Oil FreePlant BasedQuickRecipesSide Dishes

Oil Free & Heart Healthy Basil Pesto

Oil Free & Heart Healthy Basil Pesto

This version of the classic Italian pesto is both oil free and free from Parmesan. Sacrilege! some will say. Not so fast, I will argue. Because when the essential flavors of the classic pesto are kept intact and at the same time you have something which is both 100% plant based and heart healthy to boot what’s not to love!

This portion makes just shy of three cups, or about 700 ml, but it can be easily frozen so there is no need to cut it in half. I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays. This makes it easy to only defrost what you need for any given meal.

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Oil Free Basil Pesto

Dea Zoffmann
The classic basil pesto without added oil
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian


  • I use a hand/immersion blender but a regular blender also works.


  • 200 grams fresh Italian basil, large stems removed (That is 2 cups tightly packed)
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 14 oz / 400 g can of white beans, drained and rinsed (Cannellini and navy beans work equally well)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste


  • On a dry frying pan over medium heat toast the pine nuts until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them as the can quickly burn. Set aside to cool a bit before blending them with all the other ingredients.
  • Keep refrigerated in a sealed container for a few days or freeze for later use. I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays.

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