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Basil Pesto Nut-Free

This is an easy, quick pesto recipe that’s dairy-free and even nut-free!

Perfect for those like us with tree nut allergy and milk allergy.

No pine nuts and no parmesan needed.

That’s right, we can still enjoy all the summer basil in pesto sauce. 

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Each summer, I beg hubby to please grow a bunch of basil in our garden.

He truly does all the work from planting to watering to harvesting.

But hey, I manage to figure out a few recipes with all the garden bounty.

And pesto is a MUST when the basil starts popping. 

Pesto for pizza, pesto on pasta, pesto on bread, pesto on crackers.

Pesto, pesto, pesto!

Do you know how expensive it is to buy pesto?

Plus, store-bought pesto will contain nuts…and sometimes dairy!

That’s why we only eat it homemade.

And it does take a lot of basil so grow lots if you want to make pesto. It’s worth it! 

Here’s how we make it. 

pesto ingredients nut free and dairy free with seeds


  • fresh basil
  • sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • olive oil
  • sea salt 

That’s it, you guys.

Just four easy ingredients.

Plus, here’s another newsflash.

My pickiest kiddo loves this stuff!

It’s one of his favorite garden treats.

And that says a lot.


Before we get to the easy recipe,

you may be a nut allergy mom wondering if this is even an option for you.

That’s because even though this recipe uses seeds instead of nuts…

most seeds we buy are possibly contaminated with tree nuts.

And that’s a no-go for anyone severely allergic to tree nuts.

I’m in your shoes, tree nut contamination is not an option for us.

But we found an awesome allergy-friendly brand that made pesto an option for my family.


Be sure to check out this company that sells allergy-friendly seeds!

I’ve used both their sunflower and pumpkin seeds for our nut-free pesto.

They even sell a combo of both seeds together. 


I don’t have a food processor, but I do use my Kitchen Aid Mixer like one.

However, I totally opt to make my pesto without it.

Do I like chunky pesto? Maybe.

Is it easier? I think so.

Do I not want to clean out the blender?

Ding, ding! That’s the real reason.

Pesto is just so easy to do by hand.

Why dirty a huge kitchen appliance?

Pumpkin Seed Pesto


My kids love our homemade nut-free pesto in a variety of ways.

Serve it over spaghetti noodles with a side of garden sweet corn.

Serve it on bagel chips topped with a half cherry tomato from the garden.

Serve it on homemade French bread for huge mom points!

dairy and nut free pesto with crackers


Also see the quick video in this post.

1. Chop a handful of fresh basil leaves into fine pieces with a chef’s knife.

2. Put about 1/4 cup of pumpkin or sunflower seeds into a baggie and smash them into small pieces with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin.

3. Combine equal amounts of chopped basil and seeds in a bowl.

4. Add olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste.  

5. Add sea salt to taste, if the seeds aren’t already salted.

6. Feel free to add more olive oil to achieve desired consistency.

Best eaten fresh, but extra can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or so. 

Hope you love this pesto without pine nuts as much as we do!

You can pin this pesto on Pinterest for later. 

Here are more favorite garden recipes you may enjoy, too. 

This was originally posted in August 2016.


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Monday 3rd of August 2020

So excited to try this! Thank you!

Jamie Kaufmann

Monday 17th of August 2020

SO excited for you to try!


Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

Thank you! I will look. :)


Monday 22nd of August 2016

There are safe sunflower seeds at hy-vee. They are with the nuts/seeds in a yellow bag. I forgot the name!

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