This homemade nut-free pesto is made with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic. It's a quick, easy, and versatile condiment that's ready in less than 10 minutes and is completely safe for those with nut allergies.
If you or your loved ones suffer from a nut allergy, you likely already have experience scouring the labels of pesto containers at the store, hoping for a safe nut-free version. This pesto without nuts eliminates that concern so that you can enjoy the flavors of this classic condiment without worry. Go on, spread it on turkey ciabatta sandwiches, twirl into pasta, and drizzle it over roasted vegetables with reckless abandon.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Basil--Fresh basil should be brightly colored and fragrant. It doesn't like to be cold, so don't store it in your fridge. Discard any brown, mushy, or shriveled leaves.
- Parmesan--Don't use pre-shredded Parmesan cheese here. The texture is too coarse. Grate it by hand from a block of Parmesan.
- Olive oil--Use a good-quality olive oil for best results.
How to Make Nut-Free Pesto
- Combine the basil leaves and garlic in a food processor. Blitz until coarsely chopped.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse a few times to incorporate.
- With the processor running, pour the oil through the feed tube.
- Process until the pesto is smooth.
How to Use Nut-Free Basil Pesto
Homemade basil nut-free pesto is a great condiment to keep on hand as it's a terrific way to add flavor to pantry staples, or to elevate your meals. Here are a few suggestions for how to use pesto:
- Use it as a sandwich spread, like on this turkey caprese panini
- Stir it into pasta
- Dollop atop pizza, or use it instead of pizza sauce
- Stir it into soups
- Toss it with roasted potatoes
- Mix it with sour cream or Greek yogurt to make a quick dip
It's entirely up to you. Blanching the basil will preserve the bright green color, however, the blanching process will mute the flavor of the basil. I prefer for the flavor to shine, so I don't blanch my basil when I'm making pesto, but you absolutely can.
Yes. You've got a couple of choices here. You can whisk everything together in a medium bowl, adding the oil slowly while whisking, to create a smooth emulsion, or place everything in a lidded jar and shake until smooth and creamy. Regardless of which method you choose, you will need to make sure your basil is very finely chopped (use a sharp knife to avoid bruising the basil), the Parmesan is very finely grated, and the basil is finely minced or grated before mixing.
Yes. You can freeze pesto for up to 6 months. For easily accessible portions, divvy the pesto among the wells of an ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Pop the pesto cubes into a resealable bag and stash in the freezer. Alternatively, you can freeze large portions of the pesto in freezer safe containers or resealable plastic bags.
Tips and Troubleshooting
- Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.
- This nut-free pesto recipe is suitable for gluten-free and vegetarian diets.
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- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup (118 ml) olive oil
- Combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the s-blade. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 15 1-second pulses.
- Add the Parmesan and pulse a couple of times to combine.
- With the food processor running, pour the oil through the feed tube and process until mixed, about 30 seconds. Stop the food processor, scrape down the sides, and process again until smooth, about 10 seconds more.
- Season to taste with salt.
- Storage and freezing--Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Dietary--This nut-free pesto recipe is suitable for gluten-free and vegetarian diets.