Basil Herb Pesto (Nut-Free)

I really love pesto, but when we found out my son was severely allergic to all nuts, I stopped making it because of the traditional pine nut base. Well, I decided to try making it without nuts, and it was delicious. The key is using a good nutty cheese, like pecorino romano or parmesan (or both!) I seriously couldn't tell the difference. Phew. Welcome back Pesto, I missed you!

Basil Herb Pesto
1 large bunch parsley (or other herb of your choice)
1 large bunch of basil (about 20 leaves)
3-4 sprigs of fresh oregano
1 clove garlic (you can use more, but I find 1 clove is plenty as raw garlic is very strong)
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 heaping cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese (I used a combination of both)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Wash and roughly chop your herbs (so they are off the stems). Peel the garlic. Add the garlic to a food processor (I used my mini Cuisinart) and pulse until minced. You can also do this in a blender.
Add the herbs to the minced garlic. You can really use any fresh herbs you would like - I just used what I had. You need about 3 cups total of herbs.Add the juice of the lemon to the herbs and garlic. Pulse until herbs are finely chopped.
Add the cheese, and cover and turn on the food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil through the small opening while it is running.
The mixture should be smooth. Add as much olive oil as you need to obtain "pesto" consistency.
Give it a taste and add whatever it needs - a pinch of salt and pepper, more lemon, etc. This is a great dipping sauce for bread, let me tell you. I couldn't stop eating it right out of the bowl.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to use. It will keep for about 3-4 days.
This made about a cup and a half of pesto. We used some for our Roasted Garlic, Pesto & Grilled Chicken Pizza, and the remaining pesto the next night mixed with rotini pasta, grape tomatoes and squash. Both meals were delicious, and I was happy we made pesto "nut-free" for Jack!


  1. I love this! I like the idea of nut free only because I rarely have pine nuts on hand but almost always have parm. cheese in the fridge...this is something I could do last minute...thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this idea for nut free pesto! Can't wait to try it out! I LOVE your blog and am so happy I found it!


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