Easy Nut Free Basil Pesto Recipe

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Looking for a delicious nut-free pesto recipe? You’ve come to the right place! This authentic Italian basil pesto is a nut-free version perfect for those with nut allergies or if you simply don’t have pine nuts on hand.

jar of pesto sauce with spoonful balancing on top

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A good pesto sauce is one of my favorite things. I love it tossed with freshly cooked pasta, spread on toast, or drizzled over a caprese salad. While traditional basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts you can easily make a nut-free pesto if you don’t have them on hand or you are cooking for someone with nut allergies. This easy recipe requires just a few simple ingredients and a food processor.

Why I love this recipe

I love how versatile this delicious sauce is and that I only need a handful of ingredients and 5 minutes to whip it up. One of the best things about making fresh pesto over jarred versions as the grocery store is the ability to customize it to your own taste. I also love that it is a great way to use up the surplus of basil I end up with out of the garden. 

What is pesto?

Pesto is a type of sauce that originated in Italian cuisine. It is traditionally made by blending together fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, and olive oil. The word “pesto” comes from the Italian word “pestare,” which means “to pound” or “to crush,” referring to the traditional method of using a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients together.

The primary ingredient in pesto is basil, which gives the sauce its distinctive flavor and aroma. Along with basil, garlic adds a pungent and savory element, while in traditional pesto pine nuts provide a nutty flavor and a creamy texture.

Parmesan or Pecorino cheese adds richness and saltiness to the sauce, and olive oil helps to bring all the ingredients together and create a smooth consistency. This nut free pesto recipe omits the pine nuts without sacrificing flavor.

Ingredients

  • fresh basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • garlic cloves
  • salt

Step by step

This recipe is so easy! Just add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth being sure to scrape down the sides as needed.

Variations

  • If you don’t have enough basil throw some baby spinach leaves into the pesto, it keeps that bright green color, won’t affect the taste, and is an easy way to substitute if you your basil plants are a little short!
  • You can use all Parmesan cheese or all Pecorino Romano cheese instead of a combination of the two. If you use all Parmesan, taste it before adding the salt as Parmesan is saltier than the Romano.
  • You can adjust the thickness of the sauce with the amount of olive oil you use.
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto replaces or combines basil with sun-dried tomatoes. The sun-dried tomatoes give the pesto a rich, sweet-tart flavor.
  • Cilantro pesto is made by using cilantro leaves instead of basil. It offers a unique and vibrant flavor. Along with garlic, cheese, and olive oil, you can add a squeeze of lime juice to enhance the fresh and zesty taste.
  • Arugula pesto uses peppery arugula leaves as the base instead of basil. The rest of the ingredients remain similar to the traditional recipe. Arugula adds a slightly spicy and bitter note to the pesto.

Serving suggestions

There are so many ways to use pesto! Pesto is often used as a sauce for pasta dishes, but it can also be used as a spread on bread or as a topping for meats, fish, or vegetables. You can use it as a salad dressing, or to top caprese salad or caprese skewers. My favorite way to enjoy fresh basil pesto is as a spread on toast.

Storage

Store leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Pesto freezes very well! I usually freeze pesto in ice cube trays then transfer the pesto ice cubes to a freezer bag to have small serving sized portions. You can also freeze the pesto flat in a freezer bag and break off whatever size you want when ready to use (this way thaws more quickly too.)

If you try this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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jar of pesto sauce with spoonful balancing on top

Easy Nut Free Basil Pesto Recipe


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5 from 1 review

Description

Looking for a delicious nut-free pesto recipe? You’ve come to the right place! This authentic Italian basil pesto is a nut-free version perfect for those with nut allergies or if you simply don’t have pine nuts on hand.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3040 fresh basil leaves
  • ⅔ cup freshly shredded Romano cheese
  • ½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: none
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 257
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Sodium: 579.1 mg
  • Fat: 26.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.9 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 6.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 18.4 mg

STRESS-FREE

AND DELICIOUS?

DO YOU WANT DINNER TO BE

Its easy! I will show you how.

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