Lunch\ Dinner

Oil and Nut-Free Creamy Pesto Recipe for Pasta!

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Finally, a creamy pesto recipe for pasta that is not only delicious but healthy too! No more oil soaked noodles with this oil AND nut free pesto sauce. Another mom approved clean sauce to smoother over your favorite pasta, use and a sandwich spread or veggie dip!

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Birds eye view of bowls of creamy oil free pesto sauce over gnocchi and chickpeas with text overlay

A 15-minute pesto recipe

If oil-free and nut-free are not enticing enough for you how about “15-minute pesto sauce recipe”. Or that it can all be made in a blender to save you dishes, and you don’t even have to cook it! Do I have you now?

Yes, that is right this easy pesto sauce does not have to be cooked if you don’t mind the raw garlic flavour. I actually prefer it that way if I am using it as a spread for sandwiches but my boys prefer the milder garlic notes after this sauce cooks for a few minutes.

To make this basil pesto recipe just plop all the ingredients into a blender. Fresh basil, nutritional yeast, lemon, garlic and the secret ingredient pumpkin seeds. Just blend it for a few minutes and then either cook it for a milder sauce or place into the fridge for later.

Use as a sandwiches spread, as a pesto recipe for pasta or as a dip for your favorite veggie!

It is that easy! Because cooking healthy food DOES NOT have to be complicated or time consuming. As a mama to three crazy boys I like to make recipes that are quick and done. So I can get back to yelling…I mean playing with them 😉

ye view of oil free pesto sauce over gluten free gnocchi with a side of asparagus and chickpeas

Healthy Oil free pesto sauce that is just as creamy

Back when I use to work at the local restaurant near my parent’s house, I use to love closing time because it meant I could eat some of their delicious recipes. My favourite was their pesto linguine and I would have taken this dish as payment if they had offered! It was sooo jammed pack with flavour and so so creamy and delicious. But every time I indulged in my pesto craving I always felt so sick afterwards.

The oil and cheese and amount of pine nuts just did not sit well in my tummy. It was not until years later that I discovered I had an oil intolerance and a mild pine nut allergy. And as much as that dish made me feel awful it was sad to know I could no longer enjoy those flavours.

But then something magical happened, one-day last year I bought a HUGE basil tree from my local grocery store. I couldn’t help it because the smell was so intoxicating. I figured I would add the basil to my husbands famous family marinara sauce (find it here), but we got so much basil that I had to find another use for it.

straight view of freshly washed asparagus and basil in a sink
Birds eye view of creamy nut and oil free vegan pesto sauce on a spoon

My good friend google taught me that I could make an oil-free version of pesto sauce by experimenting with lemon and water and relying on nuts to provide the fat oil normally would. I actually originally made this recipe with cashews, and it was killer good! You can find the recipe here.

But the downfall to this sauce was that it was not nut free! So my boys could not take it for their school lunch. So I decided to experiment with making a nut free pesto sauce. And pepitas (or pumpkin seeds) are just the perfect replacement! Now I could send my boys with a wholesome lunch to school. Basil and pepitas are so jammed with nutrients so this sauce is a great way to get my boys to eat them!

View of ingredients for a vegan pesto sauce on a wooden cutting board

Health benefits of pumpkin seeds and basil

Pepitas contain lots of healthy fats and are high in potassium, magnesium and calcium. Basil is said to be good for digestion and contains (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. And since we are always looking for ways to help my son heal his gut, basil is a perfect addition to his diet (you can read his gut damage story here). Basil is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Even more reason to make this easy pesto sauce right!

top down view of a dinner table with bowls of creamy gnocchi pesto with chickpeas and asparagus and a hand eating

Gluten-free gnocchi recipe

For this recipe, I used gluten-free gnocchi because we are obsessed right now! However, feel free to use whatever pasta you like. If you want to try making your own gnocchi (it is actually pretty easy) ElaVegan has a recipe here.

I also added some crispy chickpeas to this recipe by roasting canned chickpeas in the oven for 30 minutes until they were nice and crispy. They add a nice crunch and pop to the dish. You could also add tofu or whatever protein source you prefer to make it a more complete meal!

I hope you enjoy this easy pesto sauce recipe. Oh and if you make this recipe please share with me by tagging me ( in your creations! I would love to share them over on instagram!

Oil and Nut-Free Creamy Pesto Recipe for Pasta! down view of bowls of creamy gnocchi pesto with chickpeas and a close up of a spoon with pesto sauce on it.

Chickpea Pepita-Pesto Gnocchi, a oil, nut, and dairy free pesto sauce!

Recipe by atmytableCourse: lunch, DinnerCuisine: Italian, vegetarian, vegan, nut-freeDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Finally a healthy creamy pesto sauce! This oil and nut-free pesto sauce is incredibly delicious but it is good for you! The perfect sauce to nourish yourself and your family with. Perfect as an easy dinner recipe smothered over pasta or healthy vegan lunch as a sandwich spread. And you know I got you covered for a kid approved snack because this makes a killer veggie dip! Incredibility easy to prep for the ultimate quick plant based meal.

* this pesto sauce takes roughly 15 minutes to make but to make this entire meal with the chickpeas and pasta take about 40 minutes. The pesto is good in the fridge for 5 days and can be made ahead or frozen.


  • Pesto Sauce
  • 2 cups of fresh basil

  • 1 cup of pepitas

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast

  • Juice from 1 lemon

  • 1 tbs garlic powder

  • 1 tbs onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2- 2/3 cups water

  • Chickpeas
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed

  • 12 tbs lemon juice

  • 1 tbs garlic powder

  • 1 tbs smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • Pasta
  • 1 package of Gluten Free gnocchi


  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. then in a mixing bowl add in the chickpeas and all the spices. Mix and then place onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy.
  • Meanwhile, boil some water in a large pot. Once boiling add in your gnocchi and cook as per package instructions. reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
  • In a high-speed blender add in all the sauce ingredients in. Pulse until everything is blended. If you want a smoother sauce blend for a few minutes. I like mine chunky so I pulse and mix slowly.
  • To assemble the pasta dish add the cooked gnocchi, and pesto sauce to a large pot. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. You can add in some of the pasta water if the pesto sauce seems to dry. then remove from the heat and add the crispy chickpea over top the pasta. Enjoy

One Comment

  1. Pingback: The best cabbage soup recipe made with only 10 ingredients. - AtMyTable

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