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No-Oil Pesto Recipe – Bonus: It’s Vegan, Too

Don’t you love pesto sauce? Pesto is one of the great joys of Summer, making use of basil at the peak of the season, and it’s so versatile, you can use it as a pasta sauce, in soups, as a spread on sandwiches, mixed as a salad dressing, or as a sauce to accompany grilled meat.

But if you’re like me, you don’t like the amount of oil in most recipes. Luckily, this recipe is for No-Oil Pesto, which I love, and I’m willing to bet you won’t miss the oil at all. Plus if you leave out the parmesan cheese, it’s Vegan.

The secret to making no-oil pesto is – super ripe tomatoes. They pull the ingredients together just as well as the oil, but they have to be super ripe. You want the ones that if you don’t use them today, you may not ever get the chance.

ingredients for no-oil pesto garlic, tomatoes, basil and pine nuts

No-Oil Pesto Recipe

By the way, when I make pesto, I make tons of it and freeze it up for later, which is just how I roll.

2 cups Basil leaves, washed and dried
6 cloves of Garlic, peeled
2 Very ripe Tomatoes, chopped into pieces
1 cup Pine nuts

Place the basil, pine nuts and garlic in the food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste.

Add the tomatoes and process until the mixture becomes creamy. Add salt & pepper to taste.

pesto finished and the ingredients
finished pesto ready to use

Optional: grated Parmesan cheese is a traditional component of pesto, and you can add some to taste at this point if you like. But then it won’t be Vegan anymore. If you choose to add it, don’t do it before freezing up a batch. Instead, I wait until I’m thawed it and it’s ready to serve to add the cheese. Add a 1/2 cup (or to taste) and stir well.

I have a Cuisinart that’s about 30 years old that still works for making pesto, but I bet you could use a Nutribullet or a Vitamix Blender. If you’re looking for a new food processor, check out our Amazon shop. Any purchases made via our affiliate link will not cost you any extra, but will help support a Mom-owned business.

no oil pesto ingredients


Pesto is this great thing that can be made with a bunch of different ingredients, each with a slightly different flair, and you can mix and match to come up with a combo you like.

You’ll really always need garlic, but you can try substituting spinach or arugula for basil – or what about kale, and either almonds or walnuts for the pine nuts. And of course you can always make it with oil instead of tomatoes. Enjoy!

yummy pesto made without oil in the food processor

Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of

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Thursday 18th of January 2018

Used the receipe with some alterations and it was delicious!!

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