Pesto is an incredibly versatile sauce that can be enjoyed in countless ways. In addition to mixing it into pasta, noodles, rice and spiralized vegetables, I love to use it as a dip for crackers and crudités, a topping for toast, pizza, salad, eggs, and baked potatoes, or a flavour booster for proteins.
Homemade pesto is super easy to make and you can have fun playing around with different nuts/seeds, greens, herbs, and “add-ins” (such as green superfood powder, chlorella, collagen peptides or bone broth powder, etc.). Here I went with a nut and dairy-free combination of pumpkin seeds, spinach, and cilantro.
1/2 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (sunflower seeds also work well here!)
3 cups raw baby spinach
1 cup packed fresh cilantro
juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon, adjusted to taste
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt, adjusted to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed for desired consistency
Preheat oven to 350F and spread pumpkin seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes until just browned. Set aside to cool.
To a food processor or blender container, add cooled nuts, spinach, cilantro, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, cayenne, and pepper. Blend well.
With processor/blender running, slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup oil and process until well combined, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides with a spatula as needed.
Add additional seasoning, lemon juice, or olive oil as needed for desired taste and consistency.
Nut-free Pumpkin Seed Pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or frozen for several months. I like to freeze it using an ice cube tray so that it’s easy to thaw in single-serving portions.