I love pesto! On pasta, on chicken, on pizza…you name it. When I went dairy-free and gluten-free I still wanted to have all of those yummy dishes so I had to figure out how to make vegan pesto that still tasted as good as the cheese-filled classic.
Pesto is a classic Italian condiment or sauce (depending on what dish you are making) that celebrates the freshness of the main ingredients involved: basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and usually nuts. My recipe uses pumpkin seeds because they are typically easier to digest, better for the gut, and friendly for people with a nut allergy. This also gives you the illusion of having cheese in the recipe due to the savory quality of the seeds.
Another thing I love about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking or dietary needs. For example, if you are not dairy-free, then throw some sheep’s milk cheese in at the end like a nice pecorino romano. Or if you’d prefer another type of nut, use pinenuts or walnuts instead of the pumpkin seeds. If you like spice, throw some crushed red pepper flakes in. It’s truly a recipe that can become your own canvas.
- 4 ounces basil (washed and picked)
- ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 pinch sea salt (be generous here!)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- Add all of your ingredients except the olive oil to a blender or food processor.
- Blend it up until combined.
- Stream in the olive oil and blend again.
My favorite way to serve this is with gluten-free or grain-free pasta or with a big plate of perfectly ripe tomatoes. On top of salmon is another great meal inspiration for you! This dinner planner would be a great guide to help you decide what to serve your vegan pesto with. I hope you enjoy this vegan pesto as much as I do!