This Vegan Nut-Free Pesto recipe includes hulled hemp seeds, instead of nuts, making it perfect for folks that have a nut allergy. It’s a snap to make since everything is blended in the food processor. Washing the basil and removing the leaves from the stems probably takes the longest, but even that is fast and easy.
Hemp seeds are commonly called hemp hearts. Yes they are legal, and no they can’t get you high. Hemp hearts have a nutty flavor and a buttery texture similar to pine nuts. The resulting flavor of this pesto is fresh and bright, and rivals other traditional versions. Considered by many to be a super food, hemp hearts are a good source of essential fatty acids in addition to other important nutrients.
I especially love to make pesto in the summer when the basil is growing freely in the garden. This is an early patch of basil grown last summer. Jamie plants it close together like this, then when he thins it out I have a lot of young basil to cook with early in the season.
Vegan Nut-Free Pesto
- food processor
- 2 ounces fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/8 cup hulled hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Put all of the ingredients into a food processor bowl.
- Process until it's at the desired consistency, scraping the sides with a soft spatula as needed.
Optional Omnivore Variation
Serve with grated cheese such as Pecorino Romano or Parmesan.
Ways to Enjoy Pesto
Pesto isn’t just for dressing pasta! It can be used in so many other ways. Enjoy it as a dip, alternate pizza sauce, sandwich spread, salad dressing, tomato spread, soup garnish, and more. Feel free to share other ways you enjoy serving it in the comment box below.
If you enjoy this Vegan Nut-Free Pesto recipe you may also like my Chickpea Pasta with Sautéed Veggies recipe.