Perfect Pesto

Basil is a special summer herb that elevates our favorite healthy recipes with its bright flavor, aromatic fragrance, and amazing health-protecting properties and immune-boosting benefits. That’s why we like to make the most of it in our delicious gluten-free, Nut-free Vegan Pesto. While traditional pesto recipes include pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, our allergen-friendly version tastes just like an authentic, creamy pesto sauce, but it is dairy-free. The secret to creating this “just-as-creamy” and flavorful vegan pesto is to swap the dairy cheese for miso paste or nutritional yeast, which adds a Parmesan-like cheesiness and remarkable savory flavor. And when blended with the other wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients, it tastes like the real thing! Our pesto also includes high-protein, omega-rich hemp hearts and flax seeds in place of the nuts. The hemp and flax disappear into the sauce, leaving a similar earthy, nutty taste and equally smooth texture as a traditional pesto, but giving it a boost of trace minerals that are vital to health. We also add a hint of lemon juice because it makes our Nut-Free Vegan Pesto lighter and fresher and the flavors simply taste brighter. Pesto is, on the surface, a very simple green sauce, but with its wealth of nutrients and punch of flavor, there is nothing ordinary about our vegan version!

Nutrient Booster: Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals. Hemp hearts are a great source of plant-based protein and contain provide all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. They are also extremely rich in two essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Along with the nutritional benefits, hemp hearts offer a wide range of positive health effects, including protecting the brain, boosting heart health, and reducing inflammation. It is easy to incorporate hemp hearts into a daily diet. For a boost of nutrition, sprinkle these seeds on salads, oatmeal, or yogurt, add them to baked goods, or blend them into your favorite sauces, like our Nut-Free Vegan Pesto. For more information, visit the Manitoba Harvest website.

How To Serve Your Sauce

Pesto is the kind of sauce that makes just about anything taste better. You can toss it with pasta, use it as a sandwich spread, slather it onto crusty bread, drizzle it over a salad, add it to salad dressings, or simply eat it with a spoon! For extra flavor and nutrition, there are numerous ways to incorporate our Nut-Free Vegan Pesto into your favorite recipes. Mix it into our Hemp Hummus; serve it as a dip with raw vegetables and Ka-Pop! Chips; spread it in our Hummus Vegetable Wrap; make a pesto pizza and top it with our Cashew Cheese; combine it with your favorite whole grains, like quinoa, Freekeh, or Sorghum; scramble it into eggs; use it as a sauce for your zoodles or Banza gluten-free pasta; bake it into bread; marinate your meat. With the potential to be incredibly versatile, there is so much more you can do with pesto that extends way beyond pasta.

Nut Free Vegan Pesto

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings


  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup hemp hearts
  • 2 tablespoons miso or nutritional yeast*
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons cold milled flaxseeds
  • 3 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional


  1. In a food processor, add the garlic, sea salt, hemp hearts, miso or nutritional yeast, water plus flax seed, and process until finely chopped.

  2. Add the basil, and begin to process again and slowly pour olive oil into food processor and continue to blend until mixture is smooth. Add lemon juice if desired.

Recipe Notes

*If you are allergic to soy then the nutritional yeast is a delicious plant-based alternative in this pesto.

Nutrient Analysis:
Serving size: 1½ tablespoons, Calories: 115 calories, Fat: 10 grams, Saturated fat: 1.5 grams, Carbohydrates: 1 grams, Sugar: 0 gram, Sodium: 90 milligrams, Fiber: 1 gram, Protein: 2 grams, Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

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