Pepita Pesto

Pesto is a very popular sauce that can be used for pasta, breads, dressings and more. Most pesto sauces contain cheese and pine nuts which can be expensive. I created a vibrant and flavorful pesto that is vegan and nut/pine-nut free!
I also want to show you how to make it a vibrant green color and prevent it from turning brown. My pesto would always turn brown and I always thought it was just a thing that happened. BOY WAS I WRONG. You can actually keep it perfectly green for days, and I am going to tell you how..
What is blanching? Blanching is when you place vegetables in boiling water for a very short time. It stops enzyme reactions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching also removes dirt, brightens the color and helps delay loss of vitamins.
How long do I do it for?
30 seconds! You want to prep a bowl of ice cold water so that it is ready to use as soon as your basil is done boiling. Boil a small pot of water. Once it starts boiling you place your basil in the water and wait 30 seconds. Immediately transfer your basil leaves over to the ice bath for at least 2 minutes to fully cool off.

Tips and Substitutes:

If you don’t have pepitas in stock you can also use cashews, pine nuts, walnuts or almonds.
Since this is such a simple recipe I highly recommend not using substitutes for any of the other ingredients.
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Pepita Pesto

  • Author: Anna Rios
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 2 cups Fresh Basil
  • 3 tbsp Pepita Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 tbsp water
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Boil a small pot of water and blanch basil leaves. Dunk in hot water for 30 seconds and then immediately move over to a bowl of ice cold water.
  2. After 2 minutes take basil leaves out and pat them dry.
  3. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend together until pesto sauce is formed.
  4. I always like to add a drizzle of olive oil after serving it to give it that authentic feel.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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