Pumpkin Seed Pesto – Nut Free

Simple easy weekday dinner for the family.  This one taste especially best when you harvest your first batch of pesto or really any herb in late June. 

Pesto is a sauce that originated in Genoa, Italy, and dates back several centuries. The word “pesto” is derived from the Italian word “pestare,” which means “to pound” or “to crush.” This refers to the traditional method of preparing the sauce by pounding the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle.  Today I like to use technology and use a food processor! 

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Today, pesto is enjoyed everywhere and has become a versatile sauce used in a variety of dishes made so many ways. While the traditional pesto recipe remains most popular, variations incorporating different ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, or walnuts, AND PUMPKIN SEEDS have also emerged.  Check that out below!

Overall, pesto’s history is deeply rooted in the culinary traditions in Italy and has evolved over time to be part of a quick weekday dinner.

Fresh NUT FREE Pesto… Made with Pumpkin Seeds! 

Makes about 2 cups.


1/3 Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

3 oz. Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, grated.

2- 3 garlic cloves, finely grated (I use a micro-plane)

4 cups basil leaves (about 2 bunches)

1 cup parsley

1.25 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Toast pumpkin seeds in a nonstick pan, tossing once halfway through, until golden brown, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and let cool. Add Parmesan and 2-3 garlic cloves, finely grated, and pulse until finely ground, about 1-2 minutes. Add basil and parsley and place the top back on. While blending, add extra-virgin olive oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is smooth, should take about 2 minutes. Season with 1 tsp. kosher salt and teaspoon of fresh black pepper.  If you want to spice it up add pinch of red pepper flake!

Do ahead: Pesto can be made 1.5 day ahead. Top with oil to prevent browning.