Dairy Free Basil Pesto

Pesto is a delicious and versatile condiment that you can serve on eggs, chicken, fish, lamb, salad, vegetables or serve as a dip or a fancy addition on top of soup. Pesto gives flavour and freshness to any dish and is a great way to add nutrients to savoury dishes.

Did you know most store-bought pesto contains dairy from parmesan cheese making it unsuitable for those with dairy sensitivity? Most also contain a low-grade oil such as canola oil and some even contain preservatives.

Making your own fresh basil pesto is super simple, delicious and a healthy alternative to store-bought or pre-packaged versions.

Read my blog post here on why you should include more olive oil in your diet

Nutrition 101:

  • Not only is this basil pesto dairy free but this recipe uses high quality healthy ingredients such as olive oil and fresh basil adding nutritional value to any savoury dish.
  • Basil possess anti-bacterial properties and is a great digestive aid and also has anti-inflammatory effects helping inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel disorders.
  • Rich in anti-oxidants, basil also possesses properties that are anti-ageing and promote vitality.
  • Olive oil is a great source of healthy fat especially good for healthy skin, hair and hormone health.


Basil Pesto (dairy free)


  • 3 cups (packed) Fresh Basil leaves 
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Raw Cashews, Pine Nuts or Macadamia Nuts
  • 1 Fresh Garlic Clove, peeled and crushed
  • Pink Salt to liking


  1. In a small blender or stab mixer with attachment, blend basil with half the amount of olive oil until finely chopped.
  2. Add lemon juice, cashews, pine nuts or macadamia nuts, garlic, salt and remainder of oil. Blend until smooth. Add a little more oil or a splash of water if needed. Adjust seasoning to liking.
  3. Use pesto immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve as a dip with raw vegetable sticks, Gluten Free, Grain Free Crackers  or dollop over chicken, fish, meat or eggs.
  • Add a tablespoon of pesto to cooked vegetables and toss through.

Make It Personal:

  • Add 1 fresh, de-seeded chilli or 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes to ingredients before blending.
  • Choose your favourite nuts such as cashews, pine nuts or macadamia nuts to make this pesto creamy and nutritious.

Recipe Tips:

  • Blending basil with a little olive oil before adding the remaining ingredients help to create a smooth and well-blended pesto.
  • Purchasing fresh herbs from farmer’s markets is usually much more affordable than store bought. You often can get much larger bunches that are extremely fresh and vibrant.
  • To keep your basil fresh, wrap in kitchen paper towel and store in an airtight bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator or alternatively stand bunch of basil in a glass of water.
  • After each use top pesto with extra olive oil to keep fresh. You can also freeze pesto in ice cube trays and pop out individual serves and defrost as needed or store frozen pesto cubes in an airtight freezer bag in freezer.

Sensitive to Nuts?

  • Omit Nuts from pesto. Alternatively you can substitute nuts for seeds such as sunflower seed kernels or pumpkin seeds.
  • Try our Nut Free Pesto recipe. 

Sensitive to FODMAPs?

  • Omit fresh garlic and use garlic infused olive oil for added garlic flavour.

© Live Love Nourish™ 2014. All rights reserved.


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All of the LLN recipes are:
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Soy Free
  • Yeast Free
  • Preservative Free
  • Refined Sugar Free
This recipe is also:
  • Nut Free (option)
  • Egg Free
  • Peanut Free
  • Grain Free
  • Fructose Free
  • FODMAP Friendly (option)
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Paleo
  • Corn Free
  • Raw