Pesto per tutti

Variations on traditional pesto recipes making it suitable for Dairy Free, Nut Free, Paleo and Vegan diets.

When one or other of the ingredients in pesto is omitted or substituted it becomes suitable for most diets. The flavour changes; but it continues to be a tasty addition to any dish.

For a Dairy Free, Paleo, Raw or Vegan diet: avoid adding parmesan cheese; and ensure you use high quality, tasty olive oil. Lemon rind is a good substitute for parmesan in an oil-rich sauce.

For a Nut Free diet the pine nuts are substituted with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, neither of which are nuts and both of which are rarely an allergen.

Other variations are numerous, eg: use walnuts, almonds, macadamia or brazil nuts; replace olive oil with a nut-flavoured oil; replace the basil with coriander (Coriander and Walnut Sauce recipe here is an example of changes possible) or parsley.

Diets for which Pesto per tutti is suitable:

Diabetic, Dairy Free, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Nut Free, Paleo, Raw, Vegetarian and Vegan.


Preparation: 10 mins | Cooking: 5 mins | Serves: 1 cup

50 gm pine nuts
1 large bunch (1 cup) basil, approx 30 gm.
150 ml olive oil*
1 garlic cloves** (read notes regarding Fodmap)
60 gm (2oz) Parmesan cheese (not Dairy Free, Paleo, Raw or Vegan diets)
1 lemon, juice and rind
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper


DRY ROAST*** the pine nuts until lightly browned, approx 5 minutes. (Use a frying pan over a low heat or roast in a medium oven.)
STIR the nuts while roasting to ensure an even colour.
HEAT gently half the oil with peeled and halved garlic cloves for 5-10 minutes.
DISCARD the garlic clove.****
PLACE pine nuts, basil, lemon rind, parmesan cheese and the garlic flavoured oil in a food processor or mortar and process to the texture you want.
ADD lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste.
ADD remaining oil to achieve the consistency you want.
POUR the pesto into a jar, seal and refrigerate.


– Will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
– Seal with oil on top of the pesto if it is to be stored for more than two weeks.


* Extra oil required if you to store the pesto.
** For Fodmap diets flavour the oil with garlic as per instructions in the method and then discard the garlic.
*** For Raw diet combine the ingredients without roasting or heating.
**** For non-Fodmap diet individuals you can flavour the oil with garlic or blend the garlic cloves with the nuts (or seeds) and basil.

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