This vegan nut free pesto pasta is an easy weeknight meal that is deliciously dairy free! This recipe is sure to be a family favorite and only takes 20 minutes to make!
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Someone recently asked me what my favorite pasta dish is. Picking a favorite pasta recipe would be like picking my favorite child (if I had kids that is), but this vegan nut free pesto pasta is definitely up there on my list!
Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes for a little kick, some fresh black pepper and finely chopped basil for a simple weeknight dinner! It’s packed with protein thanks to the hemp seeds but so light and fresh.
You can serve this as is, toss in your favorite veggies like peas or arugula or serve it alongside my lemon pepper salmon or a simple grilled chicken.
Pesto can be made with a bunch of different ingredients, but most will contain basil, a nut or seed and olive oil at the very least. For this recipe we’ll be using a few key ingredients to make a creamy, flavorful and a nut free pesto! You’ll need:
- Hemp hearts – to add texture and creaminess to the recipe since we won’t be using any nuts.
- Basil – because it wouldn’t be pesto without basil! Don’t skimp on the basil. This recipe calls for 2 full cups packed, but feel free to adjust to your preferences. This is where much of the flavor comes from, so don’t hold back!
- Lemon – for a little bit of tang and extra flavor. You’ll need about 2 lemons.
- Garlic – for lots of flavor and a touch of spice.
- Olive oil – this adds lot of flavor and makes the sauce extra creamy.
- Salt & pepper – because they make everything better.
Most pesto uses cheese of some kind, but to keep this dairy free I just left it out. You can add some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, use your favorite non-dairy parmesan, or my homemade cashew parmesan! It adds a nice depth of flavor but all any one of these three are delicious.
How to make this recipe
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Just make sure to salt the water well to add flavor into the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, add all of the sauce ingredients to a food processor.
Process until smooth, or leave a few chunks for texture if desired. Give it a taste and add any additional salt, pepper, basil, olive oil or cheese as desired.
Toss the sauce and pasta together, add more salt or pepper, top with red pepper flakes and enjoy! This recipe can be eaten hot or serve it cold and pasta salad style.
Tips & tricks
- To keep this dish gluten free, I used brown rice pasta, but you can use regular pasta, chickpea pasta etc. In the last five years I feel like the food industry has turned everything into pasta? Anyone else?! I’m definitely not complaining though.
- This vegan nut free pesto pasta will store in the fridge for about 3-5 days. It may brown slightly, but the lemon acts as a natural preservative to keep it fresh for longer.
- I like the sauce pretty thick, but if you prefer a thinner consistency you can add extra olive oil or a splash of veggie broth.
- I prefer using rotini pasta for pesto because the spirals trap the sauce really well. However, in my opinion there is no one pasta that is best for pesto. No pasta discrimination around here 🙂
Try these next!
Vegan Nut Free Pesto Pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, add all of the sauce ingredients to a food processor.
- Process until smooth, or leave a few chunks if desired.
- Toss the sauce and pasta together, add more salt or pepper if desired and enjoy!