A classic, Italian, no cook sauce. Sicilian Tomato Pesto Sauce is delicious mixed with pasta, serve with meatballs or with simple crusty bread. Also called Pesto alla Trapanese, this lesser known sauce is tomato based with almonds and naturally sweet versus the basil pesto that we know so well.

Sicilian tomato pesto sauce in a jar with a plate of pasta

Sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil garlic and almonds along with a little tang from Pecorino Romano makes for a well-balanced tomato sauce. If you’re not familiar with Pecorino Romano cheese, it looks like Parmesan, but it is a sheep’s milk cheese that has a stronger flavor which is perfect for grating into sauces and adding an extra flavor boost.

I have  seen recipes that use ricotta instead of Pecorino Romano which results in a creamier sauce with a milder flavor and this is a delicious option if you don’t want to use Pecorino.

Rigatoni and Sicilian pesto sauce in a white bowl

Seasonal cherry tomatoes are perfect for this Sicilian Tomato Pesto Sauce. I have also made it with tomatoes on the vine and Roma which are also delicious. Just make sure they are very ripe for maximum sweetness and flavor.

When it comes to the texture of the sauce, it can be blended to be slightly chunky (you will get little bits of the almonds) or smooth. I like it a little chunky.

Rigatoni and Sicilian pesto on a fork

I prefer to make this pesto a day ahead of when I’m going to use it because it tastes better the next day after the flavors have a chance to meld and develop. It can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week or freeze for 3 months.

If you can’t find slivered almonds, roasted, unsalted almonds will work fine. I don’t even peel them, and it comes out just fine. If you do want them peeled/blanched, I have an easy method for doing this > How To Peel/Blanch Almonds.

If you can’t find them already roasted, preheat oven to 350°F/180°C, spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes for the slivered, 10-12 for whole. Slivered will roast up faster than whole almonds so keep an eye on them.

If you have made this Sicilian Tomato Pesto Sauce, please leave a comment below and let me know how it turned out.

Yield: 2 cups/500 ml

Sicilian Tomato Pesto Sauce

A jar filled with Sicilian Tomato Pesto Sauce

Sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil garlic and almonds along with a little tang from Pecorino Romano .

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1/3 cup (42 grams) slivered or roasted, unsalted almonds (see note)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 5 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1-pound (454 grams) cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (6 grams) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup (50 ml) olive oil


  1. Add the almonds, garlic and cheese to a blender or food processor and pulse until the almonds are chopped. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Pulse until the tomatoes are chopped. With the blender running, drizzle in the olive oil.
  2. Transfer to sealed jars. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week or freeze for 3 months.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 248Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 7mgSodium 357mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 4gSugar 3gProtein 10g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.