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May 21, 2020

5-Minute Dairy Free Spinach Pesto (Paleo, Whole30)

This dairy free spinach pesto recipe screams summer! Made with fresh basil leaves, spinach, pine nuts, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. It’s the perfect sauce for chicken, fish, or veggie pasta and only takes 5 minutes to make! Paleo, Whole30, and Vegan too!

Dairy free pesto in white bowl

This dairy free spinach pesto recipe is perfect for summer. So fresh and so green, I’m tempted to put it on everything I eat.

The perfect pesto is nutty, fresh, earthy, garlicky, and irresistible.

It’s versatile so you can use whatever ingredients you have in your pantry to make it. I love spreading it over chicken, salmon, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or roasted veggies.

This recipe yields 1 cup, so you’ll have plenty to use throughout the week.

Spinach, basil, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic on white background

Pesto Substitutions

Pesto is traditionally made with basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and quality olive oil. However, I wanted to make this pesto dairy-free. Without the cheese it still tastes delicious, and you can play around with the ingredients by throwing in whatever you have in your pantry and adjusting the pesto to your taste!

Herb: swap the basil out for parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint, or sage

Leafy green: swap out the spinach for another herb or leafy green like arugula, kale or chard

Nuts: swap out the pine nuts for walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, or sunflower seeds. Pine nuts can be very expensive so you can easily substitute using one of the nuts above.

To make nut free pesto: substitute with raw pumpkin seeds, or raw sunflower seeds


Paleo pesto in food processor

Tips for making Pesto in the Food Processor

  • Use fresh basil leaves – I recommend always using fresh basil leaves. Dried basil doesn’t compare to the fresh stuff, and won’t give you the creaminess you need.
  • Process the basil, spinach, pine nuts, and garlic first. You want the mixture to be rough and choppy before adding the olive oil.
  • Pulse instead of blend. Blending the pesto will cause it to be too runny, and it won’t stick to any chicken, fish, or veggie pasta.

Storing Pesto

Dairy free pesto

To store – place the pesto in a small airtight container. It’s best used within the first few days, but can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To freeze – using an ice cube tray, fill each cube hole with pesto. Freeze, remove from the tray, and store in a freezer bag. When ready to use, defrost. Pesto can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipes Using Dairy Free Spinach Pesto:

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Whole30 pesto in white bowl with gold spoon

5 Minute Dairy Free Spinach Pesto (Paleo, Whole30, Vegan)


  • Author: Abbey Blackwell
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This dairy free pesto recipe screams summer! Made with fresh basil leaves, spinach, pine nuts, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil it’s the perfect sauce for chicken, fish, or veggie pasta and only takes 5 minutes to make! Paleo, Whole30, and Vegan too!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, about 2 large bunches
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup raw pine nuts or walnuts, almonds, pecans
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine basil leaves, spinach, pine nuts, garlic, and salt in a food processor and process until ingredients are very finely chopped.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and add the olive oil. Process again until a smooth paste has formed (about 15 seconds).
  3. Taste and adjust. Taste the pesto and add more salt, pepper, or garlic as needed.
  4. Store pesto in a small container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: paleo, whole30, spinach pesto, spinach and basil pesto

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Hi, I’m Abbey! Certified Training and Nutrition Coach. Of course, I’m a foodie as well, and I love to show others how GOOD healthy eating can taste. Here you’ll find fitness & nutrition content specific to weight loss, as well as easy, real food recipes. I’d love to get to know you!

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