This 5 Minute Sun-Dried Tomato Spread is dairy free, creamy and chock full of garlicky goodness. It’s great as a spread on crackers or as a topping for pasta!
So I recently entered an Instagram cooking contest for California Sun Dry, sun-dried tomatoes and I was selected as the winner! I submitted my Dairy Free Sun-Dried Tomato and Chicken Quesadillas into the contest and it was lucky number one. Head over to that blog post if you want the recipe!
As part of the prize, I got a basket of all types of sun-dried tomato goodies. The basket included sun-dried tomatoes in oil, smoked sun-dried tomatoes in a baggy, a mini recipe book, sun-dried tomato pesto and more. So needless to say, I have a lot of sun-dried tomatoes and I need to figure out what to do with all of them. P.S. keep your eyes peeled for future recipes with sun dried tomatoes!
Love sun-dried tomatoes? Try out this dipping oil from World Market…I LOVE World Market. Learn more about that love affair in this Baked Chicken Thighs post!
In order to make use of all the sun-dried tomatoes, I made this easy 5 minute spread. I’m calling it a spread here, but you could really use it in a multitude of ways…more on that below. If you use it as a spread, it makes a great afternoon snack. Most weeks Tim gets multigrain crackers from Trader Joe’s to eat with cheddar and pepperoni (he gets turkey pepperoni as a healthy swap!). The other day I put this spread on there for him with the cheese and crackers and pepperoni and it took that snack to a whole new level! If you’re looking to amp up your afternoon snack, I highly recommend using this as a spread or dip.
So what else can you use this spread for?
As I mentioned it’s super multipurpose. So yes, you can use it as a spread on crackers, but you can also use it in these ways:
- Bagels or Toast: Skip the cream cheese and use this instead! It’s got the same creamy texture as smooth cheese but it’s vegan and easy on the tummy!
- Puff Pastry Tart: For a simple appetizer, buy some puff pastry and smear an even layer of sun dried tomato spread on it. Top with thinly sliced veggies like zucchini or eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake according to the package instructions. Cut into bite sized squares and serve it at your next party!
- Pasta Sauce: This is great tossed on spaghetti!
- I like using brown rice spaghetti as a healthy swap. It’s also the alternative to regular pasta that I think tastes most like it.
If you watch cooking shows on Food Network or elsewhere, you’ll see that they add pasta water to their pasta sauces. You’re probably wondering why they do that, right? Why not just add regular water or chicken broth or wine or something? Well, the starch in the pasta is what helps to thicken the sauce. It really coats the pasta and also helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
- Pro Tips for cooking pasta:
- Save a cup of the pasta boiling water. Add your preferred amount of sun dried tomato spread on the pasta and gradually stir in the pasta water until it forms a silky sauce. You want to use pasta boiling water because it’s thickened from the pasta/grain starch, so it helps the sauce stick to pasta better than plain water or broth.
- When you strain the pasta, always rinse it with cold water. This will keep it from clumping together or continuing to cook from the leftover steam/heat in the pasta. If you rinse it will always be a perfect al dente.
- If you choose to use brown rice pasta, be sure to stir it every 1-2 minutes while it’s boiling. Brown rice pasta tends to stick together if you don’t stir it. Also be sure to add salt and olive oil to the water before boiling it.
As you guys know, I’m always looking for dairy free alternatives. Nuts are a great substitute for cream and also an excellent source of healthy fats. I used almonds but pine nuts or macadamia nuts would be really good in here too. I like walnuts a lot, but I wouldn’t recommend it for this recipe because walnuts have a high fat content, albeit healthy fat. Because the sun-dried tomatoes are already soaked in oil, adding walnuts to it will leave you with an oily, slick texture. The almonds do a great job of soaking up the oil from the sun- dried tomatoes without making the spread oily.
Tips for getting a creamy texture (even with an older blender):
Newer blenders are super powerful but usually super expensive. If you have an older blender that needs a little nudge it will be hard to get the spread really smooth. Odds are you’ll end up with some big nut chunks, which is not what you’re going for, right? What I recommend doing here is soaking the nuts. Soaking will break down the crunch and make for a smoother texture.
You want to put those almonds in a bowl, cover them with water and leave them on the counter to soak for one to two hours. Then just strain, rinse and add it to the recipe as noted in the instructions. Alternatively you can put the almonds in some storage containers, cover with water and let it soak in fridge overnight. In the morning you can rinse and strain them, then follow the recipe instructions. Tip: Soaking nuts and letting them sprout is also great for digestion. Check out this super informative article on sprouting nuts from Bethany over at the Lilsipper blog!
P.S. If you’re in the market for a new blender, check out this Oster blender from Target. I have an Oster blender that’s a little older but still really powerful!
- 3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil Just use the tomatoes and pour off excess oil
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves only Pluck the leaves from the stem
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup almonds (see tip for old blenders in post)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add all of the ingredients to a blender. Puree 1-2 minutes until a thick and creamy spread is formed. Enjoy!
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