Fresh and vibrant pepita pesto! This vegan version of pesto is one of the most vibrant and flavorful sauces you will ever try. It is also much more affordable because it requires pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of pine nuts and nutritional yeast instead of parmesan. It’s vegan, gluten-free and super easy to make!
What is Pesto?
Pesto is a very popular Italian sauce that can be used for pasta, breads, dressings and more. Most pesto sauces contain cheese and pine nuts which can be expensive (also not vegan). I created a vibrant and flavorful pesto that is vegan and nut/pine-nut free! Make sure to also read up on the tips for how to get it AND keep it a vibrant green.
What are Pepitas?
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds. Their flavor is a mild and slightly nutty, perfect for pesto! Pepitas are also great nutritionally. They are rich in Magnesium which support the immune system and quality of sleep. They are also rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and protein! A lot of folks call these a super food 🙂 Click here to learn more about the health benefits of pepitas.
How to get a vibrant green Pepita Pesto:
A dark or brown colored pesto can be such a big turn off. 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:
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.
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.
Vegan Pepita Pesto Pasta
This vibrant pepita pesto is perfect for pasta! I highly recommend making a chilled pesto pasta dish and adding your favorite roasted veggies to it. You can also use it as a dip for bread, sandwich spread, and wraps.
Fresh and vibrant pepita pesto! This vegan version of pesto is one of the most vibrant and flavorful pestos you will try. It is also much more affordable because it requires pepitas instead of pine nuts and nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.
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
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.
After 2 minutes take basil leaves out and pat them dry.
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend together until pesto sauce is formed.
I always like to add a drizzle of olive oil after serving it to give it that authentic feel.