Lunch\ Dinner

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

Jump to Recipe

Yes, NUT-FREE pesto, who knew right. For all my nut-free friends out there (and school mama’s) This oil, nut, and the dairy-free version is delicious and good for you, so you can have a second bowl.

Back when I use to work at the local restaurant near my parents house, I use to love closing time because it meant I could eat some of their delicious recipes. My favouite was their pesto linguine and I would have taken this dish as payment if they had of offered! It was sooo jammed pack with flavour and so so creamy and delicious. But every time I indulged 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 despite that dish making 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 it 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. So I googled vegan pesto and figured I would just make it for my boys. But to my delight, I discovered that I could replace the pine nuts with cashews and that the oil could be replaced with lemon and water! But would it really taste as good! I mean pesto gets it flavour from pine nuts and oil after all!

Regardless I set out to make this cashew based oil free pesto sauce (recipe for cashew pesto here) and the result was killer! It was so loaded with flavour and it didn’t make me feel so sick afterwards. Win Win!

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!

Just so you know: Pepitas contain lots of healthy fats and are high in potasium, 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.

OK So now back tot he recipe. This recipe uses gluten free gnocchi but feel free to use whatever brand you like. You can also make your own, ElaVegan has a easy recipe here. I also added some chrsipy chickpeas to this recipe. I just roasted cooked chickpeas in the oven for 30 minutes until they were nice and crispy. They add a nice crunch and pop to the dish. I hope you enjoy this one, it is so good that I actually have two blog posts with this recipe, opps πŸ˜‰

Oh and if you make this recipe I would love your thought in the comments! Or can find me on instagram and let me know!

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

Recipe by atmytableCourse: lunch, DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 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

  • 2 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 400 degrees. then in a mixing bowl add in the chickpeas and all the spices. Mix and then pace 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
  • 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 min chunky so I pulse and mix slowly.
  • To the pasta pot, drain the water leaving roughly 1/4 cup of the starchy water and add in your pesto sauce. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes then add in the cooked pasta. Stir to coat then serve. Sprinkle the crispy chickpea over top the pasta. Enjoy

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.