Tired of spending a fortune on pine nuts? Say hello to this Quick Pesto without Pine Nuts. It’s also a lifesaver for those who are allergic to nuts!
This quick pesto without pine nuts comes together with 9 simple ingredients.
It’s a vibrant and flavorful pesto sauce infused with ingredients such as garlic, hard salty cheese and basil leaves and blended with olive oil.
Perfect spread over the base of this Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Flatbread!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Quick to make.
- Cost-effective alternative to traditional pesto.
- Packed with flavor.
- Versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.
- Great alternative for people with nut allergies.
- A budget-friendly option.
- A great marinade for grilled meats and vegetables.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Spinach: Use fresh spinach leaves, baby or larger size. This recipe has not been tested using frozen spinach. Substitute with leafy greens such as kale or arugula.
- Basil: Use fresh basil leaves.
- Garlic cloves: Substitute with two teaspoons of garlic powder.
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly shaved parmesan cheese works best. You can purchase this in packets, not frozen. The parmesan in a shaker will not work.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil to get the best flavor. I don’t recommend substituting this with another oil but if I had to choose, it would be macadamia oil.
- Lemon: It’s best to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and finely grated zest. If you don’t have fresh lemons, substitute with bottled lemon juice and omit the lemon zest.
Step by Step Instructions (with photos)
There is a full and detailed recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step one: In a high-speed food processor, add all ingredients.
Step two: Blend on high for 20-30 seconds until well combined, all leaves have broken down and it’s a thick pesto consistency.
Step three: Pour into a sealed container such as glass or Tupperware to store. Use to make pesto pasta, spread on toasted bread, or serve with eggs or as a dip! Enjoy!
- Blend properly: the pesto must be blended for long enough for it to break down and become a thick pesto consistency. This will take 20-30 seconds in your processor.
- Use a spatula: to scrape down the sides of your food processor to make sure all the ingredients or any stray leaves are incorporated.
- Season to taste: After making the pesto, taste it and add more salt, pepper, or cheese as needed to suit your taste preferences.
- Prevent browning when storing: Place a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent it from browning then cover the container with the lid.
Pesto is a versatile spread that can be used in a variety of dishes, not just pasta. It works well as a marinade for grilled meats and vegetables, as well as a spread for sandwiches and toast.
Some more ways to enjoy a quick pesto without pine nuts:
- Stir it through a cold pasta salad.
- Dressing for a green garden salad.
- Dip for air fryer frozen sweet potato fries or crackers.
- Topping for roasted potatoes such as these crispy garlic smashed potatoes.
- The base for pizzas instead of tomato sauce.
- Marinade for chicken breast.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze pesto by placing the pesto in an airtight container or zip-lock freezer bag, pressing out any excess air, and tightly sealing. Alternatively, freeze pesto in ice cube trays.
Thaw frozen pesto in the refrigerator overnight or on your kitchen counter for 30 minutes – 1 hour until thawed.
TIP: To prevent discoloration when storing and freezing pesto, add a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto before sealing the container or ice cube tray.
The oil will form a barrier between the pesto and the air, helping to prevent oxidation and discoloration.
If you’re using a zip-lock freezer bag, press out as much air as possible before sealing it as air can cause discoloration and oxidation.
It makes 1 1/2 cups which is 13oz or 370g.
Absolutely! If you would still like to include pine nuts, I suggest adding 1/4 cup of pine nuts or another variety such as walnuts, almonds, cashews or pistachios. Or try seeds such as sunflower or sesame!
Yes! Follow the recipe as directed but make it in your blender. Be sure to blend it on high until it breaks down into a thick pesto consistency.
If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️ star rating and a comment review below. I love to hear what you think and it’s much appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Sam x
Quick Pesto without Pine Nuts
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- Zest 1 small lemon
- Juice 1 small lemon
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to season
- In a high-speed food processor or blender, add all ingredients.
- Blend on high for 20-30 seconds until well combined, all leaves have broken down and it’s a thick pesto consistency.
- Pour into a sealed container such as glass or Tupperware to store.
- Use to make pesto pasta, spread on toasted bread, or serve with eggs or as a dip!
- Make it Dairy-Free: Use dairy-free parmesan cheese or any DF hard, salty cheese.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Freeze pesto by placing the pesto in an airtight container or zip-lock freezer bag, pressing out any excess air, and tightly sealing. Alternatively, freeze pesto in ice cube trays.
- Thaw frozen pesto in the refrigerator overnight or on your kitchen counter for 30 minutes – 1 hour until thawed.
- Storing tip: To keep pesto vibrant, add a thin olive oil layer before sealing in a container or ice cube tray. For zip-lock bags, remove excess air to minimize discoloration and oxidation.
First published in November 2018, this recipe was updated in November 2023 to include new step-by-step images, expert recommendations, storage guidelines and more.