Even at a young age I have always loved pesto. What’s not to like? It has fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, lemon, all of my favorite ingredients blended together in one single sauce. The weird green color turns some people away from this wonderful dish, but don’t let it. Pesto is healthy and not lacking in amazing flavor. It’s not just a pasta sauce. You can add it to vegetables or bake it with chicken or seafood. There are endless combinations for this sauce.
So if you are not familiar with pesto, the base is fresh basil. Some people like to use kale or arugula but a traditional pesto uses basil and I think the basil gives so much more flavor. Customarily, pesto also contains parmesan cheese but since this is a dairy free pesto that ingredient is omitted. Instead, I included pine nuts to achieve the nutty flavor that the parmesan adds to this recipe.
The Best Dairy Free Pesto
Now you may be thinking why am I releasing a semi-summer recipe in the middle of autumn (or fall as we like to call it in the south). Because anytime is a good time for pesto, that’s why! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fall recipe but sometimes you just need a light and fresh dish. It doesn’t matter the season, I can eat pesto anytime. And the great thing about it is that even in the middle of winteru can always find fresh basil. Not to mention this sauce doesn’t have to cook or simmer. No cooking is necessary for this easy recipe. All you have to do is add everything to a food processor. That is my kind of meal. Little prep and minimal clean up.
A great tip that I usually do is to make it and then refrigerate to use on roasted vegetables, pasta, or a protein during the week. Just let the pesto sit out and get to room temperature before using. When olive oil is refrigerated, it becomes solid. So not to worry, it will defrost and taste the exact same!
The Best Dairy Free Pesto
- Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- juice from half a lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- Rinse basil and remove leaves from stems.
- Add all ingredients into a food processor except for olive oil.
- Turn on high and slowly pour in olive oil. You may have to use a spoon to push the ingredients from the sides of the food processor several times before everything is combined.
- Blend until all the olive oil has been added and the pine nuts are finely ground.
- Add to whatever you like!
* Pesto will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for 3 months. Allow to thaw to room temperature before serving.