Nut Free Vegan Pesto

Nut free vegan pesto by Pasta-based. An overhead shot of a food processor with creamy pesto inside. A hand comes into the frame and scoops some of the pesto with a spoon.

This recipe for nut free vegan pesto is packed with fresh basil, garlic, and sunflower seeds.

It’s creamy with the perfect texture for pasta, pizza, bread, and more.

Different ways you can use this nut free vegan pesto:

  • In pasta, obviously! Our favorite recipe to use pesto in is this Brussels Sprouts and Vegan Italian Sausage recipe. The recipe in that post uses a cashew pesto but you can substitute this nut free pesto to make a similar recipe.
    • Pro-tip: when you’re boiling the pasta, use a ladle and scoop out some of the starchy pasta water. If your pesto is a too thick to spread, you can add some of the pasta water to loosen it up
  • On pizza! Spread a generous layer of pesto on the raw pizza dough, then top with more pesto and fresh basil when the pizza comes out of the oven.
  • On roasted veggies! For Christmas dinner last year, we made charred cauliflower steaks and topped them with a few dollops of a super nutty, basil packed pesto. It was amazing!
  • In tacos! It sounds a little strange but it’s actually so good! You can use the recipe as-is or add a little cilantro, lime juice, or maybe even an avocado to spice things up.
  • On potatoes! Baked potatoes or smashed potatoes taste amazing when topped with some vegan sour cream and vegan basil pesto.
  • On bruschetta! Make a bruschetta and I’ll eat the whole loaf of bread on my own. It’s so easy to make, just toast a sliced baguette with a light brush of olive oil. When it comes out of the oven, rub the slices with fresh garlic cloves. Add toppings – like this nut free pesto sauce.
Nut free vegan pesto by Pasta-based. An overhead shot of a bowl of pasta covered in bright green pesto sauce.

This nut free vegan pesto recipe is dairy free, nut free, and so easy to make. You can use your blender or your food processor.

Use a spatula to wipe down the edges as you blend so that you get an even blend.

If you’re looking for a good food processor to buy that’s not crazy expensive, here’s the one we use. This white Cuisinart 7 cup food processor really does the trick for everything we need!

Pro-tip: if you’re using this sauce for pasta, save some of the pasta water after boiling the macaroni. You can use the starchy pasta water to loosen up the pesto sauce so that it coats your pasta better.

4.42 from 17 votes
Nut free vegan pesto by Pasta-based. An overhead shot of a food processor with creamy pesto inside. A hand comes into the frame and scoops some of the pesto with a spoon.
Sunflower Seed Pesto (vegan, nut-free)
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Calories per Serving: 194 kcal
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until creamy.



  1. Reply

    Taylor Norman

    February 13, 2020

    5 stars

  2. Reply

    Kasie Frank

    April 28, 2020

    This presto is absolutely amazing. SO GOOD

    • Reply


      July 14, 2020

      So glad you loved it, thanks for sharing Kasie! Don’t forget to rate the recipe next time you comment on ours or any other bloggers site – it helps us out! 🙂

      Hope you and family are staying well during these crazy times!

  3. Reply

    Stephanie Turcsan

    June 24, 2020

    Is the garlic raw or roasted?

    • Reply


      July 14, 2020

      Hey Stephanie, the garlic for this pesto recipe is raw. Let us know if you have any other questions and hope you try this out!

  4. Reply


    August 2, 2020

    5 stars
    Very quick and tasty! Thanks for the easy, delicious recipe!

    • Reply


      August 7, 2020

      Thank you for sharing, we appreciate you!

  5. Reply


    February 4, 2021

    Can you substitute the fresh basil for basil paste? If so, how much would you need for this recipe?


    • Reply


      February 4, 2021

      You can probably make it work with 3-4 tablespoons of the paste. Good luck!

  6. Reply


    February 20, 2021

    5 stars
    Delicious! Thank you

  7. Reply


    May 30, 2021

    5 stars
    So Yummy!!! Thank you

  8. Reply

    Sarah T.

    November 19, 2021

    5 stars
    Yum! Our family loves this recipe – so great to find a delicious pesto recipe that works for our family’s nut & dairy allergies! Thank you!


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