This fresh, nut free, dairy free basil and spinach pesto is so flavoursome, really easy and quick to make! A great addition to pasta, it is also vegan and gluten free!
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Pesto is a staple ingredient in most households, it certainly is in ours! It’s so versatile and you will find yourself dolloping it on everything, not just pasta!
Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Technically pine nuts are not actually part of the tree nut family, they are considered a seed, however although rarer than a tree nut allergy, it is still possible to be allergic to pine nuts.
When looking in the supermarket for a dairy free pesto, I found that most brands had substituted the pine nuts for cashews or another tree nut, so made it my mission to re-create this herby, cheesy, kids favourite into an allergy friendly version. This was where the nut free, dairy free basil and spinach pesto was born!
Looking for other kid friendly dinners? Take a look at my kids chicken teriyaki style noodles, dairy & egg free homemade chicken goujons & dairy free, chicken, bacon & mushroom pie with potato topping.
- Fresh Basil - The pesto staple! Adds a fresh, herby flavour and that beautiful bright green colour!
- Baby Spinach - Packed full of iron, fibre and potassium. It also contains chlorophyll which research shows may have anti cancer properties.
- Sunflower Seeds - I have used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, these make a great nut free alternative and are so good for you.
- Nutritional Yeast - The parmesan has been substituted for nutritional yeast in this recipe, it really brings the cheesy, nutty taste of pesto to life. This ingredient is a great staple for a vegan diet.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Use the best olive oil you can. I love this one from Filippo Berio.
- Fresh Lemon Juice
Scroll to recipe card for quantities.
How To Make
This really is the most simple recipe! You literally put everything in a food processor and blitz until smooth!
Wash the basil and spinach and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Put the basil leaves, baby spinach, sunflower seeds, chopped garlic & lemon juice into a food processor.
Pulse until it starts to break down and come together. Add the olive oil slowly, a little bit at a time and pulse until the sunflower seeds have broken down and the mixture resembles a thick paste.
Season with salt & pepper to your preference.
Hint: You may want to tear off the stalks on the bigger baby spinach leaves as these can have quite a bitter taste!
Substitutions & Variations
- Sunflower Seeds - If you don’t need to avoid nuts, you can substitute the sunflower seeds for the same amount of cashew nuts or use traditional pine nuts.
- Herbs- Not a fan of spinach? No problem, just leave out the spinach and double the amount of basil!
- Cheese - If dairy isn’t a problem for you, swap the nutritional yeast for a good quality parmesan.
A food processor like this one is a fab addition to any kitchen!
If not serving immediately, simply place the pesto in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge like this for 3-4 days.
To freeze, put the pesto mixture into ice cube trays and pop in the freezer. You can then use as many cubes as you like when needed to mix into pasta or soup.
The list is endless!
* Mix through some cooked pasta for an easy midweek dinner.
* Spoon over grilled chicken or fish, salmon goes beautifully with pesto.
* Mix a spoonful with some mayo and use as a spread in a sandwich with some roasted peppers and halloumi.
* Toss through green vegetables like broccoli and green beans, this will make the veg much more appetising for fussy easters!
* Drizzle over my Garlic & Rosemary Mini Hasselback Potatoes.
Traditionally, pesto contains parmesan cheese so is not vegan, however as I have substituted this for nutritional yeast in this recipe, vegans can enjoy it too!
I’d love to know what you think of this recipe! Please rate and leave a comment below.
Nut Free Dairy Free Basil & Spinach Pesto
- 50 g fresh basil
- 50 g baby spinach stalks removed
- 30 g sunflower seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 30 ml fresh lemon juice
- salt & pepper to taste
- Wash the basil and spinach and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Put the basil leaves, baby spinach, sunflower seeds, chopped garlic & lemon juice into a food processor.
- Pulse until it starts to break down and come together. Add the olive oil slowly, a little bit at a time and pulse until the sunflower seeds have broken down and the mixture resembles a thick paste.
- Season with salt & pepper to your preference.
Let me know what you think of this recipe!