Nut-Free Vegan Pesto

bowl of vegan pesto on cutting board surrounded by fresh basil, pumpkin seeds, and nutritional yeast

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5 from 9 reviews

This Nut-Free Vegan Pesto is easy, delicious, and made in only 5 minutes with 6 plant-based ingredients! Perfect for elevating the flavors of nearly any dish. Vegan, Nut-Free, & Gluten-Free.


  • 1/3 cup (48 g) pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon*
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 ounces (55 g) fresh basil, de-stemmed (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) high-quality extra virgin olive oil


  1. Blend: add the pumpkin seeds, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, basil, chili flakes if using, and salt to a food processor. Close the lid and begin to process, then use the opening in the device to slowly pour in the olive oil. Process for at least 60-90 seconds, or until the pumpkin seeds are finely chopped and have softened slightly.
  2. Store & Serve: season with additional salt or red pepper flakes, if desired. Use immediately, or transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.


  • Pumpkin Seeds: there is no other nut-free substitute that I would recommend for this recipe, but pumpkin seeds can be replaced with pine nuts or walnuts.
  • Lemon Juice: lemon juice adds some brightness and acidity to the dish. Because it’s being used raw. it’s best to use fresh, as the carton/canned substitutes are often less flavorful.
  • Oil-Free: try these Pea Pesto or Avocado Pesto recipe instead!