Sauce, Vegan, Vegetarian, Summer, Dairy Free, Gluten Free

Pepita Pesto

Flashdance introduced me to many wonderful things: the quiet slither of lycra against my chest, the wonder of women dancing in mullets, the best way to fold my dirty clothes, and dear, dear, friends. One of those friends is allergic to nuts.

Now, lord knows I love a good nut, but I’m sensitive to those folks among us who can’t tolerate them. Afterall, I can’t tolerate gluten, dairy, and idiots. And I should hope that I’m afforded some leniency when it comes to my intolerance of idiots.

With the summer sun still bearing down on us like a french heat press, I’m inclined to cook light and fresh, with lots of herbs and vinegars. I make a giant batch of pesto every summer (quadruple this and keep it in your freezer, the winter frost will thank you), and this time decided to make it nut free.

To maintain the buttery taste of pinenuts I swapped in pepitas, the green pumpkin seed full of rich oils. They keep quite a crunch in the final product, a most welcome texture. Toast them or don’t, the seeds have plenty of flavor without the added heat. You raw-zombies will love this recipe with the seeds pulsed untoasted.

Serve it over freshly seared or grilled fish, some sliced heirloom tomatoes, or stirred into pasta just as it comes off the heat. Now pardon me while I go get my nut fix.


  • 3 cups Basil Leaves

  • 1 cup Pepitas

  • 3 cloves Garlic

  • Juice one Lemon

  • ¾-1 cup Olive Oil

  • ½ tsp pepper

  • ½ tsp salt


    Get Busy

    1. -Toss basil, pepitas, garlic and lemon into your food processor. Buzz until finely chopped.

    2. -WIth the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Check the consistency of the pesto after ⅔ cup, you may like it with less oil, it’s a terribly personal thing.

    3. -Continue pouring if you like it with more oil.

    4. -Separate into containers and freeze or refrigetate.

    5. -Eat it. Now.


    Prep. Time: 15 minutes

    Yield: 1 quart