I have a confession to make. I’ve never had pesto. This Vegan Basil Pesto is my best guess as what pesto should take like if it has no nuts or dairy. I figured out at a very young that I couldn’t eat nuts. Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts. When I was very young, I ended up sick from eating nuts. I don’t really remember this but while visiting family over the holidays one year when I was 4 or 5, my grandfather gave me a huge handful of nuts. My parents put me to bed on my aunt’s very old family quilt and I proceeded to throw up all over it. For my entire childhood, every time I looked at a nut my parents reminded me of that quilt. I actually still feel bad for ruining it. So sorry about the quilt Aunt Shirley!
It’s been decades since ‘the nut incident’ and I still avoid nuts. Even though I’ve never had pesto, I love the idea of it. It always sounds yummy and it’s so colorful. I’ve looked into other types of nut free pesto recipes but they all have dairy. This is not helpful to me as I’ve been dairy free since my son was born.
I had an epiphany one day and decided to use hearts of palm as a replacement for the nuts and cheese. It creates a creaminess and similar consistency to real pesto. The flavor is fantastic. I was eating it with a spoon and had to stop myself before I ate the whole bowl. I pulled my mom in to taste test this recipe just to make sure that it was as good as I thought it was. She confirmed that it tasted awesome.
You can use pesto with pasta but I’ve also used it in my 5 Ingredient Pesto Fish Patties recipe. Either way, it’s amazing.
Vegan Basil Pesto (AIP/Paleo, Allergy Friendly)
- 2 cups loosely packed Basil
- 1 jar Hearts of Palm roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Pepper optional for AIP
- 6 Garlic cloves roughly chopped
- Add all ingredients to your blender.
- Blend until everything is combined.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you are ready to use.