How to Make Nut-Free Pesto (in 5 minutes)

How to Make Nut Free Pesto |

I’ve already told you the wonders of my first discovery of nut-free pesto. I still have sweet dreams of that savory, herb-y lamb.

But after realizing that the nut-free pesto I bought from the store contained canola oil (inciting my corn allergies), I soon found myself back in a sad, dreary, pesto-less world. But the desire for a quick and healthy lunch this past weekend made me get my pesto-loving butt back up and running.

How to Make Nut Free Pesto |

And so I made this wonderfully delicious, homemade, put-together-in-5-minutes, nut free pesto!

Quite literally, it’s put together in 5 minutes. Which is perfect for lazy food-loving girls who kinda like eating healthy sometimes.

What has two thumbs and fits that description? I’ve got two fingers pointing at me.

How to Make Nut Free Pesto |

So all you need is a buttload of basil, some parmesan cheese, some garlic, a lemon, and some olive oil for this simple, flavorful condiment. You probably have most of these ingredients chillin’ around your kitchen anyway, just begging to be used!

So ’round ’em up and stuff ’em in a food processor.

And if you’re used to buying pesto in a jar, know that this fresh mixture will blow the socks off of your traditional pesto! And if you’ve tried making homemade pesto before, let me prove to you that nuts aren’t necessary!

How to Make Nut-Free Pesto |

Stay tuned for an amazing, 15-minute dinner with pesto delishussness coming soon to the blog!

How to Make Nut-Free Pesto

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 cup


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, diced
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (the best quality you can get)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Add the fresh basil, diced garlic, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese to the bowl of a large food processor. Process at medium speed until it starts to resemble a paste, about 60-90 seconds.
  2. Add half of the fresh lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil. Process until the mixture is evenly combined. Taste and add more lemon juice based on your personal preference. Add more olive oil if you would like the pesto to be thinner (I prefer mine slightly thicker and only used just over 1/4 cup). Process again until just combined.
  3. Add the salt and pepper. Process, taste, and add more if desired.
  4. Add the pesto to a jar, seal, and refrigerate. Note: If you don't plan to use all of your pesto in two weeks, it freezes beautifully! (Try freezing the pesto in an ice cube tray for convenient servings.)

It’s that easy!


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    • says

      Hi Jennifer! Excellent question, and a tough one. If you can have nuts, I would recommend adding 1/2 cup toasted pinenuts or cashews instead of the cheese. If you are both nut and dairy free, you can always simply leave the cheese out! It will be just a bit thinner and have a little less of that umami flavor if you taste it straight, but it will still be EXCELLENT on pasta, meat, and wherever else you choose to enjoy it!

  1. Autumn says

    I’m so glad I found your blog! My son has developed a ton of allergies, nightshades being the latest, and it’s been hard cooking to say the least. He’s also allergic to citrus. Do you have any suggestions as an alternative to the lemon? We definitely miss hummus and pesto.

    • says

      Great question, Autumn! I’d use a nice rice vinegar or white wine vinegar in place of the lemon to give it a similar twang. Start with one tablespoon and add more according to your tastes. If you have access, you could also try adding a little bit of ground coriander, tamarind, or sumac. These are seasonings frequently used in other cultures for a (non citrus) lemon-y flavor!

      Please let me know if you need help with other recipes; I’m more than happy to help. 🙂 Making recipes allergy-safe has become a fun puzzle that I really enjoy!


  1. […] How to use it: When cooking with basil, it’s best to use it in no cook recipes or to add it right at the end of cooking. Try basil in Blueberry Basil Lemonade, Zucchini Noodle Beef Pho, Healthy Mediterranean Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bake, Mushroom Herb Baked Meatballs, and 5-Minute Nut-Free Pesto. […]