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Nut-Free Pesto

Ok, so I am a huge fan of pesto and enjoying experimenting with different herb and nut combinations. Unfortunately, my girlfriend is highly allergic to tree nuts and has never eaten pesto. Can you imagine?

Well, anyways, I've considered using toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds as a replacement, but have yet to actually conduct that test.

Does anyone know of any good, basic, pesto recipes that are completely nut free? Thanks!

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  1. When I 'googled' nut-free pesto, I found lots of options using pinto bean, sunflowers etc. That reminded me that I ran out of pine-nuts once and used leftover brown rice to get some of the same texture in my basil pesto. It worked there largely because the garlic is strong enough to compensate for the loss of 'nutty' flavour and brown rice does have abit of that, too.

    1. My SO is deathly allergic to peanuts and pinenuts, so pesto's usually out.

      I usually go the way that [cheap] restaurants go: I replace the pine nuts with Parmesan.

      1. I think you could make a basil pesto and just omit the pine nuts but if you want to try something different try adding a few sundried tomatoes to the pesto - it adds great flavor.

        1. Just omit nuts--they're there more for texture than for taste.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Erika L

            they're in there for fat and as a binder. adding grated cheese will do the dame thing. i've stopped using garlic in mine though as the raw flavor of it is simply too strong and off-putting.

            just whizz some basil with great olive oil and lemon zest, little salt and pepper. delish and very fresh/clean tasting.

          2. this may sound odd, but i've used powdered (ground to a powder) oatmeal and a little low-fat cream cheese in pesto, or just use the oatmeal with a little extra olive oil... it adds a little earthiness to the flavor and bulks up the texture a little.