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Healthy Basil Pesto (Oil-Free & Nut-Free)

This is a much healthier version of Basil Pesto. It’s made with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast instead of cheese, nuts, and oil. It’s super easy and quick to prepare. Make this if you have lots of fresh basil to use up!

Healthy Basil Pesto (Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

This year, my herbs on the balcony are on fire. They are growing fast and are healthy, even the basil plant which is always a bit of a diva (sorry, basil, but you know it, this is not the first time me telling you that you can be a bit difficult from time to time, I mean I appreciate you, you know that, but it would help if you could cooperate more, I love you regardless).

I have this hypothesis: If you plant herbs tightly together and don’t give them enough space, they get into that competitive mode for sunlight, water, and space and grow like crazy. If you give them enough space, they take their time and don’t really bother with growing much. Anyone else has any opinion on this? Let me know in the comments! My herb boxes look more like a battleground and it works really well for me this year.

So I just had the best basil harvest ever and decided to make Basil Pesto BUT not just regular basil pesto. I wanted to create a healthier version. Vegan (obviously so no cheese), no oil, and no nuts.

How to make healthy basil pesto

The ingredients

You will need:

  • LOTS of fresh basil
  • sunflower seeds – usually pine nuts are used in pesto but they are $$$
  • pumpkin seeds – you can skip them but I love to use a mix of seeds
  • nutritional yeast – adds a cheesy flavor without the cheese
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  • water – instead of oil we’re using water. Keep in mind that the pesto won’t keep as long as if it would have been made with oil. So use it fresh!

The basic steps

ingredients for basil pesto in blender
Step 1: Put all the ingredients in a small blender or food processor.
basil pesto in blender
Step 2: Pulse a couple of times until combined. You might have to scrape down the sides.
Basil Pesto with Gnocchi
Serve the pesto with gnocchi, pasta, in grilled cheese sandwiches or on pizza!

Looking for more pesto recipes?

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I hope you enjoy this healthy Basil Pesto as much as I do! Let me know if you give it a try!

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Cheers, Bianca

Healthy Basil Pesto (Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

Healthy Basil Pesto

Elephantastic Vegan
This is a much healthier version of Basil Pesto. It’s made with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast instead of cheese, nuts, and oil. It’s super easy and quick to prepare. Make this if you have lots of fresh basil to use up!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 2 servings
Calories 122 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Place all the ingredients in a small blender or food processor.
  • Pulse a couple of times until it's chopped up and combined. You might have to scrape down the sides.
  • Enjoy it with homemade gnocchi, on pizza, with pasta, or in grilled cheese sandwiches.

Notes

Storage: Fill the pesto into an air-tight container and store it in the fridge if you don’t use it immediately but keep in mind that it won’t last as long as basil made with oil. I would store it 2 days max!

Nutrition

Calories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 8gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 585mgPotassium: 334mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1272IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @elephantasticvegan or tag #elephantasticvegan!
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