Nut-Free Basil Pesto Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 1 cup
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup hulled roasted sunflower seeds
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt to taste
  1. Place the basil, sunflower seeds, cheese, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the ingredients finely chopped, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the oil and process for another minute, or until smooth. Add salt to taste. For a smoother texture, add a little extra olive oil.
To make vegan, substitute 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast for the Parmesan cheese.

If you want to freeze your basil pesto, leave out the cheese. Portion the cheese-free pesto into an ice cube tray, cover, and freeze. Once frozen, remove the pesto cubes from the tray and store them in a tightly wrapped glass container, or a zip top plastic bag, in the freezer. When you’re ready to use your sauce, defrost a cube or two and add the grated Parmesan.
Recipe by Jennifer Tyler Lee at