of what it would cost to buy a fancy schmancy sandwich like this at a deli. So here it is. When you need a little splurge in your life, or you just have some leftover pesto that needs to be used up, make this Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes. You won’t regret it.

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (2)

What Kind of Pesto Should I Use?

I used my homemade Kale Pesto for this sandwich, but it works just as well with store-bought pesto, of any flavor.

What Kind of Cheese Should I Use?

I used fresh mozzarella because I love the way it melts, but you can use block or grated mozzarella in its place (that’s usually more affordable as well). Other types of cheese that would work great with pesto are: smoked mozzarella, gruyere, swiss, brie, or white cheddar.

What Kind of Bread Should I Use?

You definitely want to get some sort of sturdy, crusty bread for this sandwich. Pesto is fairly oily in nature, so it will soak right through a delicate sandwich bread. Go for something thick, robust, and sturdy. If you want to make your own, try my No Knead Bread.

Add-Ins for Your Pesto Grilled Cheese

I added some sun dried tomatoes to my Pesto Grilled Cheese, which added a nice sweet-tart pop of flavor against the creamy cheese and salty pesto. The sun dried tomatoes are totally optional, but they do take things to the next level. Some other add-in ideas are: fresh spinach, fresh tomatoes, avocado, roasted red peppers, olives, or ham. OMG, I’m totally drooling right now.

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (3)

Pesto Grilled Cheese

4.75 from 8 votes

Whether you're using up leftover pesto or just want to treat yourself to something special, this Pesto Grilled Cheese is next level!

Author: Beth – Budget Bytes

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (4)

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (5) Servings 1

Prep 5 minutes mins

Cook 10 minutes mins

Total 15 minutes mins

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  • 2 slices hearty bread ($0.75)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 2 Tbsp pesto ($0.42)
  • 2 sun dried tomato pieces ($0.55)
  • 2 oz. mozzarella ($0.60)


  • Spread 1/2 Tbsp butter over one side of each piece of bread. Spread 1 Tbsp pesto over the opposite side of each piece of bread. The butter sides will be facing out on the sandwich and the pesto sides facing in.

  • Cut the sun dried tomatoes into small pieces. Sprinkle them over one of the pesto coated surface of bread. Add the mozzarella on top of the sun dried tomatoes (shred or break the mozzarella into small pieces to facilitate fast melting). Place the other piece of bread on top, pesto side facing in.

  • Place the sandwich in a small skillet and heat over medium-low until golden brown on one side. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, and the cheese is melted on the inside (about 3-5 minutes each side). Serve hot.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 424kcalCarbohydrates: 34.4gProtein: 21.6gFat: 40gSodium: 1141.9mgFiber: 2.7g

Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!
Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (6)

How to Make Pesto Grilled Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (7)

Smear 1/2 Tbsp of butter over one side of two pieces of bread. Flip the bread over and spread 1 Tbsp pesto on the opposite sides. The butter sides will be facing out on the sandwich, and the pesto sides facing in.

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (8)

Cut two pieces of sun dried tomato into small pieces, then sprinkle them over one half of the sandwich.

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (9)

Add 2 oz. mozzarella on top of the sun dried tomatoes. If you’re using shredded mozzarella, add as-is. If you are using slices, break them into small pieces so they’ll melt faster.

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (10)

Close the sandwich by placing the second piece of bread on top, pesto side facing in. Place the sandwich in a skillet and cook over medium-low until the bread is golden brown. Flip the sandwich and cook on the second side until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted on the inside. I find that cooking on a slightly lower heat (medium-low instead of medium) gives the inside time to heat and melt the cheese before the outside burns.

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (11)

Serve while the pesto grilled cheese is still hot and melty!! (And no, I didn’t plan my nail color to match the toothpick! Happy accident!)


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Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes (2024)


Can I use sun dried tomato pesto instead of paste? ›

Mix vinegar, olive oil, chopped herbs and Sundried Tomato Pesto for the perfect salad dressing. 6. Use as a substitute for tomato paste in cottage pie, stews, meatballs, chilli con carne and more…. If you are a Banting fan, then we strongly advise you give this recipe for meatballs a try.

Is sun-dried tomatoes the same as pesto? ›

While nothing like basil, sun-dried tomatoes are actually a great stand-in when it comes to pesto. They're a punchy, sweet-and-savory umami bomb. When paired with walnuts, salty cheese, a few garlic cloves, and plenty of olive oil, you have a fabulous cold-season pesto at the ready.

Can I use sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh? ›

The taste is very similar (if not richer) to fresh tomatoes since we only remove the water content, which means you could use sun-dried tomatoes in any recipe where you could use fresh ones. They also add a chewy texture to the dish, making it more appetizing and less boring.

Can I use sun-dried tomatoes instead of tomato puree? ›

Sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes can create unique and flavorful sauces, spreads, salads and pasta dishes that transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean. “To use as a substitute for tomato paste, soak ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in ⅓ cup boiling water for five minutes," Julie recommends.

Are you not supposed to heat pesto? ›

Yes, pesto can be used straight from the jar and doesn't require cooking or heating. In fact, we actively discourage applying too much heat to pesto, as this will destroy many of the fresh flavours that producers work so hard to retain.

How long does sun dried tomato pesto last after opening? ›

Made according to an authentic Italian recipe, this wonderfully intense pesto captures the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes perfectly. Shake well before use. Once opened keep refrigerated and use within two weeks.

Is sun-dried tomato pesto good for you? ›

Nutrition. Sun dried tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of some health conditions like certain cancers and age-related macular degeneration. Sun dried tomatoes are also a good source of: Vitamin C.

How to use up sundried tomatoes? ›

Sundried tomato recipes
  1. Tuna & sundried tomato pasta bake. ...
  2. Asparagus, sundried tomato & olive loaf. ...
  3. Gluten-free sundried tomato bread. ...
  4. Chicken, green bean & sundried tomato salad with chicken fat croutons. ...
  5. App onlySlow-roasted lemon & tomato butter Savoy with garlic & dill yogurt.

What are the ingredients in Aldi sun-dried tomato pesto? ›

Tomato Purée, Sunflower Oil, Basil (11%), Sundried Tomato (4%), Red Peppers (4%), Grana Padano Pdo Cheese (2%) (Grana Padano Cheese (𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐤), Preservative: Lysozyme (𝐄𝐠𝐠)), 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐰 𝐍𝐮𝐭𝐬 (2%), Carrot, Pecorino Romano Pdo Cheese (𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐤) (1%), Acidity Regulator: Lactic Acid; Pine 𝐍𝐮𝐭𝐬, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt, ...

What is the point of sun-dried tomatoes? ›

Antioxidant Powerhouse: Sun-dried tomatoes are a potent source of antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Heart Health: Studies suggest that regular consumption of lycopene-rich foods like sun-dried tomatoes may lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure.

Should I soak sun-dried tomatoes before use? ›

However, if you do need them soft you can rehydrate by soaking in either warm water or good quality oil (olive oil is most common) for about 10 minutes. Salads and Sandwiches: Rehydrate the tomatoes by marinating in a bit of salad dressing then enjoy tomatoes in your salad in the winter or on a sandwich.

How do you use bagged sun-dried tomatoes? ›

Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small saucepan. Add twice as much water or low-sodium vegetable broth (for example, use 2 cups liquid for 1 cup tomatoes). 2. Turn on heat and bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let them plump for five minutes.

Can I substitute pesto for sun-dried tomatoes? ›

Can I use sun dried tomato pesto as a substitute for sun dried tomatoes? - Quora. Yes in most cases, but the final answer always depends on the recipe. The “pesto” will likely (but not always) contain cheese and certainly oil, and maybe other spices or ingredients, like black olives sometime, and garlic.

Is sun dried tomato paste the same as pesto? ›

Often referred to as pesto Rosso, this sun-dried condiment originated in Italy. It has a vibrant red color and a lovely rich and robust flavor. This differs from traditional pesto because of the addition of the tomatoes, but is just as delicious.

What flavor does sun-dried tomatoes add? ›

Sundried tomatoes impart a smoky flavor with hints of tobacco. They can be covered with virgin olive oil, for later use. Or, soak in warm water until moist and pliable for immediate use. Add to your favorite sauces, stews and warm vegetable dishes.

Is tomato pesto the same as tomato paste? ›

There's a little difference between pesto and paste. Usually pesto recipes call for parmesan cheese and garlic, and their consistency is runny and more suitable for pasta recipes. Instead, paste recipes don't use cheese, the garlic is optional, and the consistency is more stiff and less runny.

Is red pesto the same as sun dried tomato paste? ›

Instead, it is similar to tomato paste and that's exactly what it is mostly made of. However, the tomatoes aren't just your regular tomatoes. The tomatoes are sun-dried tomatoes. There are two kinds of pesto in the supermarket: green pesto made from basil leaves and red pesto made from sun-dried tomatoes.

Can you make tomato paste from dehydrated tomatoes? ›

Homemade tomato paste is easy to achieve with the use of tomato powder. Reconstituting dehydrated tomato peels with water to make an easy, and quite delicious, homemade tomato paste is achievable. Plus, you'll never have to worry about wasting a can of tomato paste any longer!

What is sun dried tomato paste used for? ›

A spoonful of sun-dried tomato paste adds a concentrated richness to all sorts of dishes. Swirl it over pizza dough before adding your toppings, dollop it into sauces and soups or spread it over ciabatta for the ultimate mozzarella panini.

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