Nut Free and Dairy Free Pesto Recipe (Vegan, Top 8 Free)

Nut Free, Dairy Free, Vegan Pesto

If you have a copy of our Corn Free, Top 8 Allergy Free cookbook, you’ve seen an easy way to make nut free pesto. Today I’m going to show you a different way that adds more depth of flavor. If you’re corn free, you may be able to enjoy this version of top 8 free pesto if you’re able to source safe ingredients. Traditionally, pesto contains pine nuts, and sometimes dairy too. This recipe for dairy free pesto will be just as tasty as the traditional version, and it’s easy to make in your blender.

Fun fact! Did you know that officially, pine nuts are technically a seed but we classify them as a nut, and they’re avoided by people with a nut allergy. You can read more about a tree nut allergy in this article, Hidden Sources of Tree Nuts.

Allergy Status

Free From: Wheat/Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy, Tree Nut (including Coconut), Peanut, Fish, Shellfish, Top 8 Allergens, Sesame, Apple, Avocado, Banana, Beans & Lentils, Berries, Buckwheat, Cane/Refined Sugar, Carrot, Celery, Cinnamon, Cruciferous, Latex Cross Reactive Foods (H/M), Legume, Lupin, Mushroom, Mustard, Nightshade, Oat, Onion, Pea & Pea Protein, Potato (Nightshade Variety), Poultry, Red Meat, Rice, Squash & Gourd, Strawberry, Sweet Potato & Yam, Tapioca/Cassava/Yuca/Manioc, Tomato

Friendly To: AIP Paleo, Diabetic, EOE, FPIES, Low Histamine, Paleo, Vegan

Compatible With: Corn Free, Yeast Free, AIP Paleo

For Corn Free & AIP Paleo: Select a safe brand of nutritional yeast, or omit.

For Yeast Free: Omit the nutritional yeast. The flavor will change slightly, but you’ll still have a delicious sauce.

Peso is usually enjoyed with bread, or as a pasta sauce. Click here for a delicious Gluten Free Bacon Pesto Pasta Recipe (top 8 allergy free). Before we get into how to make allergy friendly pesto, I want to answer some common questions people with food allergies have.

What Can I use Instead of Nuts in Pesto?

Seeds are a great alternative when making nut free pest. I will add however, you can have a delicious pesto pasta sauce without the use of nuts and seeds. The fresh basil packs in a lot of flavor, and in your final dish, you can use other elements such as mushroom or nutritional yeast to offset the lack of nuts and seeds.

Can I Eat Pesto If I’m Allergic to Nuts?

If you’re allergic to nuts, you can still enjoy pesto, but most likely, it will have to be homemade. There are a few companies few and far between that sell nut free pesto in grocery stores, but before purchasing, you’ll need to find out if it’s made on shared equipment with tree nuts (especially if you can’t tolerate trace amounts).

Are Pine Nuts “Essential” For Pesto?

If you’re trying to impress someone who consumes pesto and considers themself a connoisseur, then yes, the pine nuts are essential. For the rest of us who would like a safe and delicious pasta sauce, no, the pine nuts are not essential. We’ve been making nut free pesto for years and the kids enjoy it (and they’ve eaten pesto with nuts at restaurants as well).

What Makes Basil Pesto Bitter?

Your basil leaves may be on the bitter side if they’ve been harvested from a plant at the end of its life cycle. Basil plants generally last about a year. If you’re growing basil at home, this article is a fantastic read. If you’re purchasing basil leaves commercially, there’s a good chance your leaves will be fine. Be sure to use your fresh basil leaves soon after purchasing, as they don’t tend to last too long once harvested.

How To Store Your Delicious Pesto

If you plan to use your pesto within a week of making it, store it in the fridge, covered with a lid. If you’d like to save your pesto for future use, freezing it in ice cube trays is a great way to go. I like to use ice cube trays that have a lid so the pesto cubes are protected. When you’re ready to use your frozen pesto, add it to a hot pan as you cook the sauce and expect melted goodness.

What Tools Do I Need To Make Pesto?

You can make our vegan nut free pesto in your food processor or blender. Personally, I prefer the blender, but we do have a powerful Vitamix. A less powerful blender could be a little more difficult to work with. Both a food processor and blender can produce smooth results.

An Important Note About Olive Oil

If this is your first time making pesto of any kind, it relies heavily on olive oil. It’s important to use a high quality oil that tastes delicious uncooked. We like to use extra virgin olive oil for our homemade pesto.

Separation is normal with this vegan pesto recipe. Be sure to stir well before using.

Nut Free & Dairy Free Pesto Recipe & Video

Nut Free, Dairy Free, Vegan Pesto

Nut Free, Dairy Free, Vegan Pesto (Top 8 Allergy Free)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keyword: Pasta, Pesto, Sauce
Author: Kathlena, The Allergy Chef


  • Blender OR Food Processor


  • 335 mL Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (12 ounces)
  • 115 g Fresh Organic Basil Leaves we used 4 bunches
  • 110 g Dry Roasted Unsalted Sunflower Seeds (4 ounces)
  • 1 bulb Organic Roasted Garlic see video for details
  • 1 Lemon (Zest & Juice)
  • 2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast optional
  • 1 - 3 tsp Sea Salt to taste
  • Organic Ground Black Pepper to taste


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Start by pulling the basil leaves away from the stem, or cur the stems off. Place the basil, seeds, garlic, lemon, yeast, and black pepper into your blender. Blend on low/medium speed whilst you pour in your olive oil (remove the little cap from your blender lid to pour in as it mixes).

Once you have a good sauce going, add in the first teaspoon of salt and blend again. Taste, and add more salt if you’d prefer. If you have a safe dairy free Parmesan, you can add that as well, but keep in mind, it will have a lot of salt.

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