Full disclosure: I have no idea what pesto made with nuts is supposed to taste like or if this pumpkin seed nut-free pesto resembles it in any way, but in my opinion, pesto without nuts tastes pretty good.
Pesto is normally made with pine nuts, cheese, basil and garlic, but this is a pesto recipe without pine nuts, or any other nuts, making it completely nut-free.
Pesto is also really quick to make. You throw the toasted pumpkin seeds, basil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and parmesan into a food processor and blitz them. Then, while the food processor is running, you slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil and continue blending until you get an even consistency (or a consistency to your liking!).
The directions for making this pesto means you end up with a pesto that is a little chunkier. So, to create a smoother texture, you could add more oil, or, blitz the ingredients one at a time from hardest (pumpkin seeds and garlic) to softest (herbs, cheese, olive oil and lemon) to help get a smoother consistency.
And P.S. it’s a great way to use up any pumpkin seeds you have leftover from Halloween activities.
What can you do with a nut-free pesto?
You can do heaps!
- Stir it through pasta with some pasta cooking water to make a sauce
- Spoon it on top of fish
- Stir it through pasta salad
- Stir it through boiled, pan-fried or roasted potatoes
- Place dollops on top of a pizza, or use it as the pizza base instead of a tomato sauce
- Spread it on a sandwich or roll
How do I store this pumpkin seed nut-free pesto?
You can store the pesto in an airtight jar, with a thin film of oil on top for around five days in the fridge. The oil helps stop the pesto from going brown and rancid.
Or you can freeze it by trying one of two methods:
Method 1: Ziplock bag
Transfer all the pesto into a zip lock bag flattening out the pesto into a sheet. Make sure you also force all the air out of the bag. This will help it freeze quickly, save space and you can just break off the amount you want when you need it from your frozen sheet of pesto.
Method 2: Ice cube tray
Divide the pesto into an ice cube tray and place the tray in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once mostly frozen, pop the pesto cubes out and transfer them to an airtight container or ziplock bag (you can see an example in the image below).
Make sure you set yourself a reminder to do the transfer bit otherwise you might have a really hard time getting the pesto out of the ice cube tray!
Super quick nut-free pesto made with pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts.
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (see notes)
1 cup fresh basil
½ cup fresh parsley (stems are ok to include)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup finely grated parmesan
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the toasted pumpkin seeds, basil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and parmesan to a food processor and blitz
- While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil and continue blending until you get an even consistency (you are looking for fine chunks). You may have to stop the food processor and scrape the sides down a couple of times
- Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper to your liking
To toast your pumpkin seeds, place them in a cold pan on turn the heat onto medium. Shake the pan occasionally to move the pumpkin seeds around so they don’t burn. They will be toasted when the colour changes slightly and they give off a slight toasted smell. You may find some of the seeds start popping too. This shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes.
Changing the texture. The directions for making it ends up with a pesto that is a little chunkier, so you could add more oil to create a smoother texture or blitz the ingredients one at a time from hardest to softest to help get a smoother consistency.